School Board Meeting Minutes, May 25, 2011

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Cranberry Isles School Board
Minutes of 25 May 2011

I. Meeting was called to order by chairperson Barbara Meyers at the Islesford School at 3:15 P.M. Present: School Board members Barbara Meyers, Kate Chaplin and Ted Spurling, Jr.; Principal Carol MacRae; Superintendent Rob Liebow; Selectman Phil Whitney; Administrative Assistant Jim Fortune; Katelyn Damon.
II. Approval of Voucher: Reviewed and signed.
III. Approval of Minutes of 27 April 2011: Motion to approve: Kate; Second by Barbara; Vote: yes, unanimously.
IV. Principal’s Report (see sheet dated May 25, 2011): Carol expressed thanks to those who attended the field trip—that it went well, and the students came back with much knowledge of the State of Maine. Carol appreciates all the help from volunteers. Carol said that Amy Philbrook will not be returning as PE teacher because she will be attending graduate school. Carol also said that Mariah Baker, the long-term substitute, is doing an excellent job.
V. Discussion and Possible Action Items:
A. Longfellow School: Barbara said that she has received a building inspection report from Ben Fulves of Heartwood Builders. His concerns include the need for electrical upgrade, hard-wired smoke detectors, exit signs, addressing water infiltration to the basement, fire safety issues, lead paint, etc. (See e-mail from Ben dated 5/25/2011). Ben said that the siding is not high-priority because it is a maintenance issue, not a safety one.
1. Discussion of siding: Remove, replace, or repaint?
a. Ted: Should remove siding because of lead content, and to avoid re-painting in the future.
b. Kate: Could sand-blast to remove lead paint.
c. Barbara: Even something commercially stripped can have high lead content.
2. Discussion of wiring: Rob recommended doing the wiring soon, and not necessarily instead of siding. He said that Requests for Proposals (RFP) need not accept the lowest bidder, and that the Superintendent’s Office can handle RFPs. The board will need more information from Ben.
B. Islesford School: No report from Ben yet. Rob said that we will need it soon in order to get it done over the summer. Carol said that, according to Iann Krasnow, there may be issues with the windows at Islesford.
C. Plan for Community Discussion About Our Schools
1. Barbara has talked with Ruth Kermish-Allen. Ruth suggested a discussion about history of the schools, with former students, parents and teachers—that it might be helpful for an understanding of what was being served then that is not now. Some of the fracture lines seem to be between old-timers and newcomers. The purpose of this meeting would be for reflection, not for action, and to arrive at common knowledge. Later meetings possible.
2. Kate: This could be useful. Would people attend?
3. Carol: The Historical Society discussion in Southwest Harbor was well-attended.
4. Ted: Could this wait until the school year starts? If summer, should be before the Fourth of July.
5. Barbara: A Great Cranberry parent is considering home-schooling their small child rather than commute.
6. Kate: Should be a forum to demonstrate how school changes—not necessarily to reminisce about the old days.
7. Barbara: Talked with Amy Philbrook, who commented as a former teacher that kids going back and forth between the islands for joint projects a few times per week was beneficial.
8. Katelyn Damon: Should the meeting include only parents of current students and prospective parents?
9. Kate Chaplin: Should be open to all, but specifically invite parents and prospective parents.
10. Rob: If a Board-sponsored meeting, must be posted and open to the public.
11. Barbara: We have many gatherings that aren’t open.
12. Ted: Could be a parent/teacher meeting, with the Board present but not sponsoring.
13. Suggestion about Island Institute hosting.
14. Carol: Board needs to make its decision based on what’s best for the kids. Carol expressed concern about parents going into a meeting thinking that they would be making the decisions. This is a Board decision—but should get feedback from a wide variety of sources. Carol also said that parents tend to have their own child as highest priority. The Board needs to look at a wider perspective and understand the limitations of parental concern.
15. Jim Fortune: Non-parents are also affected and should have a voice.
16. Barbara: Yes, but primarily parents.
17. Kate: Agreed with Carol that we don’t want to give parents the notion that their voice is the only voice. Kate said that a lot of education has to go on between the School Board and the community about what works well. This will help the decision. She also suggested that this be sponsored by the School Board with intent to gather opinions, etc.
18. Kate suggested three meetings:
a. Discussion of the past.
b. “Peeling the Onion” format.
c. School Board meeting creating policy.
19. Kate said that even though open to the public, should call parents and encourage them especially to come. She suggested a meeting on August 24, 2011, from 6:30 to 8:00 P.M.
20. Barbara: Should form a list of people to invite.
21. Carol: What are we going to ask people to present?
22. Barbara: Perspective on the school on their own island and what it was like to go back and forth with events.
23. Carol: Suggested an informal conversation between commenters.
24. Rob: What do we get out of that? Nothing to compare to, with what now exists.
25. Barbara: Not a nostalgic look but to look at different configurations.
26. Kate: Should talk about the Teaching and Learning Collaborative (TLC).
27. Barbara: Whatever we have, will be augmented by technology and the TLC.
28. Barbara submitted a draft of an e-mail to David Bunker of Beal and Bunker Boating.
VI. Action Items (taken out of order, following Other Business):
A. Approval of School Calendar: Kate moved to approve; Ted seconded; Vote: Yes, unanimously.
B. Barbara moved to authorize the Superintendent to apply for and receive State and Federal funds. Kate seconded; Vote: Yes, unanimously.
VII. Other Business (out of order, preceding Action Items):
A. Katelyn Damon (Emergency Preparedness Agent for the Town) said that Ron Axelrod of the Municipal Advisory Committee (MAC) would like a definite answer about the availability of Longfellow School for a Town Office. She said that the MAC is also interested in the former Islesford Fire Department building in back of the Islesford School
1. Jim Fortune: Not urgent to vacate the current location of the Town Office. The committee has been looking at temporary situations, and the Selectmen are more interested in a long-term space. He said that Longfellow is one of four possibilities looked at. He said that there is concern that any renovation costs for a Town Office at Longfellow might trigger code limitations from a large percentage-of-value increase.
2. Carol: There has been some discussion about use of the old Fire Dept building by the Islesford School—for storage or garden shed, or for music/art area (cannot use school basement because of headroom).
3. Kate: Recommended allowing a Town Office in the Fire Dept building, that if we had been serious about school use of that building we would have been talking about it.
4. Jim: The choices of the old Islesford Fire Dept building (or) building new on the site of the new Fire House at the gravel pit are seen as the best options. Longfellow School is not as good because of possible use as a school. They have held off on Longfellow because they prefer a permanent location.
5. Kate: Would not want to surrender entire Longfellow building, but perhaps front corner rooms could be consolidated.
6. Ted: Reluctant to surrender Longfellow, and ambivalent about the old Fire Dept building. More concerned as a taxpayer than as Board member about the Fire Dept building, because it seems cheaper to build a new Town Office at the new Fire House site.
7. Kate: moved that the Board tell the MAC that we approve use of the old Islesford Volunteer Fire Department building as a Town Office, pending septic approval, etc. Second by Barbara. Vote: Yes, unanimously.
8. Kate also moved to allow the MAC to investigate use of space at Longfellow School, space to include the old “Town Office” room and incorporating the interior “dead space” (hallway) to see if the required floor space can be achieved. This is NOT to include the room currently used by the Heliker-LaHotan Foundation. Second by Barbara. Vote: Yes, unanimously.
B. Heliker-LaHotan Foundation has offered a donation of $250 for maintenance and painting at Longfellow School. Their sessions are scheduled for June 13 through July 5. Barbara moved to allow Heliker-LaHotan to use classroom studio space during the above dates, similar to previous year. Second by Kate. Vote: Yes, unanimously.
VIII. Future Agenda Items:
A. Rob: Special Education Reserve.
B. Officers of School Committee.
C. Building Projects.
IX. Executive Session Pursuant to 1 M.R.S.A. § 405(6)(A) – Personnel Evaluation: Barbara moved to enter Executive Session at 5:30 P.M. Seconded by Kate. Vote: Yes, unanimously. Executive Session ended at 5:35 P.M.
X. Action Item: Renewal of Contract and Establishment of Salary for Administrator:
A. Rob recommended that the Board extend the contract for the position of Principal to Carol MacRae, to involve 60 days per year at the salary of $20,742 (budgeted amount). Moved by Kate to accept the recommendation. Seconded by Ted. Vote: Yes, unanimously.
XI. Adjournment: 5:37 P.M.

Respectfully submitted,

Theodore L. Spurling, Jr.

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