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September 2005

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Subject:
From:
Mary Nowlan <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Moretown School Announcements <[log in to unmask]>
Date:
Thu, 29 Sep 2005 19:24:11 -0400
Content-Type:
text/plain
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Attached and pasted below are the unapproved minutes from last week's 
school board meeting.

   MORETOWN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
Special School Board Meeting
Tuesday, Sept. 20. 2005

FOR APPROVAL

Present:
Board members - Deb Hunter, Ray Daigle, Mary Nowlan, John Schmeltzer, 
Karen Horn
Principal Roberta Barone
Superintendent Bob McNamara

Meeting called to order at 6:09 pm by Chair, Deb Hunter.

Bussing Issues
Moretown parent Ericka Naikus addressed the board concerning her 
dissatisfaction with the length of time her children must spend on the 
bus each day. She also stated that there seems to be persistent 
confusion about routes and pickup times. Ms. Naikus was aware that 
Moretown is currently operating only three busses instead of the usual 
four due to a lack of drivers, and inquired as to what was being done 
to find new drivers. She also presented the board with a letter 
outlining her concerns
Roberta responded that she was aware of the long bus rides and that 
they stemmed from a number of issues including increased enrollment, a 
dearth of drivers, and increased gas prices that discouraged high 
school students from driving their own cars to school. The Bus Barn had 
informed her that the lack of the drivers was a state-wide problem and 
that the advertising was going to be done in conjunction with needs 
elsewhere. Bob said that some drivers had left for new opportunities 
and some had taken positions at places that offered better benefits.
Roberta indicated that she would include a notice in the school 
newsletter advertising for drivers. She also said that as a result of 
the ongoing concerns, routes could possibly be changing again, but that 
parents would be informed well ahead of time of schedule changes.
Deb thanked Ms. Naikus for coming before the board with her concerns. 
She took her phone number in order to inform her directly of any 
developments in bussing issues. Ms. Naikus left the meeting at 6:45.

Champney request
Roberta presented the board with a letter from Jennifer and Jonathon 
Champney requesting that their preschooler Joseph be allowed to get off 
the bus if his grandmother is visible to the bus driver, but not 
directly at the bus stop. Typically, preschoolers must be met at the 
bus stop by an adult; however, because of a disability, the grandmother 
would not be able to get there. The Champneys stated in their letter 
that this would not be a regular occurrence, but simply a backup plan.

On a motion by Karen, seconded by Deb, the board voted unanimously to 
give Deb permission to write a letter granting the Champneys their 
request due to the following circumstances: the Grandmother's house is 
visible to the bus and is on the same side of the street as the stop; 
the child need not cross any street unaccompanied.  Also, the bus 
driver's line of sight had been found to meet the necessary vision 
requirements. Finally, this is not the primary plan for pickup.

Superintendent's report
Bob announced that there will be a joint board meeting for all 
Washington West school boards Nov. 17 from 7 to 8:30 pm at Harwood. He 
also announced that there will be a two-and-a-half hour seminar on 
media literacy held sometime in late October. Details will be 
forthcoming.

Principal's Report
Roberta announced that the school year is off to a great start with 
Moretown's enrollment up to 170 students. She said that a general focus 
of this year's professional development will be inquiry and problem 
solving, i.e., getting students to engage in learning versus simply 
being on task. The goal is "mental sweat",  or hard thinking.

Roberta also announced that an instructor from Vermont Institutes came 
to the school to demonstrate the use of "smart boards", interactive 
large computer screens that can be used for instruction.

Methodist Church Septic
Mr. Washburn, an employee with American Consulting Engineers and 
surveyors, presented the board with a letter from Robert Townsend of 
American Consulting. The letter states that the board of Moretown 
Methodist Church has continued to search for septic solutions so that 
bathroom facilities can be installed.
Last year, the church had approached the board about waiving a rule 
concerning a 25' setback from the property line in order to put in a 
leech field. Due to concerns about contamination of the school's well, 
the board declined.

The new letter states that the engineers hired by the church believe 
that soil conditions would make contamination unlikely. However, before 
conducting the appropriate--and costly--testing, the Mr. Washburn asked 
that the board commit to waiving the setback requirement if the testing 
indicates that no contamination is likely to occur.

After extensive discussion, the board decided to put the issue on the 
agenda for the next meeting. Because of concerns about the potential 
significant public health risk, the board asked that in advance of the 
next meeting American Consulting provide more specifics regarding the 
proposed system, including specs on the system and a work plan. The 
board declined to waive the setback requirement. Mr. Washburn left the 
meeting at 7:30 pm.

Paraeducator contract negotiations
On a motion by John, seconded by Karen, the board entered executive 
session at 7:32 pm to discuss para educator contracts. The board 
emerged from executive session at 7:37 pm.

Washington West update.
Karen announced that contract negotiations for the unified teachers 
contract between Moretown, Waterbury/Duxbury and Warren is due to 
reopen next year. Meetings laying the groundwork for the negotiations 
will be held in advance of the negotiations and board members from each 
board are being asked to sign up for various subcommittees.

New Employees
On a motion by Deb, seconded by John, the board signed contracts 
offering positions to  Kari Austin as a half- time special ed 
paraeducator; Tina Palmerio as a speech paraeducator;  and Margaret 
Bentley as a part-time librarian.

Planning Commission Meeting
Deb announced that the planning commission would like some 
representatives from the school board to attend their next meeting 
Sept. 26 to discuss town planning and septic issues. Roberta and Deb 
will attend the meeting.

Policy Concerning Temporary Non-Nesidents
The board discussed the draft of the policy concerning temporary 
non-residents. Bob suggested that any policy must conform with federal 
regulations concerning homeless individuals. He and Roberta will meet 
to research the regulations and formulate wording for the policy for 
the next meeting.

Municipal Bond Bank Refund
The Bond Bank refinanced the 1995/96 series bonds, thus reducing 
Moretown's interest obligation over the reminder of its loan by about 
$21,000. On a motion by Deb, seconded by Karen, the board voted 
unanimously to sign documents allowing Moretown to get its $4,383 
refund for FY 06.

Minutes Adopted
On a motion by John, seconded by Mary, the minutes of the Aug. 9 
meeting were unanimously approved.

Board Orders
On a motion by John, seconded by Karen, the following board orders were 
  unanimously approved for payment: #8 in the amount of $36,023.48; #9 
in the amount of $47,255.30; #10 in the amount of $41,896.93, #11 in 
the amount of $343.60.

Dog signs
Deb reported that she had talked with Select Board Member Paula 
Mastrobernadino and Paula had suggested that the school board consider 
installing a sign similar to that at a local veterinarian's office on 
the fields near the school. The vet's sign requests that owners clean 
up after their dogs and provides plastic bags to do so. After some 
discussion the board declined to take action due to fears that the bags 
would cause additional littering and encourage people to use the school 
dumpster to dispose of their dog's waste.


Adjournment
On a motion by Deb, seconded by Mary, the meeting was adjourned at 8:15 
pm.

APPROVED

Date:  __________________              
_________________________________________
                        Mary Nowlan - Board Clerk

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