04/24/13 School Committee Minutes

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School Board Meeting Minutes
4/24/13

I. Meeting called to order at 4:21 pm, GCI Library, Great Cranberry. Present at the meeting: School Board Members: Barbara Meyers, (Katelyn Damon – arriving at 4:31) Kate Chaplin, Superintendent Howard Colter, Principal Heather Webster. Community members: Phil Whitney, Ingrid Gaither, Teacher: Donna Isaacs. Projects coordinator: Ben Fulves
II. Approval of Voucher
III. Minutes for 4/4/13 approved. BM – moved to approve as amended (for clarification). KC – 2nd. Minutes approved.
IV. Reports and updates
a. Updates on Building Projects (Ben Fulves) –
i. Apologized to board for missing the Town Meeting. Had emergency eye surgery and was in Portland and wasn’t able to call until after the fact.
ii. Was there discussion about opening of the school for September, since that would significantly alter plans as they are now. BM: Not in a position to open the school at this point. It was asked if the State’s Fire Marshall could let us know how far along into the process we can be in order for the school to be opened. PW: Family coming tomorrow to look at affordable housing with two school aged kids, another family coming with three kids, so we need to know answers. KC: If the families ask where are our kids going to be attending school, how will you answer the question? PW: I’d say I don’t know. I hope we can open the school in September. BF: That would be very unlikely. PW: If the fire marshall ok’d it, then maybe we could. DI: Is the criteria then to open the school based on numbers? PW: Not necessarily. BM: We are not looking to open by September. BF: For ABS, it’s acceptable for the state to see incremental improvements. However, for Longfellow, because of change of use, major compliance issues have to be met first (sprinkler system and access to second floor), but those projects are scheduled for down the road. We’d need to seriously re-shuffle the projects. HC: Having all options on the table is unnecessarily complicated. Need at least a year to settle it. During the year, if it makes good sense to make a shift. BM: Discussion process takes a long time in addition to the physical changes. DI: we have so much technology changing right now, that two three years from now, things could look very different. KD: I wouldn’t want to cut corners regarding the school building so that when we can open the school it’s done right and we don’t have to go back and fix what we overlooked. BF: Repeated thrusts to open the school which we’ve discussed and then had to back off from. At this point, I am proceeding with the understanding that we are not pushing to open in September. Nervous about seeking scrutiny from the state fire marshal’s office without more deliberation.
iii. Staircase to teacher’s apartment project for ABS in progress. Work being done off-site. Can assume that a teacher will be living there starting mid-August.
iv. Soliciting bids for sprinkler project, bid specs for front entry project and roof replacement will be submitted to Nancy next week. Scheduled to start after school lets out.
v. at Longfellow – replacing entry doors, and some other smaller projects (handrail, locksets etc) are in progress. Rodney Weimer doing most of it. Scheduled to start mid-May and be done by early June. During summer things won’t be worked on so as not to be disruptive. HC: how much of the $200,000 currently at our disposal will be drawn down by December 2013? BF: Just about all of it will be spent. HC: How much more will we be looking at to complete the projects? BF: Complicated answer – original projects were modified in several ways. – both practical and in design. Board would have to vote to execute the design that Jeri proposed. A significant amount of money set aside, especially if the second floor is opened. BM: We’ve pretty much determined that we would want to have the second floor. BF: The cost difference to opening without the second floor was so big, it was my understanding that it was still up for debate. Sounds like you would need a number for the whole thing. HC: Town was interested in knowing what amount would be needed, and it seems to be a significant number. BF: I will provide a clear list of total projects that need to be done to be up and running. KC: Would be good to have a comprehensive plan in place that we know can be executed within a year in order to make the school ready. When it became necessary/reasonable to open the school, we would have the plan in place and able to ask the town to raise more money (either as a lump sum loan or in a two-to-three year project). BM: Timeframe is optional, but the scope of the project is already determined based on the safety plan. We’ve already agreed to follow Jeri’s plan, including the elevator. BF: The elevator has to be included because you are crossing the cost threshold.
vi. Caretaker’s report process working well at Longfellow, for ex: stair rail issue able to be looked at promptly.
vii. BM: Still have sheathing questions to settle. HC: Summer meetings needed? BF: I probably won’t be needing you. KC: Let’s keep regular meetings then cancel it if necessary. KD: third or fourth Wednesday? HC: Fourth Wednesday works for me. Exceptions: November 20, December 18, and April 30.
viii. Communications process: working to have Heather main source for communication. BF: Fine for anyone to ask questions. HW: Will want status reports during summer. BF: Can do that. Not much more to discuss at this point. The plan and direction is clear.
b. Principal’s Report – HW
i. swim days coming up: 3rd, 10th, 24th. Portland trip: 14-16. May 20th trip to Bangor for performance. Smartboard is up. Norm is tweaking. Applications coming in, around ten plus others. Special Ed position in need – possible that applicants will be able to meet that need. May be worth while to anticipate that need and put it out for interested applicants in conjunction with Frenchboro candidates. BM: Howard, do you have a recommendation? HC: we want first and foremost a cracker jack classroom teacher and hire additional special ed teacher. DI: It would depend on what’s needed. Right now, we are able to meet the classroom need with assistance from Ed Tech. Dual certification can work, but not if there is greater need for intervention which requires specialized skills. HC: no downside to putting an ad in the paper. DI: Need to consider compensation for case management and technology coordinator. In the district, those services are compensated for. Should be sensitive to that need and expectation in the hiring process. HW: Art teacher position may be shared with Swans or Tremont, but not both with scheduling.
ii. NECAP scores – writing pieces the weakest point, but looks like we can work into the curriculum.
iii. Attending workshop on effective teaching.
c. Crisis Plan Update – Met with Richard Howland and he’s reviewing plan. “Safety Day” at school and able to do a drill then. Monday met with Sheriff in Ellsworth, discussed unique needs with smaller building. He would like pictures and floor plan of the school and is reviewing crisis plan. May even want to form an ad hoc committee to discuss a plan. KD: Maybe put together same thing with Longfellow School. HW: Will do. He also indicated good info on what goes in the go-bag.
d. Transportation Policy – still working on it.
e. Room and Board Policy – some parents/boarders want to meet to discuss at length. Day vs week discussion and students staying off for extra days, social activities. Collecting opinions from other families.
f. Student Handbook – still trying to track down a copy.
V. Discussion Items
a. GCI Students and Snow Days – DI: Schools close in event of Power Outage only if it occurs at night and school is too cold. HW: Technology between islands. Norm recommends 40-inch monitor, use a laptop and microphone and set up in library using movi solution. Communicated with Brian Booher – what recommendations do they have. Movi? Tanberg? Looking into different options. White laptops will belong to the schools. Students could keep them and use them at the library. DI: often when weather is down, the internet is down. HC: Number of NH schools adopt policies that allow students and teachers to have “at home” school using technology to have built in assignments. BM: Can we frame what we are trying to address and gather realistic options to fill that need.
b. Approval of revision to 2013-2014 School Calendar. KD – move to approve, BM – 2nd.
VI. Action Item:
a. Second Reading of Policies:
i. JKAA – Use of Physical Restraint and Seclusion KD – move to approve, BM -2nd
ii. KBF – Parent Involvement in Title I Program KD – move to approve, BM – 2nd
VII. Other Business – None
VIII. Executive Session Pursuant to 1 MRSA § 405 (6) (A): Personnel Evaluation – postponed to next meeting.
IX. Adjournment: KC moved, BM 2nd All in favor. Meeting adjourned at 6:15 pm.

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