11/12/12 School Board Meeting Minutes

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School Board Meeting Minutes
11/12/12

I. Meeting called to order at 3:00 pm. Present at the meeting: School Board Members: Barbara Meyers, Kate Chaplin (arriving late at 3:10), Katelyn Damon, Superintendent Howard Colter, Principal Heather Webster, Phil Whitney via speaker phone, Cory Duggan, representing MAC.
II. Opening remarks – (Secretary’s note: Section II minutes taken by Katelyn Damon in Kate Chaplin’s absence.) BM: Ben Fulves in the process of prioritizing/organizing project plan at both schools to determine what will be finished under current budget and what more needs to be budgeted for. Are we going to raise the money as opposed to borrow the money? Projects seem to be coming along as is. HC: Suggest that we should have an outline for the Town Meeting and Town Report for target goals. Might be worthwhile to borrow since projects are being done piece-mealed. BM: Prefers to hire locally as much as possible, and borrowing would limit that freedom. Ben’s role as project manager protects us from having piece-mealed projects not in sync.
III. Budget issues: Met with Nancy – a few standard sections that need to remain the same. Open-ended items discussed below:
a. Staffing: Both teachers have indicated that they will not be returning next academic year. Student body likely K-6th grade spread for 2013-14 year with 10 students (9 returns plus one kindergartner). Spread still considerable (7 math levels and seven different ELA levels), kindergarten a whole separate program that really requires full attention of a teacher. Teachers feel strongly that should be a fully qualified teacher as opposed to an ed-tech. Special Ed position may or may not require an additional person (possible that a hired teacher is interested/qualified in assuming that special ed piece). Mentor system will also be required, which adds additional expense since new teachers.
KC: Inclined to look for two full-time teachers. BM: At least budget for two teachers and see how it goes. KD: Budget for two at the higher level? KC: Budget for where we are now, which would give us some flexibility. CD: Apartment? KC: Separate lease, so not a part of the budgeting process. Even if a teacher does not opt to rent, we have the ability to rent it out. KD: If teachers aren’t living on Islesford, is transportation paid for by school? KC: They’re choosing to live off-island, so not obligated to pay? BM: What if they’re living on GCI? HW: Swan’s pays to have middle school teacher come back and forth on ferry. HC: Historically there are advantages to living in the community, on either island. KC: Always been a preferred situation, but not required. HC: Most important thing to hire the best teacher. If they choose not to live on the island, then they need to answer how will you connect? General consensus is to budget for cost of transportation for potential commuting teachers.
b. Maternity leave: Lindsay starting six-week leave on birth of baby. Will likely ask for more. Working on what that looks like financially. Have interest already for the long-term sub position.
c. HW asked teachers if there are any large purchases needed to be budgeted for – none.
d. Longfellow Caretaker position: needs to be added to staffing. CD: Don’t already have that position? BM: Have advertised twice in newspapers, and locally and we have had no interest. Several have said that the job scope is too big to deal with or that liability insurance costs are too high to make it worth it. CD: Liability typically in the neighborhood of $500 per year. HW: Who’s doing lawn, snowplowing? BM: Rodney Weimer – taking care of the lawn. BM: Blair plows, nobody shoveling. CD: If Ingrid is capable and willing, can we ask her to do it, and who would pay? HW: Weekly pay? Salary? KC: Salary preferred – easier and also so she’s an employee, not a contractor. Would be great if she could get finger printed. BM: Ben Fulves has been the assessment person ex facto. Until the projects are complete, do we need a more involved caretaker, or can we manage with more of a building monitor role. Generally agreed around the table. BM: What salary? $250 - $200? CD: Sounds steep. Room for growth? BM: Hourly rate? $20 – “above and beyond duties”. HW: Do we want to include a monthly status report? Yes. $300 budgeted.
e. HC: Technology Needs? KC: Tanberg? KD: Island Institute seemed ready to get that for us, but sort of stalled. BM: On GCI? KD: Polycom can go there – not needing to be technically as sophisticated as Tanberg, and so completely appropriate. KD: If we can, we would get two Tanbergs, great, but we don’t want to overextend their budget. HW: To look into it.
f. BM: Tuition budgeted for six kids (five actually enrolled). Only three students for coming year. Budget for five kids to act as buffer, with the option to drop down to four if we don’t think it’s necessary.
g. Transportation – adding one student from GCI ($2450). Have we explored a flat rate with Beal and Bunker? HW: Hasn’t been discussed. KC: Not sure if there’s an incentive for them to give a flat rate, unless we have another boating option to go with. BM: Need to have a contingency in that area. “Staff Travel” would cover expenses of teachers commuting as well as teachers going on to a conference. High math and discussion followed on the known expenses of students/staff traveling (transportation area budget) and the potential expenses (to be budgeted in a contingency line item).
h. Continuing Education – tuition reimbursement for classes required for the position. Also extra expense, but slight.
i. Substitutes – looks high right now, but not likely to be as high next year.
j. HW: Teachers requested more money towards TLC field trips. In the past, a lot has been paid for out of the bank account. Island Institute covers some expenses, but probably a good idea to include extra in case it isn’t covered. Nancy Thurlow has indicated that we can’t budget for a separate entity from the school – best to place this under the category of Field Trips. KC: Find out from teachers a “pie in the sky” number, “practical” number, and could “make do with” number.
IV. Future Agenda Items – Next meeting: November 28, Wednesday at 2:45. Barbara won’t be able to attend. Would be able to do evening Nov 29 on Islesford, or leave meeting to two other school board members. KD & KC open to either option. HW and HC checking schedules to see what would work. Some discussion as to whether the 2:45 meeting was scheduled to take place on Islesford or at MDIHS.
V. Meeting adjourned at 4:41 pm.