WACHUSETT REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT

HOLDEN PAXTON PRINCETON RUTLAND STERLING

Minutes

Regular Meeting #1026, Monday, July 9, 2001

7:00 p.m.

Media Center

Wachusett Regional High School

Committee Members Present:

John Rokicki, Chairman David Lowenthal

Sherry Horeanopoulos, Vice-Chairman Peter MacDonald (7:26)

Mary Copeland John Nunnari

Carol Esperti Julie Scott

Jeffrey Gibbs Kathleen Singh

Sarah Jordan Rosemary Warren

Duncan Leith

Committee Members Absent:

Kenneth Fensin Kelly Maxwell

Kimberly Ferguson Elizabeth Pape

Jane James Jeffrey Wentzell

Administration Present:

Alfred D. Tutela, Ph.D., Superintendent of Schools

Paul Soojian, Director of Operations

Joseph Rappa, Director of Administrative Services

Philip Campbell, Director of Student/Information Services

Susan H. Sullivan, Executive Assistant to the Superintendent

Others Present:

Linda Lehans, The Landmark

Richard Halloran, Worcester Telegram & Gazette

Susan Staudaher, Sterling Meetinghouse News

James Scola, Municipal Representative

Douglas Briggs, Rutland Selectboard

Joseph Sullivan, Holden Selectboard

David White, Holden Selectboard

Remo Rossi, Sterling Selectboard

Edmond Benoit, Holden Finance Committee

Stanley Moss, Princeton Advisory Committee

Christian deMarcken, Paxton Finance Committee

Debbie Croucher, Sterling

Maureen Floryan, Holden

Bob Sauer, Princeton

Melinda Johnson, Paxton

Ron Citarella, Shrewsbury/Rutland

Cynthia Bergstedt, Paxton

Steve Slenten, Holden

Chairman John Rokicki called the meeting to order at 7:13 PM.

I. Secretary’s Report

    1. Approval of the 1025th Regular Meeting Minutes of the WRSD Committee held on June 11, 2001 – approved by consensus with the correction on page 8, adding C. Esperti as the maker of the motion to amend and D. Leith as the second; and the correction on page 17 and 18, noting the time Member Rosemary Warren left the meeting was 10:45 PM and adjournment at 10:50 PM.
    2. Approval of the Executive Session Minutes of the WRSD Committee held on June 11, 2001, to be released to the public immediately upon resolution of the subject of the executive session – approved by consensus
    1. Treasurer’s Report
    1. Presentation of warrants and payrolls -- warrants were circulated for signature by new members appointed by Chairman Rokicki.
    1. Financial Statements
    2. Financial Statements were provided in the previous Superintendent’s Report. Chairman Rokicki reported that any questions for the Treasurer or the Comptroller should be referred to the Superintendent.

       

       

    3. Public Hearing

Melinda Johnson, Paxton, spoke to clarify her interpretations of prior votes on the high school and commented on previous letters to the editor in The Landmark by school committee members. She urged the Committee to not let the fiscal inequities cloud the Committee’s responsibility to educate all students.

Douglas Briggs, Rutland Selectboard, urged the Committee to deal with the inequities at the state level. He urged Committee members to read the Governor’s report and the report by the Foundation Budget Review Commission. He tried to clarify Rutland’s concern for its taxpayers. He questioned the "per capita lite" as it impacts Paxton as well as Rutland. Mr. Briggs and Clealand Blair, Chairman of the Rutland Finance Committee, have been speaking with representatives from the Department of Education and Department of Revenue.

Remo Rossi, Sterling Selectboard, urged the Committee to not follow Douglas Briggs’ direction but rather look long and hard at the Ad-Hoc Subcommittee’s recommendation. He also quoted articles from The Landmark.

Chairman Rokicki took the following item out of order as many members of the public were here to address the funding inequities.

VI. Committee Reports

The Superintendent distributed 4 Year Bridging Plan Transition Rules (attachment 1), Member Town Funding Inequities Committee Meeting Minutes May 1, 2001 (attachment 2). Chairman Rokicki read the recommendation of the Ad-Hoc Subcommittee (attachment 3).

    1. Inequities Committee Report
    2. Motion: To accept the vote of the ad-hoc committee and allow them to continue to refine the plan heretofore called "per capita lite", including bridging agreements to be brought before town meetings in the five Wachusett towns in September, 2001 (attachment 4)

      The Assessment Task Force recommends to the WRSDC that it support the adoption of a plan of district per capita assessment based on the proposed "Per Capita Lite" plan as submitted to the subcommittee:

      • Including a 2-4 year bridging plan implementation
      • Subsequent phase-in of an adjustment and/or reduction to the current 5 year rolling average of the population as it relates to assessment.

    The Task Force will reconvene, subject to approval of this proposal by the WRSDC, to consider and recommend the details of a method to gather supplemental funds and support from our identified partners – the State, the Wachusett Regional School District and the five communities.

    (K. Singh)

    (C. Esperti)

    Remo Rossi, Sterling Selectboard, explained "per capita lite".

    Brian Bullock, Holden Town Manager, clarified the definition of "per capita lite" and the Ad-hoc Subcommittee is seeking support to pursue this proposal and will return with definite funding numbers. The Subcommittee is looking at a "Bridging Agreement" and wants commitment to bring this to town meetings in September. The Committee is looking for input from the School Committee.

    Stanley Moss, Princeton Advisory Committee, indicated that the ad-hoc subcommittee was looking for support tonight for "per capita" or "per capita lite".

    The Superintendent advised the Committee that the Committee was making a decision with no information with respect to the impact on the District.

    Motion to Amend: To strike the words "accept the vote of the ad-hoc committee" and add the words, after the word "lite" "and the District tax as another option to be considered"

    (J. Gibbs)

    (J. Nunnari)

    Roll call vote:

    In favor:

    Jeffrey Gibbs

    John Nunnari

    Opposed:

    John Rokicki

    Sherry Horeanopoulos

    Mary Copeland

    Carol Esperti

    Sarah Jordan

    Duncan Leith

    David Lowenthal

    Peter MacDonald

    Julie Scott

    Kathleen Singh

    Rosemary Warren

    (Motion to amend failed 2-11)

    Member Mary Copeland left the meeting at 8:34 PM.

    Roll call vote on main motion:

    In favor:

    Sherry Horeanopoulos

    Carol Esperti

    Jeffrey Gibbs

    Sarah Jordan

    Duncan Leith

    David Lowenthal

    Peter MacDonald

    Julie Scott

    Kathleen Singh

    Opposed:

    John Rokicki

    John Nunnari

    Rosemary Warren

    (Motion passed 9-3)

    Chairman Rokicki took the following item out of order in order to accommodate Municipal Representative James Scola.

     

    VII. Recommendations and Reports of the Superintendent

    C. Motion: To enter executive session for the purpose of discussing collective bargaining strategies, to return to public session.

    (S. Horeanopoulos)

    (P. MacDonald)

    Roll call vote:

    In favor:

    John Rokicki

    Sherry Horeanopoulos

    Carol Esperti

    Jeffrey Gibbs

    Sarah Jordan

    Duncan Leith

    David Lowenthal

    Peter MacDonald

    John Nunnari

    Julie Scott

    Kathleen Singh

    Rosemary Warren

    Opposed:

    None

    (Motion passed unanimously)

    The Committee left public session at 8:44 PM.

    The Committee returned to public session at 9:00 PM.

      1. Communications
      2. The Superintendent distributed an attachment to a letter included in the Superintendent’s report from the Town of Sterling, which was inadvertently omitted from the report (attachment 5).

        Chairman Rokicki reported that he had received correspondence from Ruth Briggs, resigning from her position on the School Committee.

        Member Kathleen Singh reported that the four Sterling representatives met with the Sterling Selectboard and parents attended and were concerned about the interim solutions for the high school.

        Member Rosemary Warren left the meeting at 9:07 PM.

        Member David Lowenthal reported that he had received correspondence from a constituent asking why modular classrooms are needed, since the high school population had not grown.

        Member Jeffrey Gibbs reported that Kenneth Fensin reported that Sam’s Club had donated $200. He was referred to the Superintendent.

      3. Committee Reports
      1. Student Advisory Committee (L. McNally, T. Creedon, N. Leger)
      2. No report.

      3. Management Subcommittee
      4. 1. School Committee Self-Improvement Questionnaire

        School Committee Members Duncan Leith, Carol Esperti, Sherry Horeanopoulos, Julie Scott, Rosemary Warren, and Kathleen Singh provided copies of comments for the Self-Improvement Questionnaire (attachments 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11). School Committee Members Elizabeth Pape, Kelly Maxwell, Duncan Leith, and Sarah Jordan had provided comments, which were included in the Superintendent’s Report. All items with comments will be compiled by District staff for the next Superintendent’s Report.

      5. Education Subcommittee
      6. No report.

      7. Finance/Business Subcommittee
      8. No report.

         

      9. Ad Hoc Subcommittee to Review the Regional Agreement
      10. No report.

      11. Ad-Hoc Subcommittee to Review the School Committee By-Laws
      12. 1. Recommendation to Amend School Committee By-Laws

        Suggested changes to the By-Law Amendments were made and will be included for action at the next meeting.

      13. School Building Committees
      1. Holden – (K. Maxwell)

    The Superintendent reported that there is still concern regarding the intake of snow at Mountview; the water in the elevator shaft and oil tank area at Mayo; the acceptance of the millwork at Davis Hill; the odor at Dawson.

    2. Paxton – (C. Ely)

    No report.

    3. Rutland – (J. Rokicki)

    No report.

      1. Sterling – (S. Jordan)
      2. No report.

      3. High School Building Committee

    No report.

      1. School Council Representatives: Central Tree Middle School Chocksett; Davis Hill; Dawson; Houghton; Mayo; Mountview; Naquag; Paxton; Thomas Prince; Wachusett Regional High School

    No report.

    Chairman Rokicki distributed his list of appointments (attachment 12). The Chairman indicated that there are still openings on two of the Building Committees and School Councils. Member Julie Scott volunteered to serve on the Holden WRSD Building Committee.

      1. Recommendations and Reports of the Superintendent
      2. A. Motion: Pursuant to provisions of Section 6.3 of the School Lease Agreement between the Wachusett Regional School District and the Town of Holden for the Jefferson School Building which requires a vote of the School Committee that "the usage by such entity is related to and supports the educational purposes of the Lessee", to authorize the Wachusett Regional School District to enter into an agreement with Child Works to provide a day care program for three and four year olds to bring the District into compliance with state regulations for inclusion of early childhood students and that any revenues received will be used to cover any extraordinary costs related to the agreement.

        (C. Esperti)

        (J. Nunnari)

        Vote:

        In favor:

        John Rokicki

        Sherry Horeanopoulos

        Carol Esperti

        Jeffrey Gibbs

        Sarah Jordan

        Duncan Leith

        David Lowenthal

        Peter MacDonald

        John Nunnari

        Julie Scott

        Kathleen Singh

        Opposed:

        None

        (Motion passed unanimously)

        B. Motion: To approve the sale of a $7,000,000 3.25% Revenue Anticipation Note of the District dated July 13, 2001 and payable June 28, 2002, to Mellon Financial Markets, Inc. at par and accrued interest plus a premium of $17,920.

        (J. Nunnari)

        (D. Leith)

        Roll call vote:

        In favor:

        John Rokicki

        Sherry Horeanopoulos

        Carol Esperti

        Jeffrey Gibbs

        Sarah Jordan

        Duncan Leith

        David Lowenthal

        Peter MacDonald

        John Nunnari

        Julie Scott

        Kathleen Singh

        Opposed:

        None

        (Motion passed unanimously)

        Members requested the Superintendent provide a report of the Large City Superintendents Conference, recently attended by the Superintendent. The Superintendent agreed to provide a summary report.

      3. Unfinished Business
      4. Public Hearing
      5. Debbie Croucher, Sterling, commented on the joint meeting of the Sterling Selectboard and Sterling School Committee representatives. Parents had requested the joint meeting and are concerned about the interim solutions at the high school. Safety issues at the high school revolve around fire protection, sprinklers, etc. She commented that the modular approach should be supported by the Sterling Selectboard, as that was an option that had been mentioned prior to the most recent vote. She asked for more meetings like that.

      6. New Business

    Member Sherry Horeanopoulos asked to have a School Committee sunshine fund be mentioned in the next Superintendent’s report and that she would collect the funds.

    Member Carol Esperti David Lowenthal distributed copies of The Task Force to Study the Educational Implications of Breaking up the District (attachment 13).

    Chairman Rokicki left the meeting at 10:07 PM and turned the meeting over to Vice-Chair Sherry Horeanopoulos

    Member John Nunnari left the meeting at 10:15 PM

    XI. Adjournment

    The meeting was adjourned at 10:15 PM due to the lack of a quorum.

     

    Respectfully submitted,

     

    Alfred D. Tutela, Superintendent of Schools

    ADT:ss/School Committee/Minutes