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 Tuesday, April 27, 2021 via Zoom.
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Meeting ID: 982 1820 5466
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Meeting ID: 982 1820 5466
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I. CALL TO ORDER – 6:00 p.m. – David Schoales, Board Chair
II. CONSENT AGENDA
• CLERK’S REPORT – Approval of Minutes – April 6, 2021
III. Public Comment on Non-agenda Items (10 minutes)
IV. ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT
• Presentation – Dummerston School
• Presentation – Green Street School
• Recovery Plan Update
• Morris/Gannon Training – August Dates
• End of Year Activities Schedule
V. FISCAL REPORT
• ESSER Update
• Projected FY ’21 Surplus (if any)
VI. COMMITTEE REPORTS
• Leadership Council Reports
• WSESD/WSESU Diversity/Equity Committee
• Finance Committee
• Personnel Committee
• Policy and Amendment Committee
• Programmatic and Performance Equity Committee
• Climate Crisis Task Force
• Communications Council
• Social Justice Committee
• Early Education
• WSESU Board
VII. UNFINISHED BUSINESS
A. Policy Review:
• D1 – Personnel Recruitment, Selection, Appointment and Background Checks – Updated – 2nd Reading
• E14 – Environmental Awareness and Responsibility – New – 2nd Reading
VIII. NEW BUSINESS
VIII. NEW BUSINESS
A. Academy School Project Prequalification Criteria and Advertisement – Action Needed
B. Head Start & Early Head Start Refunding Application – Action Needed
C. New Pre-Kindergarten Partnership Agreement – Action Needed
IX. Public Comment on Non-agenda Items (Continued)
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
TUESDAY, APRIL 6, 2021
REGULAR BOARD MEETING – 6:00PM
WSESD Board Members Present:
WSESD Board Members Absent:
WSESU Administrators Present: Andrew Skarzynski (Superintendent); Frank Rucker (Finance Director)
Media Present: Rich Melanson (BCTV)
Others Present: Wendy M. Levy (Board Recorder),
I. CALL TO ORDER
Chair DS called the meeting to order at 6:03pm.
DS announced that there is now a simplified web address for the Board’s Social Justice Commitment:
DS announced changes to the agenda:
• The item VI. Committee Reports, D. Reports/Updates, WSESD/WSESU Diversity/Equity Committee will occur after IV. Administrative Report, Presentation — BUHS Principal Steve Perrin.
• The item IX. Public Comment on Non-agenda Items (Continued) will occur if there are still members of the public who wish to speak at the close of item III. Public Comment on Nonagenda Items (10 minutes).
• The item VIII. New Business, A. Action on the Academy Project Design will occur after VI. Committee Reports, D. Reports/Updates, WSESD/WSESU Diversity/Equity Committee.
II. CONSENT AGENDA
– Clerk’s Report & Finances: Approval of Minutes from the March 16, 2021 meeting, and the warrants and payrolls as follows.
Warrants of March 3, 2021
Warrant No. 1256 in the amount of $ 74.19
Warrant No. 1260 in the amount of 3,594.65
Warrant No. 1261 in the amount of 1,630.33
Warrant No. 1262 in the amount of 57,269.87
Warrants of March 8, 2021
Warrant No. 1264 in the amount of $ 650.00
Warrant No. 1266 in the amount of 101,079.20
Warrant No. 1267 in the amount of 306.51
Warrant No. 1268 in the amount of 779,279.22
Warrants of March 15, 2021
Warrant No. 1269 in the amount of $ 389.50
Warrant No. 1275 in the amount of 3,311.66
Warrant No. 1276 in the amount of 531.08
Warrant No. 1277 in the amount of 138,943.01
Warrants of March 22, 2021
Warrant No. 1278 in the amount of $ 600.00
Warrant No. 1280 in the amount of 23,206.72
Warrant No. 1282 in the amount of 49,118.40
Warrants of March 29, 2021
Warrant No. 1284 in the amount of $ 1,200.00
Warrant No. 1285 in the amount of 772.24
Warrant No. 1286 in the amount of 1,007.00
Warrant No. 1290 in the amount of 875.75
Warrant No. 1292 in the amount of 6,000.00
Warrant No. 1293 in the amount of 94.30
Warrant No. 1294 in the amount of 65,495.44
February 26, 2021 $1,321,419.56
March 12, 2021 $1,265,767.31
March 26, 2021 $1,295,496.25
MOTION BY TN TO APPROVE THE MARCH 16, 2021 MINUTES; THE MARCH 3, 2021, MARCH 8, 2021, MARCH 15, 2021, MARCH 22, 2021, AND MARCH 29, 2021 WARRANTS; AND THE FEBRUARY 26, 2021, MARCH 12, 2021, AND MARCH 26, 2021 PAYROLLS. MG SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
No amendments or discussion.
III. PUBLIC COMMENT ON NON-AGENDA ITEMS (10 minutes)
Robin Morgan asked about the half-time position with the Diversity, Equity, and Social Justice Department. Superintendent Andy Skarzynski responded, and noted he had already responded to Robin’s question via email. He is looking for funding sources, and the position is funded by the Supervisory Union.
IV. ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT
Andy announced new hires for the Board’s consideration.
MOTION BY SM TO APPROVE ALISON PAQUETTE FOR THE OAK GROVE SCHOOL GRADE 1 TEACHER POSITION; KELSEY RABIDEAU FOR THE OAK GROVE SCHOOL GRADE 5 TEACHER POSITION; MAIRA ARTEAGA FOR THE GUILFORD CENTRAL SCHOOL KINDERGARTEN TEACHER POSITION; AND CYNTHIA NORDMEYER FOR THE BUHS SCHOOL COUNSELOR POSITION. JR SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
Andy announced resignations.
MOTION BY TN TO ACCEPT WITH REGRETS THE RESIGNATIONS OF CORY SORENSEN FROM THE GUILFORD CENTRAL SCHOOL GRADE 4 TEACHER POSITION; DARILYN BIRSE FROM THE ACADEMY SCHOOL GRADE 2 TEACHER POSITION; AND KEVIN ELL FROM THE GUILFORD CENTRAL SCHOOL PHYSICAL EDUCATION INSTRUCTOR POSITION. LA SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
– Presentation – BUHS Principal Steven Perrin
– Medical and Dental Care
Steve announced the BUHS School Nurse, Linda Rinder, worked with the Windham Dental Center, Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, and the United Way to provide dental visits for five students who needed them. Another clinic visit will happen in May. Steve noted the only cost to BUHS was to transport the students to the dental center.
Steve announced plans for additional dental care, and wellness appointments, at the BUHS campus. He thanked Nurse Rinder.
– Teaching Science During the Pandemic
Science Department teachers Michele Hood and Mike Auerbach presented on science teaching during the pandemic.
Mike spoke about the challenges with teaching science during the pandemic and some solutions he developed, including working with Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center (BEEC) on outdoor education programming. Mike shared a slide show about this, and noted he and Patti Smith at BEEC made a series of instructional videos for students.
Many Board members expressed their appreciation and praise for Mike’s presentation. Mike reminded the Board that he, and other teachers, are exhausted. The requirements of teaching during the pandemic have led to long days and weekends. DS thanked Mike for sharing this with the Board, because it is important for Board members to remember.
A discussion ensued about climate-change instruction in Mike’s classes, other classes in the Science Department, and other classes in other departments.
– The Mock Trial Club
Social Studies teachers Tessa Anders and Ashley Nadeau and two students presented on the club and its recent activity. They demonstrated part of a mock trial.
A discussion ensued on the club’s schedule, outreach, number of students participating, and whether issues of racial justice are incorporated into the mock trials.
Jody Normandeau asked Steve Perrin if Civics Class is part of the curriculum. Steve said it is not a dedicated class, but Tessa and Ashley discussed how they incorporate civics into all of their courses.
VI. COMMITTEE REPORTS
– WSESD/WSESU Diversity/Equity Committee
Diversity in Education Update
Mikaela Simms gave an update. Highlights included:
• There will be an end-of-the-year retreat for teacher-leaders. Because they are all vaccinated, it will likely be in-person.
• Affinity groups are meeting.
• This year’s plans for Diversity Day. The theme is “Justice for All.”
Teacher-leaders gave updates on the Diversity and Equity activities in their schools. They included:
• Tracy Binet-Perrin of Green Street School.
• Sandra Stark of Early Education Services.
• Mike Szostak of BUHS.
• Cory Sorensen of Guilford Central School.
The teacher-leaders praised Mikaela for her work and assistance.
Gillian Love commented on the need for the school district to provide ongoing support for BIPOC staff, not just during recruitment.
IV. ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT (Continued)
– Presentation – BUHS Principal Steven Perrin (continued)
– The BUHS Jazz Band Presentation
Instructor Steve Rice led the band in the performance of two songs, played live and video-streamed, while all band members, and Steve Rice, wore masks and ensured physical distancing.
Steve Rice pointed out the brass and wind instrument players’ special masks they use while playing, which are different from the ones they wear when they are not playing. He pointed out the masks that go over the bells of the students’ brass and wind instruments. He discussed how students safely empty their instruments’ spit valves during COVID: they open them over puppy pads.
A discussion ensued on the high quality of the performance, especially considering the students have to sit so far apart, and the audio quality is somewhat limited via video-stream.
A discussion ensued on the challenges of playing together during COVID, hearing each other, and how they are meeting those challenges.
A discussion ensued on the possibility of holding the annual Esteyville late-spring concert, and where it will occur.
VIII. NEW BUSINESS
A. Action on the Academy Project Design
Finance Director Frank Rucker shared a document—the timeline for the project—and reviewed the Board’s next action items.
– Design Plans
Diane Abate of Stevens & Associates shared documents showing the project’s design plans. She reviewed some of the work done at recent workshops, including the recommended changes and Board decisions, which included:
• The design lock on the schematic design for the room layouts
• The fire wall
• The construction type
• Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing components
• LED lighting
Diane summarized the five points for the Board to approve.
MOTION BY SM TO ACCEPT THE SCHEMATIC DESIGN AS PRESENTED AND AUTHORIZATION FOR THE DESIGN TEAM TO MOVE INTO DESIGN DEVELOPMENT (FINAL DESIGN) OF THE ACADEMY ADDITION / RENOVATION PROJECT. TM SECONDED.
A discussion ensued on the March 25 study committee meeting, which included engineers, architects, and project leaders. SM reported he attended, and it was thorough and wonderful.
Mary McLoughlin asked about ADA accessibility and egress from the new, proposed classrooms.
Diane Abate responded: yes, the new classrooms will have exits to the outdoors, and they must be ADA accessible.
VOTE ON THE DESIGN MOTION: MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY
– Bidder Qualification Process
Frank reviewed the process for the Board approving the bid. His recommendation: the Board should form a Selection Committee for the prequalification process, and it should include representatives from school administration, the Board, Stevens & Associates, and Building Green.
Diane discussed the role of Stevens & Associates in this part of the process, which includes working with the AIA documents, checking contractors’ references, and analyzing the contractors’ qualifications.
She noted this process will be fully transparent to the Board, and assured them that Stevens & Associates will be there every step of the way to help the Board select the lowest responsible bidder.
Frank reviewed the prescriptive State Board of Education rules on this process.
DS asked about the committee selection process. Frank noted it is advantageous for Board members to join this committee now so the process can progress in a timely manner.
MOTION BY AB TO COMPLY WITH STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION’S RULE 6300 SERIES FOR THE WSESD BOARD TO FORM A CONSTRUCTION BIDDER PREQUALIFICATION SELECTION COMMITTEE, TO MAKE A RECOMMENDATION TO THE BOARD FOR SELECTION OF BIDDERS TO PARTICIPATE IN THE ACADEMY SCHOOL ADDITION/RENOVATION PROJECT PREQUALIFICATION PROCESS AND, AFTER BIDS ARE RECEIVED, TO RECOMMEND SELECTION OF THE SUCCESSFUL BIDDER. LA SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
MOTION BY TN THAT THE PREQUALIFICATION AND BID SELECTION COMMITTEE CONSIST OF REPRESENTATIVES FROM STEVENS & ASSOCIATES, BUILDING GREEN, WSESD BOARD MEMBERS JACI REYNOLDS AND THOMAS NOLAN, AND THE BUSINESS ADMINISTRATOR. TM SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
B. Warning Article for May 11, 2021 Academy Project Financing
Frank shared a document with the proposed warning. He noted Barb Nowakowski has confirmed the polling locations with the Town Clerks. A discussion ensued on the location of the Putney vote, which is at the Putney Fire Station.
DS clarified the warning, and noted that it does not indicate that WSESD will necessarily borrow $2 million. Frank added he is looking into many grants to fund the project, and he expects the District will borrow less than $2 million.
MOTION BY LA TO APPROVE THE WARNING AS PRESENTED. AB SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
– Public Information Meeting
MOTION BY JR TO SCHEDULE THE PUBLIC INFORMATION MEETING FOR MAY 6, 2021, OVER ZOOM. AB SECONDED.
A discussion ensued. MG pointed out this date is when the Dummerston Leadership Council has its meeting. She asked if the meeting can begin at 7pm so the council members can attend both meetings.
There was no dissent.
TM reminded Board members that they have to sign the warning at the Central Office.
Jody Normandeau asked if this plan includes using the [former] Brattleboro Town School Board’s capital plan. DS said that during the merger, the capital plan was integrated into the District’s capital plan. He will look into the capital reserves from the former Brattleboro Town School Board.
VOTE ON THE MEETING MOTION: MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
C. Dummerston Biofuel Boiler Upgrade Project – Grant Award
Frank discussed the Windham Wood Heat initiative. The District was awarded a grant from this competitive program, and the grant funding will help pay for the boiler replacement with a biofuel system at the Dummerston School if the District pursues this method for fixing the boiler issue.
The grant requirement, said Frank, is that the boiler must be installed during the calendar year 2021.
He noted other schools in the District have had their boilers replaced with biofuel boilers. He said Efficiency Vermont may provide additional funding for the Dummerston School’s biofuel boiler, and it is likely the District will not need to borrow money for this project. It is part of the capital improvements plan, said Frank, and it will pay for itself because of the improved efficiency of the new boiler. In addition, moving this system off of fossil fuels complies with the Board’s climate-related commitment.
Jody Normandeau asked a series of questions about the environmental implications of switching to a wood-fueled boiler and whether research has been done to ensure its suitability. Frank responded and shared a feasibility study and report which addressed concerns such as emissions, efficiency, air quality, and fuel sources. TN noted he has heard similar concerns from other Dummerston residents. A discussion ensued on the merits of locally-sourced wood fuel for the boiler, especially as compared to continuing to use fossil fuels.
MOTION BY SM THAT THE WSESD BOARD PURSUE DEVELOPING THE BIOFUEL BOILER UPGRADE FOR THE DUMMERSTON SCHOOL, AND ACCEPT GRANTS AS THEY ARE AWARDED. MG SECONDED.
MG pointed out that the Dummerston School has one of the highest heating costs of all school buildings in the District.
VOTE ON BOILER MOTION: MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
D. Policy Review:
D1 – Personnel Recruitment, Selection, Appointment and Background Checks – Updated – 1st Reading
DS shared a document of the proposed policy and its proposed changes. A discussion ensued on the changes, and the process the Policy Committee used to determine them.
E14 – Environmental Awareness and Responsibility – New – 1st Reading
DS shared a document of the proposed policy and its proposed changes, and he detailed the process used to develop them.
DS announced the Board will vote on these policies at the next Board meeting.
VI. COMMITTEE REPORTS
A. Reconfiguration of Leadership Council Assignments
DS shared a document of the Leadership Council policies, and he focused his discussion on the membership section, which states that at least 50-percent of a Leadership Council should be comprised of community members. He said he will consult with Andy on this.
DS asked Board members if they want to change their Leadership Council assignments. DS asked if the Board wants to make it a practice to rotate their assignments, or retain consistency in their assignments. A discussion ensued on the relative merits of both options.
LA recommended Board members take some time to think about this. MG recommended the Board ask the Leadership Council members what they think about this. Gillian Love recommended a broad interpretation of “community members.” DS replied to Gillian: the way the policy is written allows for a broad interpretation. Ruby McAdoo, Chair of the Putney Leadership Council, recommended adjusting the yearly Leadership Council cycle to account for interruptions during the summer.
B. Reconfiguration of Committee Memberships
DS asked Board members if they would like to change their committees.
TM announced he is joining the Communications Committee.
JR announced she needs to resign from some committees. A discussion ensued on the process for resigning from committees.
DS noted that the only limit for Board members joining committees is that no more than five Board members can serve on any one committee because that would constitute quorum.
LA asked about the post-COVID status of committee meetings—whether online meetings will continue—and how that will affect participation. She noted she contacted the Secretary of State’s office about this, and was told this is a Legislative decision.
MG announced she is joining the Finance Committee.
C. Whether to Record all Committee and Leadership Council Meetings to Post on the Website
A discussion ensued on whether this is necessary because all committees and councils report to the Board; the implications for the District’s resources (time, labor, cost, server space, arrangements with BCTV) for recording and posting all meetings; and that having a skilled person taking minutes of the meetings is sufficient.
D. Reports/Updates (Continued)
– Communications Council – MG asked the Board to continue discussing Leadership Council organization and Board interaction.
– Leadership Councils
• BUHS – Steve Perrin gave his report. Highlights included: spring sports, reopening committees, parent forums, and new members joining soon.
• Green Street School – JR gave her report. Highlights included: establishing a good structure, preparations for fundraising programs.
• Dummerston School – MG gave her report. Highlights included: new members, outdoor play and learning spaces, art shows and celebrations.
• Guilford Central School – SM gave his report. Highlights included: the meeting was well attended, outdoor program.
• Putney Central School – Ruby gave her report. Highlights included: she sent a written report, communications engagement and values, the equity and inclusion book group, outdoor structures, praise for the Guilford Central School Leadership Council’s recent presentation on their outdoor learning.
Andy recommended that Leadership Councils give their updates once a month, and alternate that with committee reports, to reduce the length of Board meetings. There were no objections.
MOTION BY SM TO ENTER INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION AT 9:43PM UNDER 1 V.S.A. § 313 (a1A) TO DISCUSS CONTRACTS. MG SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
The Board invited Superintendent Andy Skarzynski into Executive Session.
The Board rose from Executive Session at 10:39pm.
MOTION BY MG TO ACCEPT THE ADMINISTRATION’S RECOMMENDATIONS AS PRESENTED. AB SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
X. PUBLIC COMMENT ON NON-AGENDA ITEMS
There was none.
MOTION BY AB TO ADJOURN. LA SECONDED. MOTION CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:41pm.
Respectfully 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.