WACHUSETT REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT

HOLDEN PAXTON PRINCETON RUTLAND STERLING

Minutes

Wachusett Regional School District Committee

Special Meeting #217, Tuesday, February 20, 2001

7:00 p.m.

Media Center

Wachusett Regional High School

 

Committee Members present:

Duncan Leith, Chairman Sarah Jordan

John Rokicki, Vice-Chairman (7:07PM) David Lowenthal

Paul Anderson Kelly Maxwell

Jeffrey Gibbs Lorraine Neilan

Kenneth Fensin John Nunnari

Jane James Jeffrey Wentzell

Committee Members absent:

Mary Copeland Peter MacDonald

Paul James Elizabeth Pape

Administration present:

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

Paul Soojian, Director of Operations

Philip Campbell, Director of Student/Information Services

Susan Sullivan, Executive Assistant to the Superintendent

Others present:

Thomas Pandiscio, Principal WRHS

Linda Lehans, The Landmark

Richard Halloran, Worcester Telegram & Gazette

Susan Staudaher, Sterling Meetinghouse News

Mark Ferguson, Chairman Holden Selectboard

James Jumonville, Holden Selectman

Mary Ann Brockelman, Holden

Donna Dominguez, Sterling

Melinda Johnson, Paxton

Ruth Briggs, Rutland

Tammy Tod, Rutland

Keith Murray, Sterling

Leo Bachant, Holden

David Gibbs, Sterling

Bonnie Shayler, Sterling

Chairman Duncan Leith called the meeting to order at 7:07 PM and distributed the Agenda for the meeting (attachment 1).

Chairman Leith opened the meeting to public comment.

The following members of the public spoke:

Keith Murray, Sterling, spoke in favor of a ballot vote and discussed financial figures (attachment 2).

Mark Ferguson, Chairman Holden Selectboard read and distributed a prepared statement (attachment 3).

Maureen Floryan, Holden, read a prepared statement (attachment 4).

Donna Dominguez, Sterling expressed concern because the Town Meeting is the Board of Selectmen’s choice. She also expressed concern that School Committee members are working against the plan. She questioned whose needs these members are addressing. She urged the Committee to work together for the good of the students to come.

Leo Bachant, Holden, urged the Committee to go with a ballot vote.

Chairman Leith distributed an email from Edith Morgan, Princeton, encouraging a ballot vote (attachment 5).

Chairman Leith closed the public session at 7:30 PM.

The Superintendent distributed correspondence from Leo McCabe, District counsel concerning the proper motions for either a town meeting or ballot vote (attachment 6).

Chairman Leith read a statement from Member Peter MacDonald (attachment 7).

Motion: That the vote of the Regional District School Committee passed on February 15, 2001 authorizing a borrowing of $81,695,000 for the high school project is hereby amended to read as follows: "Voted that the sum of $81,695,000 for the high school project be appropriated for the purpose of acquiring land and constructing a new high school facility, and for architectural, engineering and other costs related to the project, including the demolition of the existing high school facility, said land purchase being a portion of the premises owned by Weyman Lundquist, consisting of approximately twenty-two and sixteen one-hundredths (22.16) acres of undeveloped land and being a portion of the premises shown on Holden Assessors Map 129, Parcel 3 and parcel 13, which premises are contiguous to the present location of the Wachusett Regional High School; that this appropriation be raised by incurring debt by the issuance of bonds or notes under Chapter 462 of the Acts of 1977, Section 16 of Chapter 71 of the General Laws and Section 15 of the Amended Wachusett Regional School District Agreement and to that end the District Treasurer, with the approval of the Regional District School Committee, be authorized to issue bonds or notes therefore; that pursuant to Section 15.3 of the Amended Wachusett Regional School District Agreement it is hereby determined that the approval of said debt by the member towns shall be by vote taken in the same manner as provided for in Section 16(n) of Chapter 71 of the General laws by ballot referendum; and that the Superintendent is hereby authorized to enter into and execute all contracts necessary or material to such work and to act or do anything relative thereto." And that the School Committee should contact the town clerks to arrange for a ballot vote on Thursday, April 5, 2001 from noon to 8:00 PM in order to vote on the borrowing of $81,695,000 for the high school project.

(S. Jordan)

(K. Singh)

Chairman Leith reported that he had been asked if the eight hours of voting time could be split, four in the morning and four in the early evening. He spoke with District Counsel, Leo McCabe and he said that the law was clear that the eight hours had to be continuous.

Member Jane James read a prepared statement (attachment 8).

Member Kathleen Singh wanted to be on record that her support of having a ballot vote was not related to her desire to have two schools. She stated that she would support a ballot vote should a two-school proposal ever come before the voters.

The Superintendent asked to clarify some inaccuracies. This proposal is lower in cost to the individual towns than any of the elementary school projects. He reminded committee members of the difficulty in the scheduling of town meetings; the Committee would be at the whim of the Boards of Selectmen.

Vice-chairman John Rokicki asked why the words "not to exceed" were omitted from the motion from bond counsel. Since the Superintendent had just received this information he did not know why.

Roll call vote:

In favor:

Duncan Leith

John Rokicki

Kenneth Fensin

Kimberly Ferguson

Jeffrey Gibbs

Sherry Horeanopoulos

Sarah Jordan

David Lowenthal

Kelly Maxwell

Lorraine Neilan

Kathleen Singh

Opposed:

Paul Anderson

Jane James

John Nunnari

Rosemary Warren

Jeffrey Wentzell

(Motion passed 11-5)

Motion: Pending review and approval of bond counsel, to amend the previous motion by deleting the word "of" and adding the words "not to exceed" before each mention of $81,695,000.

(J. Rokicki)

(S. Horeanopoulos)

 

Roll call vote:

In favor:

Duncan Leith

John Rokicki

Paul Anderson

Kenneth Fensin

Kimberly Ferguson

Jeffrey Gibbs

Sherry Horeanopoulos

Sarah Jordan

David Lowenthal

Kelly Maxwell

Lorraine Neilan

Jane James

John Nunnari

Kathleen Singh

Rosemary Warren

Jeffrey Wentzell

(Motion passed unanimously)

Motion: To inform the Boards of Selectmen that they can add a debt exclusion question for the high school project to the warrant.

(J. Rokicki)

(S. Horeanopoulos)

Member Jeffrey Gibbs left the meeting at 8:43 PM

Roll call vote:

In favor:

Duncan Leith

John Rokicki

Paul Anderson

Kenneth Fensin

Kimberly Ferguson

Sherry Horeanopoulos

Sarah Jordan

David Lowenthal

Kelly Maxwell

Lorraine Neilan

Jane James

John Nunnari

Kathleen Singh

Rosemary Warren

Jeffrey Wentzell

(Motion passed unanimously)

Motion: To go into executive session for the purpose of discussing strategies for collective bargaining, not to return to public session

(J. Rokicki)

(S. Jordan)

Roll call vote:

In favor:

Duncan Leith

John Rokicki

Paul Anderson

Kenneth Fensin

Kimberly Ferguson

Sherry Horeanopoulos

Jane James

Sarah Jordan

David Lowenthal

Kelly Maxwell

Lorraine Neilan

John Nunnari

Kathleen Singh

Rosemary Warren

Jeffrey Wentzell

(Motion passed unanimously)

The Committee entered executive session at 8:45 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Alfred D. Tutela, Ph.D.

Superintendent of Schools

ADT:ss School Committee/Minutes