- Budget Information
- Business Office
- General Information
- Human Resources
- Information Systems
- Policy Manual
- School Committee
- Teaching and Learning
- English Language Learning
- No Child Left Behind (NCLB)
- School Year Calendar
- Section 504
- Special Education
- Summer School
- Contact Us
Minutes for the Amherst, Pelham and Regional School Committees Meeting of February 28, 2012
Submitted by WestmorelandD on Tue, 06/05/2012 - 2:14pm.
Pelham School Committee
Joint Meeting of the Amherst, Pelham and Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committees
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Library, Amherst Regional High School
Rick Hood, Regional Chair
Debbie Gould, Pelham Chair
Zoe Langsdale, Student Representative
Irv Rhodes, Amherst Chair
Darius Modestow, Pelham SC
Maria Geryk, Superintendent
Rob Detweiler, Finance Director
Beth Graham, Dir. of PD, Collaboration & Evaluation
Jerry Champagne, Information Systems
Mark Jackson, ARHS Principal
Mike Hayes, ARMS Principal
Kim Stender, Volunteer Coordinator
Wilma Ortiz, ARMS TEacher
Tom Fricke, ARHS Teacher
Liz Elder, WW Teacher & APEA President
Mark Moriarty, ARHS Teacher
Call to Order 7:00 p.m.
A. Welcome—Mr. Hood called the Amherst and Regional meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. Ms. Gould then called the Pelham meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. Mr. Hood noted that Mr. Rhodes is unable to attend tonight’s meeting due to a death in his family and expressed condolences on behalf of the full committee.
B. Agenda Review—Mr. Hood noted that the agenda items "Policy for First Reading" and "Surplus Property" will be moved to the beginning of the agenda in order to allow Mr. Bohonowicz to leave once they are covered.
2. Announcements and Public Comments 7:03 p.m.
Mr. Appy noted that the Amherst Regional School District Planning Committee is holding their first public forum tomorrow night at Amherst Town Hall at 7:00 p.m. Mr. Goldstein-Rose noted that the ARHS musical, Guys and Dolls, is scheduled for this Thursday, Friday and Saturday and encouraged everyone to attend.
3. Superintendent's Update 7:04 p.m.
DOCUMENTS: Superintendent’s Update to the Regional School Committee, February 28, 2012
Ms. Geryk provided updates on several school-based activities and recent and upcoming initiatives including:
· Plans for Dr. Ron Ferguson’s visit to Amherst;
· The work of Amherst College Students Rachel Stern and Louisa Holmberg collating the Later Start Time feedback;
· The Big Brothers/Big Sisters Bowl for Kids Sake event; and
· The Amherst Survival Center’s Empty Bowls Dinner at which she, Mr. Jackson and Mr. Hayes will be serving.
4. New and Continuing Business 7:09 p.m. (F)/7:35 p.m.
A. Teacher Evaluation—Preliminary Report
Beth Graham recognized Wilma Ortiz, Tom Fricke, Liz Elder and Mark Moriarty who are all members of the Educator Evaluation Leadership Group, which has been working on local implementation plans for the new Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's Educator Evaluation Framework. Ms. Graham then gave a Powerpoint presentation highlighting key features of the new frameworks, including information on the process and timeline for implementation. She noted that as a Race to the Top District we are required to implement portions of the new system in September. Additionally, any changes to the district's current system of evaluation will require collective bargaining. After the presentation, Ms. Foley asked if we have any samples of what collective bargaining agreements will look like. Ms. Elder noted that there is a lot to be negotiated within the four required sections of the Evaluation System, such as timelines and ratings scales. Mr. Fricke noted that we do have model language to guide the negotiations process. Mr. Fonsh asked if Cohort 2, which will begin using the new evaluation system in 2013, will use the same process as Cohort 1, which will begin in 2012. Mr. Fricke noted that there will almost certainly be some differences since the first cohort in 2012 will not yet have the final standards from DESE. Ms. Geryk noted that a substantial amount of professional development will be required for everyone to get this new evaluation system implemented. Mr. Fonsh asked how the Evaluation System will mesh with Instructional Rounds. Ms. Graham noted that Instructional Rounds are about developing a collective understanding of highly effective teaching and learning. Ms. Elder noted that team goals, which are part of the evaluation system, can be developed through the SILT discussions after rounds. Mr. Hood thanked Ms. Graham and the Evaluation Leadership Group for the work they have done on this issue, noting that he is pleased to hear that the system will include quick feedback for teachers.
B. FY12 Budget Second Quarter Report
DOCUMENT: Amherst-Pelham Regional School District FY2012 Second Quarter Report
Mr. Detweiler briefly reviewed the highlights of the FY12 Second Quarter Report that was included in the School Committee agenda packet. Mr. Fonsh asked if Mr. Detweiler can speak to whether the projected funds that will be added back to E&D will impact next year's budget. Mr. Detweiler noted that it has already been factored in to the proposed budget.
C. Administrative Costs Report
DOCUMENTS: Amherst, Pelham, and Amherst-Pelham Regional School Districts Administration Costs Report, February 2012
Ms. Geryk distributed copies of the ARPS Administration Costs Report, which has been updated since the report was emailed to School Committee members on February 27th. She recognized and thanked Ms. Westmoreland for researching the data and compiling the report. She then reviewed highlights of the report including administrative structure historical data, administrative costs trends in the ARPS districts, and cost trend and demographic indicator comparisons with other local and comparison districts. Mr. Fonsh asked Ms. Geryk if she knows of any other districts that consist of multiple districts, with multiple school committees. Ms. Geryk noted that there are some, including Frontier and Gateway, but they are unusual. Mr. Fonsh noted that he believes there are very few districts we can really compare ourselves with structurally so he would like to see this report put to rest calls for comparisons to districts such as Northampton. Ms. Appy agreed, noting that she believes it is quite remarkable that all three districts are either below or consistently in the mix with regard to the administrative costs as a percentage of the budget. Ms. Gould noted that questions may still arise with regard to per pupil costs related to administration. Ms. Geryk agreed, stating that more research can be done in that area.
D. FY13 Budget
DOCUMENTS: Amherst-Pelham Regional Schools FY13 Budget Revenues Supporting Operating Budget
Mr. Detweiler distributed and very briefly reviewed the assessment information from the FY13 budget proposal. Mr. Hood then moved to adopt a budget of $28,527,558 for the Fiscal Year 2013 for the Amherst-Pelham Regional School District and to assess member towns according to the assessment method specified in the Regional Agreement as follows: Amherst $13,796,524; Pelham $1,210,291; Leverett $1,301, 855; and Shutesbury $1,430,559 for a total of $17,739,229. Mr. Goldstein-Rose seconded and discussion followed. Mr. Fonsh stated that he will vote for the budget, but noted that there is no guarantee it will pass at Leverett Town Meeting. He said he believes the School Committee should be aware of that. Mr. Goldstein-Rose asked if consideration has been given to whether the funds predicted to be available to return to E & D at the end of FY12 can be applied to reduce the town's assessments. Mr. Detweiler noted that it has, but that utilizing these funds can create gaps in future years. Ms. Gould noted that the small towns’ elementary schools have very tight budgets and it is hard to see money from the Regional budget going back into E & D year after year. Ms. Geryk noted that the use of E & D funds is a conversation that can continue after the budget is voted. After further discussion, Mr. Hood’s motion was unanimously approved.
E. Surplus Property
Mr. Detweiler explained that state procurement laws require approval of the School Committee in order to dispose of equipment that is past its useful life. He noted that the proposal is to dispose of the modular buildings next to the Middle School, as well as several items of computer equipment. Ms. Gould asked if there will be a cost to dispose of the modulars. Mr. Bohonowicz explained there is a cost of approximately $120 per ton for disposal. He will either find someone who wants the modulars and is willing to haul them away or his staff will dismantle them for disposal. Ms. Luschen asked what is done with the computer equipment identified for disposal. Mr. Champagne explained that computers that are still in good condition are refurbished and offered at no charge to any students who have a demonstrated need. This is a program that has been in place in the district for a number of years. Mr. Fonsh stated that he would like to speak to Mr. Champagne about the possibility of donating any equipment that is left after students are taken care of to the Hampshire County Jail. Mr. Champagne said he will be happy to talk with him about it. Ms. Appy moved to declare the modular classrooms currently located at the south end of the Middle School obsolete and to direct the Facilities Director to dispose of this material in conjunction with provisions of MGL 30B. Ms. Gould seconded and the motion was unanimously approved. Ms. Luschen then moved to declare the attached list of items as obsolete and to direct the Director of Finance and Operations to auction off, donate or otherwise dispose of this material in conjunction with provisions of MGL 30B. Ms. Gould seconded and the motion was unanimously approved. (List available at Superintendent's Office)
F. Draft Letter for Legislators
DOCUMENTS: Draft Letter for School Committee Consideration
Mr. Fonsh noted that he would like feedback from the School Committee regarding the letter he has drafted for legislators regarding Chapter 70 funding. Ms. Gould thanked Mr. Fonsh for drafting the letter and asked what the process will be for finalizing it. Mr. Hood noted that it would require a School Committee vote in order to send an official letter on behalf of the full committee. Because of the time sensitive nature of the issue, there may not be time to wait for another meeting in order to mail the letter. After discussion, it was agreed that each School Committee member will commit to sending a letter on their own. Ms. Westmoreland will email Mr. Fonsh’ draft letter and contact information for the appropriate state legislators to all of the School Committee members.
G. Accept Gifts
DOCUMENTS: Memo to the Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee from Mary Wallace, Regional Treasurer, dated February 22, 2012
Ms. Gould moved to accept $500 from Matthew Emerson for the ARHS Theater Program and an in-kind gift of 26 Girls Varsity Lacrosse Jerseys and Kilts from Nate Murphy. Ms. Appy seconded and the motion was unanimously approved.
5. Subcommittee Reports None
6. Policies 7:13 p.m. (EEB)/8:43 p.m.
A. First Reading
DOCUMENTS: Draft of Policy EEB dated February 2012; Revised Draft of Policy EEB prepared by Solomon Goldstein-Rose
Policy EEB: Motor Vehicle Idling on School Grounds—Mr. Fonsh reported that the Policy Subcommittee has had a number of conversations about this policy and the draft presented is based on Massachusetts General Law and general practices. Mr. Bohonowicz explained that all drivers receive annual training about idling requirements and all legally required signage is in place at all schools. Mr. Goldstein-Rose noted that he first brought the request to develop a bus idling policy to the Superintendent and School Committee several years ago. He then distributed and reviewed a draft of the policy with extensive changes he is proposing. Mr. Bohonowicz noted that he would like to know the impact of Mr. Goldstein-Rose's proposed changes to our contractors and contract. He noted that the only concern when idling buses is the safety of students, never the comfort of drivers. Mr. Goldstein-Rose noted that he would be happy to speak to Mr. Bohonowicz further about this issue. Mr. Detweiler noted that we do have refrigerated delivery trucks that may need to idle longer than other vehicles. Mr. Fonsh said he would like to have the Policy Subcommittee reconsider the policy in light of Mr. Goldstein-Rose's suggested changes and any information Mr. Bohonowicz is able to gather regarding the impact on the districts’ contractors. Ms. Geryk noted that policy is typically very short and concise and speaks to law, and details regarding policy implementation are spelled out in guidelines developed by the Superintendent.
B. Second Reading
DOCUMENTS: Draft of Policies AC, ACB, BDFA and BDFB dated February 2012
After brief discussion, Ms. Gould made a motion to approve Policies AC Commitment to Nondiscrimination and Educational Equity, ACB Affirmative Action on Cultural Diversity, BDFA School Councils and BDFB School Improvement Plans as presented. Mr. Fonsh seconded and the motion was unanimously approved.
School Committee Planning 8:52 p.m.
A. Calendar—Mr. Hood noted that some Regional meetings may be dropped from the calendar.
B. Agenda Items—Facilities Report; Curriculum Report; Later Start Time Report; 2012-2013 School Calendar
Adjourn 8:54 p.m.
Mr. Goldstein-Rose made a motion to adjourn the Regional School Committee at 8:54 p.m. Ms. Appy seconded and the motion was unanimously approved. Mr. Hood made a motion to adjourn the Amherst meeting at 8:54 p.m. Ms. Appy seconded and the motion was unanimously approved. Ms. Gould moved to adjourn the Pelham School Committee at 8:54 p.m. Ms. Foley seconded and the motion was unanimously approved.
APPROVED: March 13, 2012
Last updated June 05, 2012