WACHUSETT REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT

 

HOLDEN ¨ PAXTON ¨ PRINCETON ¨ RUTLAND ¨ STERLING

 

Minutes

 

Regular Meeting #1024, Wednesday, May 16, 2001

7:00 p.m.

 

Media Center

Wachusett Regional High School

 

PUBLIC HEARING

 

SCHOOL  CHOICE

 

School Committee Members Present:

 

            Duncan Leith, Chairman                                David Lowenthal

            John Rokicki, Vice-Chairman                    Peter MacDonald (8:13 PM)

            Ruth Briggs                                                 Kelly Maxwell

            Mary Copeland (7:15 PM)                              John Nunnari

            Carol Esperti (7:40 PM)                            Elizabeth Pape (7:07 PM)

            Kimberly Ferguson                                       Julie Scott

            Sherry Horeanopoulos (7:45 PM)             Kathleen Singh

            Jane James                                                  Jeffrey Wentzell

            Sarah Jordan

           

School Committee Members Absent:

           

            Kenneth Fensin

            Jeffrey Gibbs

            Rosemary Warren

 

Administration Present:

 

            Alfred D. Tutela, Superintendent of Schools

            Paul Soojian, Director of Operations

            Philip Campbell, Director of Student/Information Services

            Susan Sullivan, Executive Assistant to the Superintendent

 

 

 

 

Public Present:

 

            Richard Halloran, Worcester Telegram & Gazette

            Linda Lehans, The Landmark

            Douglas Briggs, Rutland Selectman

            Timothy Ethier, Chairman Holden Selectboard

            Maureen Floryan, Holden

            David Gibbs, Sterling

            Melinda Johnson, Paxton

            Donna Dominguez, Sterling

            Ginny Belcher, Holden

            Janis Pancare, Sterling

            Donna Halloran, Sterling

            Tammy Tod, Rutland

            Michele Wronski, Holden

           

Chairman Leith called the meeting to order at 7:05 PM.

 

Chairman Leith welcomed new members Ruth Briggs, Rutland, Carol Esperti, Holden, and Julie Scott, Holden.

 

Chairman Leith opened the Public Hearing on School Choice.  The Superintendent explained that there is no room at the high school so it is difficult to be a school choice district as by law once a district allows a choice student into the district, the student is allowed to stay through completion of grade twelve.

 

No testimony was provided.

 

Chairman Leith closed the Public Hearing at 7:07 PM.

 

Motion:            That the Wachusett Regional School District not participate as a School Choice District for the 2001/2002 School Year

                                                                        (J. Wentzell)

                                                                        (J. Nunnari)

 

Vote:

In favor:

            Duncan Leith

            John Rokicki

            Ruth Briggs

            Kimberly Ferguson

            Jane James

            Sarah Jordan

            David Lowenthal

            John Nunnari

            Elizabeth Pape

            Julie Scott

            Kathleen Singh

            Jeffrey Wentzell

 

Opposed:

            Kelly Maxwell

 

(Motion passed 12-1)

 

I.            Secretary’s Report

 

A.     Approval of the 1023rd Regular Meeting Minutes of the WRSD Committee held on April 9, 2001 – approved by consensus.

 

B.     Approval of the Executive Session minutes of the WRSD Committee held on April 9, 2001, not to be released to the public – approved by consensus

 

C.     Approval of the Special Meeting #220 of the WRSD Committee held on May 8, 2001 – approved by consensus

 

D.    Approval of the Executive Session minutes of the WRSD Committee held on May 8, 2001, not to be released to the public – approved by consensus

 

II.                 Treasurer’s Report

 

A.     Presentation of warrants and payrolls

 

III.              Financial Statements

 

IV.              Public Hearing

 

Maureen Floryan, Holden read a written statement (attachment 1).

Donna Dominguez, Sterling read a written statement (attachment 2).

Melinda Johnson, Paxton read a written statement (attachment 3).

 

V.                Communications

 

Chairman Leith reported that he had met with representatives from the Department of Revenue as part of the DOR audit.  Member Kathleen Singh reported that she had also met with the DOR team at the Town Hall in Sterling.

 

Member John Nunnari recognized science students who had placed in the State Science Fair.  Carl Harper and Catherine Reyes-Spencer won first place awards with Catherine receiving a 4-year scholarship to UMass Boston.  Carl also competed in the International Science Fair in San Jose, California where he received a fourth place award.  Isiah Grigos won a second place award; Jackie Roux won a third place award; Jessica Clark received an honorable mention.

 

Member Kimberly Ferguson asked why Counsel Robert Martin’s letter of May 1st had not been made available at the May 8th Special Meeting.  It was included in the Superintendent’s Report.  The Superintendent indicated that it was not available at the time of the last mailing.

 

Member Sarah Jordan asked for a copy of the letter to the Ethics Commission, as voted by the School Committee.  The Superintendent indicated that according to District Counsel, Ethics Commission issues are privileged between the party and the Ethics Committee and that the District does not have a copy.  Vice Chairman John Rokicki reported that he would supply a copy to the Superintendent for inclusion in the next Superintendent’s Report.

 

Member Sarah Jordan also asked that the Committee be sent a copy of Counsel McCabe’s opinion regarding an employee sitting on the School Committee.  Member Ruth Briggs indicated that she has not yet received her copy.  The Superintendent indicated that it would be included in the Superintendent’s Report.

 

VI.              Committee Reports

 

A.     Student Advisory Committee (L. McNally, T. Creedon, N. Leger)

 

No members from the Student Advisory Committee were present.

 

B.     Management Subcommittee

 

1.     Superintendent’s Evaluation

 

Chairman Leith distributed copies of the evaluation for members who did not bring the copies previously supplied by the Chairman (attachment 4).

 

Chairman Leith read the Preface to the Superintendent’s Evaluation.

 

There were some questions regarding the procedure for evaluating the Superintendent.  The Committee was advised by the Chair that any changes to the process must be agreed upon by the Committee and the Superintendent.

 

Motion:   To accept the Superintendent’s Evaluation as presented.

                                                            (E. Pape)

                                                            (M. Copeland)

 

Roll Call Vote:

In favor:

            Duncan Leith

            John Rokicki

            Mary Copeland

            Sherry Horeanopoulos

            Jane James

            John Nunnari

            Elizabeth Pape

            Jeffrey Wentzell

 

Opposed:

            Kimberly Ferguson

            Sarah Jordan

            David Lowenthal

            Kelly Maxwell

            Kathleen Singh

 

Abstained:

            Ruth Briggs

            Carol Esperti

            Julie Scott

 

                                    (Motion passed 8-5-3)

 

 

2.     School Committee Self-Evaluation

 

Chairman Leith began the School Committee Self-Evaluation but several Committee Members were not prepared so Chairman Leith postponed the Self-Evaluation until the June 11, 2001 meeting.  Chairman Leith distributed copies of the School Committee Self-Evaluation (attachment 5).

 

3.     Motion:  To adopt Policy AP8130 Policy Relating to Communication/Public Relations Distribution of Notices by Students as second reading

(J. Nunnari)

(M. Copeland)

 

Motion:  To amend the motion by changing “local parent group” in #5 to PTO, PTA, FORE, SEA, SIMCO or its equivalent” and to delete “at the discretion of the principal.”

                                                                                                            (K. Singh)

                                                                                                            (K. Ferguson)

 

                                    Vote:

                                    In favor:

                                                Duncan Leith

                                                John Rokicki

                                                Ruth Briggs

                                                Mary Copeland

                                                Carol Esperti

                                                Kimberly Ferguson

                                                Sherry Horeanopoulos

                                                Jane James

                                                Sarah Jordan

                                                David Lowenthal

                                                Peter MacDonald

                                                Kelly Maxwell

                                                John Nunnari

                                                Elizabeth Pape

                                                Julie Scott

                                                Kathleen Singh

                                                Jeffrey Wentzell

 

      Opposed:

            None

 

      (Motion passed unanimously)

 

Vote on the Main Motion as Amended, for a second reading:

In favor:

                                    Duncan Leith

                                    John Rokicki

                                    Ruth Briggs

                                    Mary Copeland

                                    Carol Esperti

                                    Kimberly Ferguson

                                    Sherry Horeanopoulos

                                    Jane James

                                    Sarah Jordan

                                    David Lowenthal

                                    Peter MacDonald

                                    Kelly Maxwell

                                    John Nunnari

                                    Elizabeth Pape

                                    Julie Scott

                                    Kathleen Singh

                                    Jeffrey Wentzell

 

Opposed:

                                    None

 

(Motion passed unanimously)

 

C.     Education Subcommittee

 

Subcommittee Chair Mary Copeland reported that the Education Subcommittee is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, May 22, 2001.

 

D.     Finance/Business Subcommittee

 

No report.

 

E.      Ad Hoc Subcommittee to Review the Regional Agreement

 

No report.

 

F.      Ad-Hoc Subcommittee to Review the School Committee By-Laws

 

1.      Recommendation to Amend School Committee By-Laws

 

Motion:  To adopt the changes on Article 2, Section 3 as grammatically corrected by Member Carol Esperti

                                                                                    (S. Jordan)

                                                                                    (J. Rokicki)

 

                                    Vote:

                                    In favor:

                                                Duncan Leith

                                                John Rokicki

                                                Ruth Briggs

                                                Mary Copeland

                                                Carol Esperti

                                                Kimberly Ferguson

                                                Sherry Horeanopoulos

                                                Jane James

                                                Sarah Jordan

                                                David Lowenthal

                                                Peter MacDonald

                                                Kelly Maxwell

                                                John Nunnari

                                                Elizabeth Pape

                                                Julie Scott

                                                Kathleen Singh

                                                Jeffrey Wentzell

 

                                    Opposed:

                                                None

 

                                    (Motion passed unanimously)

 

Chairman Leith appointed an Ad-Hoc Subcommittee to review the proposed changes to Article 3 of the By-Law and to make any added recommendations to the Committee.  The Ad-Hoc Subcommittee members are:

 

                                    Elizabeth Pape, Chair

                                    Carol Esperti

                                    Sherry Horeanopoulos

                                    Sarah Jordan

                                    Peter MacDonald

                                    Jeffrey Wentzell

 

G.     School Building Committees

 

1.      Holden – (K. Maxwell)

 

Member Kelly Maxwell had no report.  The Superintendent reported that there are still major issues at Davis Hill and Dawson to resolve and that the water problems at Mayo continue.

 

2.      Paxton – (C. Ely)

 

      No report.

 

3.  Rutland – (J. Rokicki)

 

Member John Rokicki reported that the Building Committee still has not accepted the fields.

 

4.      Sterling – (S. Jordan)

 

Member Sarah Jordan reported that the parking lot expansion article at Town Meeting passed.

There also continues to be a bird nesting problem.

 

5.      High School Building Committee

 

Through consensus, it was agreed to remove the High School Building Committee from the agenda.  The Superintendent answered members’ concerns regarding the plans for short term solutions to the enrollment problems.  The Superintendent reported that District staff is exploring the cost and engineering for modular classrooms.  In addition, the Superintendent informed the Committee that next year community service studies will be held during the long block at Jefferson School.

 

H.     School Council Representatives: Central Tree Middle School (J. Nunnari); Chocksett (P. MacDonald); Davis Hill (M. Copeland); Dawson (K. Maxwell); Houghton (S. Jordan); Mayo; Mountview (J. James); Naquag (J. Gibbs); Paxton (R. Warren); Thomas Prince (S. Horeanopoulos); Wachusett Regional High School (E. Pape)

 

Member Peter MacDonald reported that the Chocksett School Council would be conducting a parent survey.  He also wanted as part of the public record that the Chocksett School Council is delighted with the choice of Marguerite Snow as the new principal of Chocksett. 

 

Member Sarah Jordan asked about the schedule for presentation and review of the School Improvement Plans before the School Committee.

 

The Superintendent has scheduled two afternoons for this review, June 5th and June 7th from 3-6 PM.  A sign-up sheet was passed around (attachment 6) and the following members agreed to attend:

 

June 5th                              June 7th

 

Ruth Briggs                        Ruth Briggs

Mary Copeland (3:45)                  Carol Esperti

Kimberly Ferguson                  Sherry Horeanopoulos

Sherry Horeanopoulos (4:00)            Jane James

Jane James                        Sarah Jordan (3:30)

Sarah Jordan (3:30)                  Duncan Leith

Peter MacDonald                  John Nunnari

Julie Scott                        Elizabeth Pape

Jeffrey Wentzell                        Julie Scott

                                    Jeffrey Wentzell

 

VII.           Recommendations and Reports of the Superintendent

 

A. That the Wachusett Regional School District not participate as a School Choice District for the 2001/2002 School Year

 

      This was taken up at the beginning of the meeting.

 

B.     Request for executive session for the purposes of discussing strategies for collective bargaining

 

No executive session was requested by the Superintendent.

 

C.     Motion:  To reduce appropriation from Benefits and Insurance by $29,900, Instructional Support by $16,311 and Building and Grounds by $4,914 and increase District Administration by $29,900 and Custodial Services by $21,225

(J. Rokicki)

(J. Wentzell)

 

                              Roll Call Vote:

                              In favor:

                                    Duncan Leith

                                    John Rokicki

                                    Mary Copeland

                                    Carol Esperti

                                    Kimberly Ferguson

                                    Sherry Horeanopoulos

                                    Jane James

                                    Sarah Jordan

                                    David Lowenthal

                                    Peter MacDonald

                                    Kelly Maxwell

                                    John Nunnari

                                    Elizabeth Pape

                                    Julie Scott

                                    Kathleen Singh

                                    Jeffrey Wentzell

 

                              Opposed:

                                    None

 

                              Abstained:

                                    Ruth Briggs

 

                              (Motion passed 16-0-1)

 

D.     Motion:  To approve the reappropriation of increased amended indirect cost funds of the PL94-142 federal grant in the amount of $9,923 and increased amended indirect cost funds of the Title VI federal grant in the amount of $339 to the Professional Development revolving account

(J. Nunnari)

(J. Wentzell)

 

                             Roll Call Vote:

                             In favor:

                                    Duncan Leith

                                    John Rokicki

                                    Ruth Briggs

                                    Mary Copeland

                                    Carol Esperti

                                    Kimberly Ferguson

                                    Sherry Horeanopoulos

                                    Jane James

                                    Sarah Jordan

                                    David Lowenthal

                                    Peter MacDonald

                                    Kelly Maxwell

                                    John Nunnari

                                    Elizabeth Pape

                                    Julie Scott

                                    Kathleen Singh

                                    Jeffrey Wentzell

 

                              Opposed:

                                    None

 

                              Abstained:

                                    None

 

                              (Motion passed unanimously)

 

E.      Policy DP7141 Policy Relating to Budget/Finance Inventory Control

 

Chairman Leith referred the policy to the Business/Finance Subcommittee.

 

The Superintendent reported that the Middle School Graduation at Paxton would be June 26th and that the other middle school graduations would be on June 25th.

 

VIII.         Unfinished Business

 

A.     Tabled Motion:  Be it resolved that the Wachusett Regional School District Committee supports a modification to the Department of Education’s Foundation Formula to include a new ‘regional equity aid’ provision.  This new aid will be in the form of an adjustment to Chapter 70 aid.  The WRSDC advocates that the Department of Education calculate a ‘regional per pupil net school spending requirement’, i.e. a per pupil spending requirement that is the average of the different per pupil spending requirements, including the states’ contribution, of the member towns.  Those member towns that exceed the average per pupil cost will have their respective minimum local contribution reduced to the average regional per pupil cost and those member towns that are below the average regional per pupil expenditure will be brought up to the average by the ‘regional equity aid’ provision through an increase in Chapter 70 aid.  This will eliminate unequal local contributions, on a per student basis, for the same educational services.  The Chair of the WRSDC is directed to share this resolve with appropriate State Legislators, Selectboards and Finance/Advisory Committee members.

 

B.     Release of  Executive Session Minutes of the WRSD Committee held on March 22, 2001

 

C.     Release of Executive Session minutes of the WRSD Committee held on March 12, 2001

 

D.    Release of Executive Session Minutes of the WRSD Committee held on February 20, 2001

 

E.      Release of Executive Session minutes of the WRSD Committee held on February 15, 2001

 

F.      Release of Executive Session Minutes of the WRSD Committee held on February 12, 2001

 

G.  Release of Executive Session Minutes of the WRSD Committee held on January 29, 2001

 

H. Release of Executive Session Minutes of the WRSD Committee held on January 8, 2001

 

I.      Release of Executive Session Minutes of the WRSD Committee held on August 21, 2000 as approved on September 11, 2000

 

J.      Release of Executive Session Minutes of the WRSD Committee held on June 12, 2000 as approved on July 10, 2000

 

K.      Release of balance of Executive Session Minutes of the WRSD Committee held on December 14, 1999 as approved on December 22, 1999 and partially released on December 22, 1999

 

L.      Release of Executive Session Minutes of the WRSD Committee held on August 23, 1999 as approved on October 18, 1999

 

IX.             Public Hearing

 

No one from the public wished to speak.

 

X.                New Business

 

Member David Lowenthal would like to have the Committee look at the following:

1.                  Present changes to high school

2.                  NEASC improvements

3.                  Two-school proposal

 

The Superintendent responded that he could respond in writing on the NEASC question and would include it in the Superintendent’s Report prior to the next regularly scheduled meeting.

 

The Superintendent was asked if the Town of Rutland was to need a new elementary school in a few years would it be owned by the District and would all member towns have to vote approval for the project.  The Superintendent indicated that it would be a District-owned building but he would check with District Counsel as to the need for all towns to vote if only one town would be paying for the borrowing.

 

Motion:  That in the spirit of openness and cooperation, the School Committee directs the Chair to form an Ad-Hoc Committee to be called the Citizens High School Advisory Group, said committee to be comprised of the following members from each of the towns:

1.     School Committee member from each town

2.     Three (3) appointees from each town made by the Selectboard, only one may be a Selectboard member and citizen representing stakeholders in the town.

The purpose of this committee shall be to insure that the voices of all citizens in the District are heard.  Further, this committee shall be empowered to make recommendation to the committee regarding the sizing, siting, and plan formulation for the high school (attachment 6).

                                                                        (P. MacDonald)

                                                                        (S. Jordan)

 

Motion:  To table the motion.

                                                                        (P. MacDonald)

                                                                        (C. Esperti)

 

Vote:

In favor:

                                    Duncan Leith

                                    John Rokicki

                                    Ruth Briggs

                                    Mary Copeland

                                    Carol Esperti

                                    Kimberly Ferguson

                                    Sherry Horeanopoulos

                                    Jane James

                                    Sarah Jordan

                                    David Lowenthal

                                    Peter MacDonald

                                    Kelly Maxwell

                                    John Nunnari

                                    Elizabeth Pape

                                    Julie Scott

                                    Kathleen Singh

            Jeffrey Wentzell

 

Opposed:

            None

 

(Motion passed unanimously)

 

XI.            Adjournment

 

                        Motion:  To adjourn.

                                                                                                (J. Nunnari)

                                                                                                (J. James)

 

                        Vote:

                        In favor:

                                    Duncan Leith

                                    John Rokicki

                                    Ruth Briggs

                                    Mary Copeland

                                    Carol Esperti

                                    Kimberly Ferguson

                                    Sherry Horeanopoulos

                                    Jane James

                                    Sarah Jordan

                                    David Lowenthal

                                    Peter MacDonald

                                    Kelly Maxwell

                                    John Nunnari

                                    Elizabeth Pape

                                    Julie Scott

                                    Kathleen Singh

                                    Jeffrey Wentzell

 

                        Opposed:

                                    None

 

                        (Motion passed unanimously)

 

                        The meeting was adjourned at 10:15 PM.

 

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

Alfred D. Tutela, Superintendent of Schools

 

 

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