Meeting Minutes

BOE Audio Files- https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/119N4o-ZkXT9vL0Eo542wjme5AYVCRHOF?usp=sharing

Note: Per C.G.S. 10 – 218, Board of Education meeting minutes are provided in a draft format within 48 hours of the date the meeting  was held. With the exception of motions and votes recorded, these minutes are unofficial until they have been read and approved by  a majority vote of the Board. Should edits be necessary, they will be made at the next regularly scheduled meeting, noted in the  meeting minutes, and voted upon. 

SCOTLAND BOARD OF EDUCATION 

Scotland, Connecticut 

Meeting Minutes  MAY 3, 2022

April 5, 2022 

Chairperson Cassidy Martin called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM. Present were Board members Sherry  Smardon, Scott Sears, Rod Perry, Bill Trudelle, Clark Stearns and Gracie Martin. Administrators present  were Superintendent Valerie Bruneau, Principal Ann Knowles, Special Ed Director Maggie Courter and  Finance Coordinator Tim Smith. Others present was First Selectman Gary Greenberg. The Board recited the Pledge of Allegiance. 

There is a Zoom audience for tonight’s meeting just for watching. 

Chair Cassidy Martin apologized to the Administration for the disrespectful conduct at the March meeting and personally takes full responsibility for not gaining control of the meeting sooner. Personal attacks will  not be allowed. The Board was reminded about the rules of not sharing information discussed in Executive  Session (sharing is unacceptable and goes against the CABE Code of Conduct). The rules were clarified for  Audience for Citizens. 

2. COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC 

Judy Benson-Clarke of 61 West Rd, Marlborough expressed concerns with shutting down public  comments referring to book about Freedom of Information by Attorney Mark Sommaruga.  Special Ed teacher Suellen Henry of 61 West Rd, Willington expressed concerns about the budget meeting the needs of the students, and cuts to paras without any input from the Special Ed staff. Financial Assistant Ashley Kammer of 16 Palmer Rd, Scotland thanked Cassidy Martin for her opening  comments and thanked the new Administration for taking over and running with it. 

3. COMMUNICATIONS TO THE BOARD 

A letter of retirement was received from Finance Coordinator Tim Smith effective April 30, 2022 (will  work remotely with the Financial Assistant as necessary). 

A letter was received from Mindy Smith of the Christian Fellowship Church thanking the Board for making their March 13th Blood Drive possible with the use of the gymnasium (47 units collected). 

4. APPROVAL OF MINUTES 

Regular Meeting of March 1, 2022: 

#1-21/22 Motion to approve the regular meeting minutes from March 1, 2022, was made by Sherry  Smardon with the following correction: Item #7F – correct the spelling for Jayme Horton. The motion  was seconded by Gracie Martin and carried with abstentions by Clark Stearns and Sherry Smardon. 

5. OPPORTUNITY TO ADD OR DELETE AGENDA ITEMS 

#2-21/22 Motion to add to agenda as Item #8H5 – Discuss Venue for Future Board Meetings, was  made by Scott Sears, seconded by Sherry Smardon and carried unanimously. 

#3-21/22 Motion to add to agenda as Item #8H6 – Accept Retirement from Tim Smith, was made by  Sherry Smardon, seconded by Scott Sears and carried unanimously. 

6. CELEBRATIONS 

No masks and new Zoom for meetings. 

The first school-wide assembly was held with the American Heart Association.

Scotland Board of Education –Page 2 of 4 

Minutes: April 5, 2022 

7. REPORTS 

A. Chairperson’s Oral Report: No Report 

B. Superintendent’s Report: 

Looking at programming to bring in: American Sign Language coming in this week for the lower  grades, local woman with deaf therapy dog “Sophia” – will encourage students to learn Sign  Language. 

Technology Update from Savage Systems who could not attend tonight’s meeting – taking  inventory to examine potential items to qualify for E-rate, making sure PowerSchool is integrated  and utilized, making use of scheduling system, migrating school website with Word Press, focus  group this summer to look at platforms, did a system audit, looking at disaster recovery system and  ransomware, and making sure privilege rights are where they should be. 

C. Principal’s Report: 

Masks are off for the month with some students wearing them.  

Spirit Day encourages freedom of optional. 

The School Readiness Grant and Quality Enhancement Grant were submitted on time to  EASTCONN. 

It’s been a nice transition as everyone moves back to normal with 42 days of class time left. Enrollment is at 103 students with a new student in PreK. 

Rod asked for the projected number of 3-year-olds for the fall (should know better next month – the  maximum number could be 17 based on the number of births in town). First Selectman Gary  Greenberg asked why enumeration is not used anymore to project the number of students and  suggested starting it up again (Valarie will look into). 

D. Special Education Report: 

PMT Training is scheduled for the staff. 

Added 1 student with an IEP and 2 additional 504 students. 

Contacted UCONN about a Speech and Language Pathologist for in-service (the position is still  posted with 2 people interested in full-time). 

There is a CBA Consultation with an outside provider that is helpful with programming for the  youngest learners. 

Continue working with the State Special Ed Director – has signups for new CT SEDS IEP training. Continue to look at the budget for next year and auditing the needs of the students for IEP services. E. Financial Report: 

The Financial Reports were reviewed. Rod Perry asked about the bottom line and if the budget should  be tightened (Heating oil may go over – had to prebuy). If more oil is needed, would have to pay a  higher price (Rod suggested calling around to different suppliers if another purchase is necessary and  turning down the thermostat). There is no contract because company is not willing to project a price  for next year. Bill Trudelle asked about the cost for the maintainers (cost is within what was projected,  will switch to paying them directly). Grants should be spent by the June 30th deadline. #4-21/22 Motion to approve the Financial Report dated March 17, 2022, was made by Scott Sears,  seconded by Sherry Smardon and carried unanimously. 

F. PTO: No Report 

G. Committee Reports: 

Inter-district Cost Sharing, CABE/EASTCONN, Readiness Council, Policy Committee, Personnel  Committee, Technology, Finance Committee, Facilities Committee and Climate Survey Committee Interdistrict Cost Sharing – The proposal for a Cooperative Agreement is almost finalized. A Committee  with Board of Education members from each town would oversee the operation of the school. The  model budget for the combined schools is nearing completion with a lot of detail and estimated to cost

Scotland Board of Education –Page 3 of 4 

Minutes: April 5, 2022 

2.9 million dollars (not counting local costs for regular & special ed out-of-district, magnet schools and  transportation). Public information meetings will be held on May 3rd in Hampton and May 5th in  Scotland. Waiting to hear from the state Department of Ed regarding how grant funds will be handled.  EASTCONN – The Executive Director resigned the end of March with David Irwin as Interim Director. Readiness Council – Discussed and reviewed policies – almost done except Special Ed costs that will be  discussed at the next meeting. 

Personnel Committee – Working on dates for Non-Certified Staff negotiations. 

Climate Survey – Nick Caruso from CABE has concerns with staff surveys and anonymous parent  surveys. The Board Attorney has concerns with using staff survey results with the Superintendent  Evaluation (the Board should talk to the union rep, not individual staff members) and anonymous  parent surveys. Nick Caruso recommends hiring a survey company and include a question asking how  the Board is doing. Gary Greenberg suggested contacting the Political Science Program at UCONN to  see if there is graduated student interested in doing a dissertation. Clark Stearns suggested  Administrators be here a year before evaluating (are there goals with benchmarks and are they being  met). The Board should do a check-in with the Administrators. 

8. BOARD BUSINESS 

H. Items for Discussion & Actions 

1. Item: Reduction in Force Topic/Non-Renewals (Action Anticipated): 

There are no non-tenured staff positions for non-renewal.  

Discussion was held about reducing 3 paras. Scott Sears spoke about the focus being on Special Ed  paras when there are paras for Regular Ed as well. Gracie Martin asked about volunteers used  previously in classrooms to assist the teachers. Cassidy Martin asked how Scotland compares to  other districts (most towns average 3-4 students per paras – Scotland average is 2). Gary  Greenberg asked to clarify that some paras are not for IEPs (very small classes have para support).  #5-21/22 Motion for the Board to authorize reduction of paraprofessionals from 11-8, was made  by Clark Stearns, seconded by Rod Perry and carried with one abstention by Sherry Smardon. 2. Item: Teacher Early Retirement Incentive (Action Anticipated): 

This is the same incentive offered previously. 

#6-21/22 Motion to offer Teacher Early Retirement Incentive, was made by Sherry Smardon,  seconded by Clark Stearns and carried unanimously. 

3. Item: 2022-23 Budget (Action Anticipated): 

The Draft #1 2022-23 Budget has a 0% increase and includes reduction for 3 paras. The decrease  for line #106 Board of Education – Other Salaries is for the Enumerator. Rod Perry asked about the  following: does the budget include increase for Non-Certified Staff negotiations (includes projected  amount), is there an increase to STEM Tuition (expect to hear soon) and asked about 10% increase  for Telephone (Gary suggested checking with Savage Systems that offers phone service). Clark  Stearns expressed concerns about unforeseen increases (he sells products to municipalities and has  seen monthly increases of his product). 

#7-21/22 Motion to adopt Draft #1 2022-23 Budget with 0% increase, was made by Clark Stearns,  seconded by Gracie Martin and carried unanimously. 

4. Item: Account Signatory Addition (Action Anticipated): 

According to Board Policy, the Superintendent can review and is financially responsible for checks that require 2 signatures (one should be the Superintendent). Clark Stearns commented that the  purpose of signing checks is to assure the money is being spent appropriately (there should never  be the same people signing in a row).

Scotland Board of Education –Page 4 of 4 

Minutes: April 5, 2022 

#8-21/22 Motion to add the Superintendent as Account Signatory, was made by Clark Stearns,  seconded by Gracie Martin and carried unanimously. 

5. Discuss Venue for Future Board Meetings: 

Gary Greenberg reported that the town purchased a system with Covid funds that would allow for  Hybrid meetings. Equipment will be installed at the Firehouse with 2-way communication with the  remote audience. The Board was asked to consider changing their meeting room to the Firehouse Community Room and will be notified when the system is up and running. 

6. Accept Retirement from Tim Smith: 

#9-21/22 Motion to accept with regret resignation from Finance Coordinator Tim Smith, was  made by Sherry Smardon, seconded by Gracie Martin and carried with one no vote. I. Old Business updates 

Rose Khourie Scholarship: 

The Scholarship Fund was setup in a trust and intended to go to a college student to repay after  getting a job. The trust was dissolved with $10,000 put into a CD. The Attorney recommends going  to Superior Court to show how the Board wants to use this money. Ideas include: turnover to the  RD11 Scholarship Fund to earn more interest (would be tracked separately), give out until its gone,  give out every 4 years or until it reaches a certain level (Gary will check with the Attorney). ∙ A/C Project: 

Pre-work will be done over April vacation. A walkthrough was done and everything is going  according to plan. Bill Trudelle asked for the final number and expressed concerns with not  following policy by going out to bid (not required for a grant). 

BOE Goals: The Board will discuss goals during Executive Session at the next meeting. 

9. COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC ON AGENDA ITEMS: 

Reading Intervention Specialist/Art Teacher Lynn Johnson understands the needs of the students and  expressed concerns with cutting paras who are essential for the classroom with more students coming  up that may require Special Ed. 

Judy Benson-Clark expressed concerns about not speaking to the staff about reducing the paras and  increase to Administrators and Secretaries. 

Kristen Goyette asked for clarification on cutting Special Ed, reducing paras, increase for the Special Ed  Director and Administration and expressed concerns about cutting the department that is already  lacking without the support it needs. 

10. OTHER ACTION ITEMS: None 

11. UPCOMING MEETINGS 

Regular Board Meeting May 3, 2022 at Scotland Elementary with Zoom 

Items for Next Meeting and Assignments 

Board Goals (Executive Session) 

Discuss Possible Survey Company or UCONN Political Science Student 

Enumeration 

12. ADJOURNMENT: 

#10-21/22 Motion to adjourn (9:11 PM) was made by Sherry Smardon, seconded by Gracie Martin and  carried unanimously. 

Respectfully submitted by Kathleen Scott 

Recording Clerk

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