WINDHAM SOUTHEAST SCHOOL DISTRICT
53 Green Street
Brattleboro, VT 05301
NOTICE OF BOARD MEETING
The Windham Southeast School District Board will meet remotely at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 2, 2020 via Zoom:
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Meeting ID: 925 4583 8294
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I. CALL TO ORDER – 6:00 p.m. – David Schoales, Board Chair
II. RECOGNITION OF VISITORS
• Attorney Pietro Lynn – Open Meeting Law
III. CLERK’S REPORT – Approval of Minutes – August 19, 2020
V. COMMITTEE REPORTS
• Finance Committee
• Personnel Committee
• Policy and Amendment Committee
• Programmatic and Performance Equity Committee
• Climate Crisis Task Force
• Communications Council
• Social Justice Committee
• WSESU Board
• Council Reports
Warrants of June 29, 2020
Warrant No. 1410 in the amount of $ 1,679.00
Warrant No. 1411 in the amount of 2,500.00
Warrant No. 1412 in the amount of 124,976.76
Warrant No. 1414 in the amount of 20,170.23
Warrant No. 1417 in the amount of 116,291.28
Warrants of July 7, 2020
Warrant No. 1418 in the amount of $ 37,495.50
Warrant No. 1419 in the amount of 74,103.00
Warrant No. 1420 in the amount of 611.50
Warrant No. 1421 in the amount of 9,232.58
Warrant No. 1422 in the amount of 410.72
Warrant No. 1423 in the amount of 24,476.61
Warrant No. 1001 in the amount of 35,825.00
Warrant No. 1002 in the amount of 19,030.02
Warrant No. 1003 in the amount of 590.00
Warrant No. 1005 in the amount of 6,965.00
Warrant No. 1006 in the amount of 2,485.00
Warrant of July 20, 2020
Warrant No. 1009 in the amount of $ 6,015.84
Warrant No. 1011 in the amount of 2,250.00
Warrant No. 1012 in the amount of 746,741.50
Warrant No. 1013 in the amount of 6,830.00
Warrant No. 1016 in the amount of 2,900.00
Warrant No. 1017 in the amount of 4,072.05
Warrant No. 1018 in the amount of 682.85
Warrant No. 1019 in the amount of 38,098.50
Warrant No. 1020 in the amount of 851.00
Warrant No. 1021 in the amount of 86,620.22
Warrant of July 27, 2020
Warrant No. 1023 in the amount of $ 44,690.44
Warrant No. 1024 in the amount of 1,200.00
Warrant No. 1027 in the amount of 55,016.12
Warrant No. 1028 in the amount of 49,181.00
Warrant No. 1029 in the amount of 1,000.00
Warrant No. 1030 in the amount of 20,509.30
Warrant of August 3, 2020
Warrant No. 1031 in the amount of $ 129.98
Warrant No. 1035 in the amount of 5,009.73
Warrant No. 1036 in the amount of 757,156.29
Warrant of August 10, 2020
Warrant No. 1039 in the amount of $ 5,385.84
Warrant No. 1040 in the amount of 450.00
Warrant No. 1041 in the amount of 34,218.14
Warrant of August 17, 2020
Warrant No. 1045 in the amount of $281,585.35
Warrant of August 24, 2020
Warrant No. 1047 in the amount of $ 300.00
Warrant No. 1049 in the amount of 1,050.00
Warrant No. 1050 in the amount of 25,210.00
Warrant No. 1051 in the amount of 136,402.57
July 3, 2020 $1,136,699.60
July 17, 2020 $1,137,899.92
July 31, 2020 $ 937,488.19
August 14, 2020 $1,163,603.69
VII. ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT
VIII. FISCAL REPORT
IX. UNFINISHED BUSINESS
X. NEW BUSINESS
A. Request from Putney Selectboard to park vehicles in the circular driveway in the front of Putney Central School in order to more safely paint a BLM sign on the road surface.
XI. Public Comment on Non-agenda Items
XII. EXECUTIVE SESSION – VSA Title 1 §313(a)(1)(A) – Contracts
EXECUTIVE SESSION (If Needed)
Note: These proposed minutes should be considered preliminary until they are approved by the
board at a future meeting.
WINDHAM SOUTHEAST SCHOOL DISTRICT (WSESD) BOARD
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 19, 2020
REGULAR BOARD MEETING – 6:00PM
WSESD Board Members Present: David Schoales, Chair (DS); Liz Adams (LA); Anne Beekman (AB); Tim Maciel (TM); Thomas Nolan (TN); Jaci Reynolds (JR); Kelly Young (KY)
WSESU Administrators Present: Andrew Skarzynski (Superintendent), Frank Rucker (Finance Director)
Media Present: Rich Melanson (BCTV), Kevin O’Connor (VTDigger)
Others Present: Ana Ocasio, Alex Rowe, Amy Sprague, Bakers, Beth Bristol, Chelsea Wiehl, Chris Sawyer, Claire, Cory Sorensen, Crista Yagjian, Dan Brown, Deb Coombs, Eli Gould, Ellen Strong, Ellen Tumavicus, Erin Hilow, Gillian Lucero-Love, Henry Z, Herve Pelletier, Janaki Natarajan, Jody Normandeau, John Gagnon, Julianne Eagan, Junie Pereira, Kate O’Connor, Katie Shaller, Kayla, KConway, Keith Lyman, Kerry Amidon, Kiersten McKenney, Kristie, Kristina Naylor, Kurt Daims, Liana Moskowitz, Lorie Cartwright, Mark Speno, Mary Gannon, Mary Kaufmann, Mary S, Marybeth Porter, Maureen Parzych, Mikaela Simms, Mike Szostak, Molly Stoner, Nancy Wiese, Nina Kunimoto, Paul Smith, Renee Baker, Rick Mills, Ricky Davidson, Robert Burch, Robin Macy, Robin Morgan, Rotina Gong, Ruby McAdoo, Shannon Kelly, Stacey Frazer, Tara O’Brien, Wendy M. Levy, Woody,
I. CALL TO ORDER
Chair DS called the meeting to order at 6:06pm and reviewed procedures for public comment.
III. CLERK’S REPORT
MOTION BY TN TO APPROVE THE MINUTES FROM THE MEETINGS OF JULY 15, JULY 27, AUGUST 5, AND AUGUST 6. LA SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED 6-0.
DS announced communications will be addressed later in the meeting.
II. RECOGNITION OF VISITORS
AB introduced the Ruth Barton Vermont Citizenship Award, explained her reason for creating it, detailed the process, and thanked those who helped her develop it. AB spoke at length about Barton’s qualities as a person in general, and as a long-time school board member. AB noted that her tradition of moving to adjourn meetings, and the specific language she uses, was inspired by Barton.
Other board members, sitting and former, and members of the public, spoke about Barton’s dedication to the community and specifically, its children, and detailed her many qualities.
Plans to honor Barton include a bench placed on the BUHS/BAMS campus, to be designed and built by WRCC students, and a monetary award to a student who embodies Barton’s qualities.
V. COMMITTEE REPORTS
SM reported this committee has not met, and will likely meet on September 1st or 2nd.
KY was absent.
POLICY AND AMENDMENTS
DS reported this committee has not met.
PROGRAMMATIC AND PERFORMANCE EQUITY COMMITTEE
EMK was absent. DS announced the board will present the Title IX findings at the October 21 meeting.
CLIMATE CRISIS TASK FORCE
DS shared a report, and announced the committee will give a presentation on the report at the October 7 meeting. TN gave an overview of the report, including five main points addressed in it, and noted the committee’s next meeting is September 15.
MG was absent. Robin Morgan spoke about recent council meetings and shared their progress, including outreach ideas, an email list, ways to collect anonymous commentary, and a social media presence for the board. DS said the board will discuss this in detail in October.
MOTION BY LA TO APPROVE THE CREATION, BY THE COMMUNICATIONS COUNCIL MEMBERS, OF A WSESD BOARD PRESENCE ON SOCIAL MEDIA. JR SECONDED.
MOTION CARRIED 6-0.
DIVERSITY AND EQUITY COMMITTEE
TN announced this committee will meet on August 24. He pointed out the hiring recommendation: four questions to ask before approving new hires. All of them focus on BIPOC applicants and hires. A discussion ensued.
That board hasn’t met.
LEADERSHIP COUNCIL (LC) REPORTS
DS noted the October 27 agenda includes a deep discussion about LC protocols.
SM reported the Guilford LC met on August 14. There were 11 attendees, the meeting was actionpacked, they discussed the climate change document, and Principal John Gagnon spoke about reopening, noting 44% of students were planning to be fully remote, which is the largest figure in the district.
TM reported the Oak Grove LC met and the conversation focused on building a virtual community, and how to include and support high-risk/vulnerable students, and that Principal Mary Kaufmann is working on a video presentation on school opening. They also discussed what to do if a student contracts COVID.
Ruby McAdoo of the Putney Central School LC reported at their recent meeting they discussed school opening—for which Principal Herve Pelletier provided information, the diversity and equity community book group, LC discretionary funds, and developing a mission and vision statement.
Ricky Davidson of the BUHS LC reported this LC has met every other week this summer, and they have discussed school opening, bringing more underrepresented people into the LC, and forming a Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) for BUHS.
VI. ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT
Superintendent Andy Skarzynski gave a report that mostly focused on school opening. Highlights included:
• A continuity-of-learning staff forum on August 20.
• How the district’s staff will support its most vulnerable populations.
• The website includes a lot of information, including a bus registration form, which is necessary to plan for the safe transport of students, and notices about meals.
• A family reopening guidebook is coming soon.
• Approximately 46 staff requested some remote accommodations, and the district can meet most of them.
• 589 students requested some form of remote learning.
• How to match needs within a building, the logistics for meeting remote needs, and the challenges of doing so in small schools. One solution is to partner schools, which helps with economies-of-scale, district coherence, and better professional development.
• COVID funding helped establish a team of teacher-leaders to help provide staff coaching and support.
• The model for Special Education continues to evolve.
• Andy is working with the VT Principals’ Association on fall sports. He discussed possible parameters for practices and games, for spectators and participants. TN shared his serious concerns with safety. A discussion ensued.
• TM asked about other extra-curriculars, like band and theater. A discussion ensued.
• LA reminded her colleagues and the public that COVID is still present in Brattleboro and Putney.
• LA asked about Putney Central School’s challenges with hybrid/remote learners and staffing. A discussion ensued.
IV. FINANCIAL STABILITY
Frank Rucker gave a report. Highlights included:
• He will regularly send reports.
• The different categories of CARES funding the district is seeking, especially for upgrades to the schools’ ventilation systems.
• Frank has identified, to date, $1million in COVID-related expenses incurred by the district. He’s working with state officials on getting this money reimbursed, and noted it’s imminent.
• He’s submitting fiscal data collection to the state this week. WSESD will end the year in a favorable position against the budget.
• DS asked about spring COVID-related costs.
IX. NEW BUSINESS
C. Ventilation Upgrade Projects
Frank Rucker gave an update on the ventilation project. Highlights included:
It includes planned improvements that were discussed earlier this year, but with COVID, they are accelerating the project.
Funding, community and industry partners, details of the project, and air quality standards.
D. Dummerston Backup Boiler Replacement Project
Frank Rucker reported on the challenges with the Dummerston School’s boiler, and the need to install a backup before the winter. He also noted how it relates to the district’s plans to switch all boilers to biofuel: it’s not feasible to install a new biofuel boiler in Dummerston before it gets cold. He said this January the bidding process and planning will commence on making this change, but there’s an immediate need to provide the school with a working boiler.
MOTION BY SM TO AUTHORIZE FRANK RUCKER TO PROCEED WITH THE INSTALLATION OF A BACKUP BOILER FOR THE DUMMERSTON SCHOOL, AND TO DEVELOP A PROPOSAL FOR A BIOFUEL SYSTEM. AB SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED 6-0.
SM noted the Dummerston School has the largest fossil fuel consumption in the district. This proposal will help resolve that.
A. Pre-K Partnership Agreements
Andy read a list of the schools included in the agreement. Paul Smith noted it’s a great arrangement.
MOTION BY AB TO APPROVE THE PRE-K PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENTS AS PRESENTED. LA SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED 6-0.
E. Diversity, Equity, and Social Justice Committee Report
A lengthy discussion ensued on the report, introduced by Mikaela Simms, who discussed the report, its history, and its effectiveness so far. Many board members, district staff, and the public spoke in favor of the report and its goals, they noted the immense need, and some shared personal stories that supported and confirmed the needs expressed in the report. DS noted there will be more discussion of this report in an October board meeting.
VI. ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT (CONTINUED)
Andy Skarzynski announced a new hire and sought the board’s approval. DS, noting questions about whether the relevant position is supposed to be filled, tabled the item for two weeks.
IX. NEW BUSINESS (CONTINUED)
F. Legislative Testimony Encouraging Reduction of Student Days in FY 21 Calendar to Enable More PD Days
DS said the board’s approval of this item will allow more staff professional development days, especially to work on the Diversity, Equity, and Social Justice report’s goals. He noted other school board chairs across the state support this.
KY agreed, and pointed out it would give the district more flexibility, even if they don’t end up reducing the student days. Board members, district staff and administration, and members of the public spoke in favor of this proposal. Mikaela Simms noted the reduction doesn’t necessarily mean a loss for students; staff can be creative about developing activities for students outside of classroom time. SM said Mikaela’s statement convinced him to support this proposal. DS asked everyone to contact their lobbyists and legislators to support this.
MOTION BY AB TO AUTHORIZE DAVID SCHOALES TO ADVOCATE TO THE LEGISLATURE FOR FLEXIBILITY IN REDUCED SCHOOL DAYS FOR THE YEAR. LA SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED 7-0.
X. PUBLIC COMMENT ON NON-AGENDA ITEMS
Ruby McAdoo said she emailed DS and LA about Governor Scott’s announcement on expanded healthcare and the associated funding being made available. She is a part of Putney Mutual Aid, and they have been discussing ways to serve the community, including after-school-care programming for remote/hybrid children. This program, though, would need integrated school involvement, she said.
She also noted the new funding will go fast. She’d like the board to establish a committee to address childcare specific to COVID and remote/hybrid needs, and she doesn’t want to add this to Principal Herve Pelletier’s already-large set of responsibilities. Ruby noted there are plans for after-school care in Putney, and this concerns her. She asked the board to please consider adding this as an agenda item.
Andy said he thought this funding was for private entities, not public schools, and that Finance Director Frank Rucker is on top of possible district funding sources.
Tara Castine expressed her concerns about students with IEPs and 504s, the hybrid model, and sharing teachers with other schools in the district. She’s concerned that other teachers will be unfamiliar with her children. She’s also concerned about contamination and disinfection of shared space, and communication about risks. DS asked her to talk to her children’s school principal.
Kevin O’Connor, reporter with VTDigger, asked if there were plans to change the name of the BUHS Colonels. DS said there were no immediate plans, and to please spread the word.
THE BOARD ENTERED INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION UNDER 1 VSA 313 AT 9:13PM TO DISCUSS TWO MATTERS: PERSONNEL, AND A STUDENT. MOTION TO ENTER MADE BY DS. TN SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED 7-0.
The board invited Andy Skarzynski to join.
The board rose from Executive Session at 9:35pm and took no action.
MOTION BY AB TO ADJOURN AT 9:37PM. SM SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED 6-0.
Submitted by Wendy M. Levy from minutes taken by Wendy M. Levy
This represents my understanding of the above dated meeting. If you have any changes, please submit them at the next board meeting.