MORETOWN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
School Board Minutes
Thursday, March 11, 1999
The meeting was called to order at 6:35 by M. Strojny. Board Members present: Mike Strojny, Wavell Cowan, Dave Deutl, Kent Holden. Principal: Roberta Barone
Elect Chair: D. Deutl nominated M. Strojny as chair, W. Cowan second and passed.
Elect Clerk: W. Cowan nominated K. Holden, M. Strojny second and passed.
Elect 3 representatives and one alternate to the WW Board: M. Strojny nominated D. Deutl and D. Reed, W. Cowan second and passed. K. Holden nominated M. Strojny as third representative, W. Cowan second and passed. W. Cowan nominated K. Holden as alternate, M. Strojny second and passed.
Appoint Truant Officer: M. Strojny made a motion to appoint R. Barone, Principal, K. Holden second and passed.
Designate Newspapers of Record: After brief discussion newspapers of record are as follows, Times Argus, Valley Reporter, Exit 10 and Moretown Matters.
HUHS ASSESSMENT: The board had received the opinion of the board attorney, Elizabeth Grant. The opinion is that the board should issue the check for the full assessment with a protest letter and do press releases to make the public aware of the situation, while awaiting the ruling from the Attorney General. The attorney made the board aware that while the ruling could be made that the Moretown Board is correct in the assessment of $1,059,947, the ruling could further be made that the HUHS Board was legally entitled to the interest and penalties anyway.
The board issued a directive to have a check issued for the balance being held in escrow, $2594. and remitted with the original check to pay the assessment in full.
M. Strojny made a motion to enter a rough draft of the protest letter and press release regarding the assessment issue. K. Holden second and passed.
Board Orders: D. Deutl made a motion to board order #42 in the amount of $62,720.33. W. Cowan second and approved.
WAITSFIELD BOARD REQUEST: D. Deutl left the Moretown meeting at 7:10 to attend the Waitsfield School Board meeting at their request. The reason for the request was to discuss Moretown’s position regarding the HUHS assessment.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Minutes from 2/11/99, 2/25/99 and 3/1/99 were tabled for a meeting when more members present that attended those meetings.
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT RESULTS: W. Cowan reported that a number of people have expressed interest in participating in the community involvement and support effort in the school. He wanted to organize an initial meeting of these people and begin the work to organize community members toward this effort. After discussion of overall goals and how to proceed W. Cowan said he would organize a meeting and make the board and the principal aware of the date.
PRINCIPAL’S REPORT: R. Barone brought the minutes of the HUHS Board Meeting dated 2/3/99 to the attention of the Moretown Board members.
R. Barone entered for recording into the minutes "Special Education, The Moretown Dilemma" which contains much of the information presented by the principal and board members on 3/11/99 to approximately 12-15 members from the Vermont State Legislature, Senate, Education Department, Blue Ribbon and Fiscal Committees. This meeting was organized and run by Alan Weiss, and the Moretown Board was pleased with the number and variety of people present to hear the "Dilemma." At this time it appears the effort to obtain additional money for special education needs in towns with extenuating circumstances such as Moretown is moving forward in a positive direction. The board is optimistic that a solution to this problem will be forthcoming.
Brief discussion was had as to how to proceed and what documentation should be currently kept if money becomes available from the government.
R. Barone also presented a letter of acknowledgment for a rate increase effective March 1, 1999, from the law firm or record, Paul, Frank & Collins, Inc. After discussion that this is an acknowledgment only and not a binding contract to use their services, and that they still intend to offer discounted rates to schools M. Strojny made a motion that Board Chair sign the letter, K. Holden second and passed.
HIRING FOR POSITIONS: R. Barone recommended that the board hire Kay McHugh from 3/15/99 to the end of the school year to fill the Title I vacancy. She is terminating her current replacement teacher position on 3/12/99.
M. Strojny made a motion to hire Kay McHugh as a temporary Title I teacher from 3/15/99 to the end of the school year. W. Cowan second and passed.
R. Barone presented the need to hire a one to one para-educator for a student requiring this. She recommended Deb Mitchell.
M. Strojny made a motion to hire Deb Mitchell as a para-educator as a one to one para-educator, 1st step, $7.32 per hour, no benefits to the end of this school year. K. Holden second and passed.
R. Barone made the board aware that beginning with the Fall of 99 the preschool schedule will be as follows: Tuesday and Thursday AM and PM sessions, and on Friday the preschool teacher will continue to do EEE and home visits.
R. Barone discussed with the board using of some of the contingency fund to purchase ground cover (mulch) for both playgrounds at a cost of $2200-3000.00 and approximately $1,800.00 for folding chairs needed for school programs etc.
R. Barone distributed Financial Report Year to Date with a projected fund balance of $36,000.00
as of 3/11/99. Also, distributed were the Moretown Elementary School Parent Survey results. This is one piece to be used by the board when preparing the principal’s evaluation. Additionally they will use the Faculty & Staff feedback forms and their own board evaluation of the principal they have previously prepared. Bill Riegal requests to attend the meeting when this work is performed and to write a summary of the principal.
TRANSPORTATION: K. Holden made the board aware that he had spoken to Susan Swenson regarding a recent problem. There were a couple of sick drivers and due to the resulting changes in bus drivers/schedules two girls were dropped off at the wrong stop and walked 1 mile to get home. Also, on a separate day there was a problem with a student getting of the bus with a friend on their route without parents’ knowledge. K. Holden discussed these issues with Susan Swenson and asked for a copy of the contract the district has with the transportation provider. He also asked if they have written procedures to follow in any given circumstance. She said they did have procedures but she was unable to get them to him until she returned from a week of being gone. He still has not received the items requested. Board issued a directive to the clerk to draft a letter EXPRESSING THE NEED FOR PROPER PROCEDURES FOR THE DRIVERS and R. Barone requested that this letter also address the issue of having someone always manning the base for the radio system on the buses.
NEW MEMBER OBSERVATIONS & QUESTIONS: K. Holden wanted to ask that in future meetings the board should add to their agenda time to discuss how much of the principal’s time is currently being spent on administering special education, and what the board might be able to offer in the way of solutions to this time issue. W. Cowan requested that R. Barone spend time preparing solutions she sees as possible, and come prepared to present these to the board for discussion.
K. Holden wanted to ask if there is any conflict since his wife currently substitutes in the Moretown school system. M. Strojny advised that he should abstain from voting on any issues that directly affect her employment. Also it was recommended that he contact Bill Reedy for clarification of any issues or conflicts and how to properly handle them.
BOARD RETREAT: The board discussed the idea of a retreat to evaluate previous year, strengths-weakness, and issues for the next year, goal setting etc.
Adjourn: M. Strojny made a motion to adjourn at 8:50 p.m. K. Holden second and approved.
Martha D. Douglass, Board Secretary
These minutes were approved on
The Moretown School Board is dismayed and frustrated by the
position of the Harwood Union School Board in refusing to accept full payment of the Moretown Elementary School's Assessment, as calculated by
the Supervisory Union Business Manager, in accordance with the Articles of
Association. The Moretown School Board is concerned that Harwood's rigid
position and efforts to politicize what is a simple technical question, is
creating dissonance within the Supervisory Union community and can only
increase tension between and among the member districts.
In order not to contribute to dissonance and tension, the Moretown
School Directors have approved a motion to authorize the Superintendent to
pay the small difference between the payment according to the Articles of
Association and the amount invoiced by the Harwood School Board, which is at question. That difference has been held in escrow by the Moretown School Board while awaiting a technical ruling from the Commissioner of Education as authorized by the articles of association.