|WCSU Full Board minutes 12.9.10|
Washington Central Supervisory Union
Full Board Meeting
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Board Members present: Berlin: Amy Brewer, Vera Frazier, Chris Rice, Jonathan Boyd; Calais: Buffy Root; John Connell, Charlotte Hanna Bassage, Susanna Culver; EMES: Jan Aldrich,; Middlesex: Julie Moore, Sorsha Anderson, Chris McVeigh; Worcester: Rebecca Heintz, Joanne Herring, Carl Witke, Matthew DeGroot; U-32: Ginny Burley, Conrad Smith, Adrienne Magida
Administrator: Robbe Brook, Superintendent; Carole Freeman, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment; Kelly Bushey, Director of Special Services; Lori Bibeau, Business Administrator; Jeff Arey, Director of Technology; Lindy Johnson, Literacy Coordinator; Jen Miller-Arsenault, Early Education Coordinator; Keith Gerritt, U-32 Principal
Guests: Michelle McFadden
1. Call to Order: Charlotte Hanna Bassage called the meeting to order at 7:07. Charlotte welcomed everyone and wished them happy holidays.
1.1. Agenda Revisions: None
1.2. Public Comments and Correspondence: Sorsha Anderson, Washington County representative for the Vermont School Boards Association and Rumney board member spoke about Act 153. She explained that some of the school boards have been thinking about forming study committees. The Fairfax and Fletcher school districts have explored the idea but they do not like that the study committee does not bring the report back to the school board before sending it to the commissioner. These schools districts have decided to forgo the $20,000 from the state and will be forming their own informal study committee. Chris McVeigh called Donna Russo Savage who explained that the Study Committee does not need to go back to the school boards for approval and that the Study Committee would be its own entity. Because of the uncertainty caused by the language in Title 16 § 706, should we get more clarifying language from the legislators? There will be further discussion on this at the January Executive Committee meeting.
2. Washington Central Supervisory Union Budget FY 11-12: Charlotte explained that WCSU is proposing a level funded budget. The Executive Committee reviewed 4 different budget scenarios at their November board meeting. The scenario they felt best supported the needs of the students and schools is the level funded budget. This is a zero increase.
2.1. Approve proposed WCSU Operating Budget: Chris McVeigh motioned to approve the WCSU operating budget of $1,350,277. Jan Aldrich seconded. Charlotte explained the reductions outlined in the budget. Chris Rice asked about how the assessment is determined. Lori explained that the schools are assessed on the Average Daily Membership (ADM). Julie asked if salary increases were included in the budget. Robbe explained that at this time there are the same salary increases as the teachers have received. The motion passed 16-0.
2.2. Approve modifying the purpose of the Special Education Fund balance: Charlotte explained the big curve in the fund balance is from the building project. She reviewed the Capital and Technology Fund Balance and the fiscal agent fees. Charlotte explained that the Special Education Fund Balance has been around for at least 12 years and has only been used twice. The fund was set up to help to pay for extraordinary special education student costs. Schools would be able to borrow the money and pay it back the following year. In 2006, the purpose was modified to include funding shortfalls in Special Education Grants. We currently have a Special Education Task Force that is looking at ways for improving services and centralizing the specials education services as required by Act 153. The task force will bring a recommendation to the board in March. It is recommended that these funds be used by 2012. Julie asked about returning the funds to the town. Charlotte explained that this was talked about at the Executive Committee meeting. First, U-32 would be held harmless from the $8,911 as they did not receive any services from this preschool speech position. Then, the ADM used to set up the fund would be used for the distribution of it. The board discussed leaving the purpose as is, returning it to the schools and voting to modify the purpose and moving forward. The board asked what would be some of the unforeseen costs for Act 146 and Act 153? Kelly explained that there would be legal fees around contractual issues with seniority as all special services employees would be merged together. Lori explained that just like at the town meetings this is when the Full Board sets the Fund Balances. The board asked that this motion be tabled until the Special Education Task Force gives their recommendation in March.
2.3. Approve the reserved audited fund balances for specific purposes and authorize the Executive Committee to use them for their specific purposes: Sorsha Anderson motioned to approve the reserved audited fund balances for their designated purposes and authorize the WCSU Executive Committee to use them for their specific purposes. Jan Aldrich seconded. The motion passed 16-0.
3. Challenges for Change: Charlotte explained that based on the information received today the state education tax rate will stay the same. The Governor Elect Peter Shumlin said in his letter to school directors that the $19 million would be used to help schools meet the 2% target reductions over a two year period. We do not know if the unfunded mandates are required. School boards should continue to build budgets based on the programs needed to support the students and the schools. By December 15th, Lori has to report what school boards are looking at for proposed budgets. This is a way for the state to collect data. She will have to report again in January the actual budgets. Each board spoke about why they feel their board will not meet the “Challenges for Change” reductions.
3.1. Action: Shall Washington Central Supervisory Union meet the “Challenges for Change” recommended reductions for FY 11-12 set forth by the Vermont Department of Education? Matthew DeGroot motioned that the Washington Central Supervisory Union will not meet the “Challenges for Change” recommended reductions for FY 11-12 set forth by the Vermont Department of Education. Buffy Root seconded. The motion passed 16-0.
4. Transportation Committee: Lori explained that the committee has been working for the past few months to develop the transportation bid. The committee looked at alternates for transportation and they realized that more time was needed to look at the bus routes. Lori and Michelle have seen two demonstrations of transportation software. This software is compatible with MMS our student tracking software and it would allow us to develop the routes and make them more efficient. It would also give us the opportunity to develop alternates to the bid with actual routes available. It takes 3 to 6 months to get the software up and running. With this in mind, the committee thought it would be best if we could extend our current contract 1 more year which would allow us to develop a better bid for vendors. Lori has reviewed this information with the principals and they support the decision to move forward with First Student one more year. This would only be a 1.6% increase in transportation instead of the 6% schools were budgeting. Once we have the addendum, boards will then vote to approve the contract extension.
5. Adjourn: The board adjourned by consensus at 8:15.