School Board Meeting Minutes October 23, 2013

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School Committee Meeting
at the Ashley Bryan School on Islesford
Wednesday, 23 October 2013
4:15 p.m.

Attendance: Katelyn Damon, Barbara Meyers, Ben Fulves, Heather Webster, Howard Colter, Kelly Sanborn, Phil Whitney, Ingrid Gaither, Cari Alley, Audrey Noether, Lauren Simmons, Tom Powell, Jeri Spurling.

I. Call to Order Meeting called to order at 4:18. Barbara Meyers welcomed Kelly Sanborn to the School Board. Kelly was appointed Secretary.

II. Review and Approval of Voucher

III. Approval of Minutes
15 July 2013 - Barbara moves, Katelyn seconds. Approved.
24 July 2013 - Barbara moves, Katelyn seconds. Approved.
03 October 2013 - Amendments are recorded. Amended copy attached. Barbara moves to approve minutes as amended, Katelyn seconds. Approved.

IV. Reports and Updates:
● Principal’s Report Heather gave her report. It is attached.

● Building Project Update from Ben Fulves Ben states a great deal of work has been done while the school was closed last week. The railing had been postponed due to financial reasons. He wanted to make sure more high-priority concerns were met first. Electrical, plumbing, two windows replaced in the apartment, insulation in the apartment, as well as cladding. He will submit a memo of complete list of work done. Ben addressed the heating and urged all to contact Heather if the school appears drafty and cold. Currently the thermostats are working properly.

Ben questioned if the position of Grounds Manager was going to be re-advertised. Barbara suggested Ingrid, Ben, and Heather need to determine who is contacted in a crisis or a problem. Heather is to rewrite the job description. Ingrid suggested posting contact information in the event of a problem with the building. Barbara suggested posting the contact information at the building and the store. Howard offered to have his office included as a contact. Heather suggested that with past issues the internal chain of command has worked, but the external chain of command has not. Ingrid offered to post signs tomorrow even if only temporary until we get it finalized. We will ask the Town Office to update the contact information and Barbara offered to follow up on that.

Jeri submitted renderings for future outlays of the Longfellow building outlining the amenities that are planned for the Longfellow School. She stated this was the design that was agreed to last year, in October or November. Barbara commented on the one window that has not been installed yet in the wall beside the current door and that we wanted to make a symmetrical window arrangement on that wall. Her understanding was to have the window left in reserve installed to have the symmetrical arrangement on the face of the building. Jeri does not feel the window can be installed with the wall in that position. Discussion followed regarding whether or not the window was necessary on that wall for aesthetics. Jeri felt due to the porch layout you would never see it as a symmetrical face, so therefore, symmetry was not an important issue. Barbara suggested it had been brought up before and just wanted to clarify.

IV. Inclement Weather Days:
Heather suggested discussions from last year now needed to start over since we now had a teacher that lives on Great Cranberry, for instance, who? where? how long? and what are our expectations for parents and students. After that, figure out what we need for that space. She planned on expecting 3 to 4 days in the season of inclement weather days.
● Who? Heather nominated Audrey Noether to be the teacher on GCI.
● Where? Heather suggested the Library. Ingrid said that was not a problem. The Reading Room would be available even in the event the Library was open and could easily accommodate the small number of kids attending.
● How long? Heather stated for the day to count, it would be an 11:30 dismissal for the day to count as a student day. Her thought was a full 7-hour day would be a lot to ask without proper materials. Heather asked if it is an inclement weather day do we want a full day or do we want a half day. Heather felt we needed to have a discussion about it. Barbara asked Heather what she would like the Board to do going forward? Discussion ensued regarding half day versus full day. Audrey requested a phone tree in the event of Beal and Bunker cancellations. Audrey felt it would be a long day. Since the kids do not get snow days, it was felt overall that an inclement-weather half day was appropriate. Audrey given the freedom to run longer if she wanted to. As this was listed as a Discussion Item, Barbara questioned Howard if this was appropriate to formally adopt at our next meeting since it was not listed as an Action Item. Howard felt it did not even require a vote. The minutes could state there was consensus on the part of the Board that on days where weather is deemed to be prohibitive for commuting students between the islands that children would remain on their island and have a half-day program provided and would be released sometime around the noon hour. Heather proposed it be from 8:45 am to 11:45 am, so Audrey would have some prep time before the children arrived. Kelly asked if this would be based only if Beal and Bunker was cancelled or parent and teacher consensus that it was not a good day to send the kids to school. Barbara agreed there could be days the parents decide as a whole not to send the kids to school even if Beal and Bunker was still running. Howard suggested someone from this island needs to determine how bad it is. Heather stated on Swan’s it is the Board Chair that calls snow days out there so, perhaps, it would be Barbara’s responsibility with input from the other parents. Howard stated that call needs to happen by 6:00 am. Ingrid seconded that one person from the island should make the call and not leave it up to whether or not Beal and Bunker was cancelled. Howard was afraid it would get confusing by calling all the parents to get opinions. That it should be more of a mathematical standard. Suggested keeping simple and proceed on the side of caution. Audrey stated that if the parents are split on whether to send kids, she would go to Islesford. Barbara thanked Audrey and the school very much for making this possible. She stated we are gaining and this is a bonus. Audrey wanted to publically thank Phil Whitney for offering the Cranberry House and Ingrid on behalf of the Library for the students to attend there on these days. Great support from the community to make this happen.

Cari questioned the feasibility of getting a polycom on Great Cranberry. Barbara stated This has been discussed for seven years and feels it is important for many reasons, for all our town functions not just the school, so that people can attend all sorts of meetings. She is unsure where we are with this at this point. Heather suggested Apple TVs are a more appropriate financial solution. This is being looked into.

Heather requested that when we do have an inclement weather day that we put it on as a discussion just on how it went, what we thought. She would like to hear from parents, as well as, the teachers and feedback on if there is anything we need to change to make it more effective use of time for everyone.

V. Ipads:
Heather stated we are the last school to do our Ipad night. A meeting to inform the parents on information on how to sign up and give apple IDs to the kids. They have been using them, but without any applications or downloads on the Ipads. One that has come up is whether or not kids be allowed to take the Ipads home and she would defer to the teachers on this. Lauren stated they would like to send them home for specific projects, but not on a regular basis. Howard agreed that was how the other schools were handling it. Barbara asked how the other schools were handling the filtering question. Howard stated the parents needed to be aware that the there is not as much control on the Ipads or smartphones as on the laptops and the children need to be educated on being responsible on computers and parents be knowledgeable and informed as best they can on what their children are doing on a computer. If parents have any reservation or doubt about what there children are doing to contact the school. The teacher can take the computer and do a scan and find out exactly what has been opened. He feels taking them home for projects increases their ability to learn. Heather stated that if the Ipads go home the children should not be allowed to go to their rooms with them. Also consideration given to the age of what students can take them home. In other schools it is 6th, 7th, and 8th graders that are allowed to take them home. This needs to be discussed with the teachers. The applications can only be educational and not used as time fillers. She addressed whether we even want the parents to have a credit card associated with their apple ID and should perhaps only be school sanctioned and educational. Cari stated as a parent she is excited to see the students use an Ipad versus a computer, but would not want a credit card associated with the account.

Elaine is willing to come out if all the parents are there, to perform an Ipad rollout and parent sign up. Heather, Lauren, and Audrey are going to find out what would be best for parents and Elaine. Katelyn asked if there could be two meetings one on Islesford during the day and one on GCI in the evening. Barbara thought one night would be best to have all in the same room. Heather stated that if any parents or School Board Members have questions they would like addressed at the meeting to send them to her prior to the meeting so she may give Elaine enough time to address. Katelyn asked if we needed to take formal action on not allowing credit cards to be synched with the Ipads or if it is just another general consensus. Howard felt there was no need to vote on it.

VI. Other Business
● Barbara stated two items for Other Business. Barbara sent a request to the Selectmen for a joint meeting with the School Board to discuss developing a bond for the remaining construction projects. Katelyn forwarded the message to Nan, Denise, and Jim. Barbara stated there is work to be done that she hoped could be addressed in workshop form to discuss details. We would be emptying the Maintenance Fund that it is in the regular budget and are we going to ask for the bond to include only our capital improvements, our renovation projects, and then make a separate request to Town Meeting for other aspects of our budgets related to buildings. This sort of topic needs to be sorted out. Howard felt, in talking with Nancy Thurlow, that it would have to be the Selectmen to borrow the money, so they would be working on the language of what was requested. He felt this may be a smaller amount for bonding and maybe a more conventional bank loan that is paid back over a couple years would be a better route. Barbara suggested a line of credit as opposed to a bond. Ben asked if projects from the Islesford School had been funded through a bond before. Barbara and Howard thought no, had been done through fundraising and budgets. Barbara hoped we would walk away from the Selectmen’s meeting with all the information we need, as well as, some options to explore about bonding versus borrowing. Howard would like a meeting workshop regarding the budget with Nancy Thurlow early on to determine what we want to put in budget, what we want to pull out. Barbara wondered if Nancy could be present at the Selectmen meeting and Howard agreed to ask her. Howard would like to have a ballpark figure from Ben and then they could discuss with their counsel who only handle bond issues within the law firm. Then they could be advised whether this was a bond issue or not. Ben felt strongly it was a good idea to actively solicit advice from school counsel. Ben felt the specific issue is there is more work to be done on ABS building and it is not an insignificant amount, perhaps $100,000 more worth of work. His question is as these are capital expenses, not repairs, should all of the projects from this building be included in the bond issue for the projects on the Longfellow building or should they be kept separate? He requested to know the answer in advance. Barbara felt her understanding was what do we need to complete the upgrades of both of these buildings in a more timely manner. Ben felt the Board could present a fairly accurate budget amount and project list for the Selectmen’s meeting on November 12th. Howard feels the role of the Board in this is that the project that is being proposed is one that we endorse and understand. Barbara feels we should schedule a workshop to have a meeting very soon after the 12th to work out the details. Ben questioned if there should be a workshop before the meeting on the 12th. Phil and Ben feel the Board needs a more structured meeting, so a workshop to be unified and prepared would be better. A workshop was scheduled for November 5th from 1:00-3:00 at the conference room at MDIHS.
● Barbara stated it seems clear we are ready to start up our discussion process, community discussion, on how best to serve the needs for our middle school children and also to discuss supplemental classes off island. She has had a few conversations with people she feels have some expertise. Her hope is we could put together a community discussion to happen sometime in November facilitated by someone from outside the community so that everybody can participate fully as community members. She would like feedback in advance what questions people feel need answering and who would be a facilitator that many people would feel comfortable with. She gave the example of, what structure can we organize to facilitate the best education for each of our students? She suggested Ron Beard from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Scott Planting from Maine Seacoast Mission, as possible facilitators of this forum. Katelyn felt Scott Planting was too closely related and needs to be someone nobody knows. Howard suggested Caroline Pryor. Katelyn suggested possibly Maine Municipal Association as well. Cari questioned what this entails. Barbara explained there have been questions as to what happens when you are in 7th grade and you are about to make this big jump to high school. Also questions raised if we should try to seek out a way to supplement what we provide for students who may have a desire or need offered on the mainland, but not at our school. Questions have arisen if we should make some formal agreement of cooperation between us and MDES. Barbara stated last discussion was not structured correctly and needs to be structured differently.

Next School Board Meeting set for November 15th at the Longfellow School at 4:30.

VII. Executive Session - Postponed

VIII. Adjournment
Katelyn moved to adjourn, Barbara seconded. All in favor. Meeting was adjourned at 6:29 pm.

Respectfully submitted,
Kelly Sanborn, Secretary

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