WSESD Independent Budget Review Committee Meeting Agenda and Minutes

Independent Budget Review Committee

53 Green Street
Brattleboro, VT 05301


The Windham Southeast School District Independent Budget Review Committee
will meet at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 30 in the WRCC Cusick Conference
Room, 80 Atwood Street and via Zoom:

For Zoom Link – Refer to WSESD Finance Committee 11/30 Agenda


I. Call to Order

II. Attend Initial WSESD Finance Committee FY ’23 Budget Meeting

III. Other Business

Minutes of the meeting of the WSESD Budget Review committee 11/11/21 at 3:30
Members: Barbara Charkey, Maggie Foley, Casey Murrow (via Zoom), Kristina Naylor
Others: David Schoales WSESD Board Chair, Franz Reischman Former Brattleboro Budget Review
Committee Chair, David Levenbach (via Zoom)

Franz started off the meeting explaining the various Brattleboro budget review committee processes.

This committee historically reviewed three budgets: the Brattleboro Town, the Brattleboro Town Schoolboard, and BUHS. Franz explained the review process was done slightly differently based upon the size of the budget and the work done by the board. The School Budget Review historically concentrated on an explanation of the complex educational funding formula, and the size of the BUHS budget made it very difficult to review every budget line item. The review committee looked at the overall line items on the budget, and not every line item as was scrutinized. Franz recommended Dick DeGray as a citizen capable of dissecting a complex school budget to the precise line item.

The committee members briefly spoke about their experience in budget reviews-Kristina N is a small business manager/owner and former WSESD schoolboard member. Maggie works with nonprofit budgets and federal grant writing and understands the public-school budget and personnel through her mother who worked in the WSESU Central Office. Barbara Charkey has a background in accounting and higher education.

Kristina discussed a possibility for future budget committee work based on a quick discussion with the WSESD Programmatic and Performance Equity Committee Chair. It might be helpful to the board to have the committee compare each school’s funding for offering programming which goes beyond the state requirements-for example, after-care programs. Maggie asked about PPE committee mission, which is “monitor school equity and performance and work with district staff to develop recommendations to increase equity and performance through the district.”

Maggie also asked about the ESSR funding. David Schoales explained the applications had not been submitted, so it was unclear if this funding would land in the FY23 budget.

Franz expressed concerns about the timing of the committee forming and recommended that the committee works best when it follows the process from the start. David explained the budget process was only in the preliminary stages. The committee and David spoke about the best process for following the budget process and the WSESD Finance Committee. David spoke about the importance of the whole board having a solid understanding of the budget.

Franz spoke about the importance of this committee to increasing trust within the new district.

David Levenbach added to Franz’s outline of the Brattleboro Budget Review committee’s historical work, explaining the board often divided up the work, rather than working on everything together. He also felt the new committee could help voters understand special items and make recommendations-such as a financial explanation of the turf athletic field. This would not undermine the schoolboard or administration and David also encouraged the board to get information from WSESD administration.

David Levenbach then spoke about the challenge and opportunity of this new committee, and the historic apprehension of administrations when the budget review committees were started, but the committees became respected over time and welcomed. Maggie asked for guidance about how this committee could be as successful both within the committee and within the administration. Franz spoke to the challenge of finding and retaining good people. Franz said it was helpful to allow any committee who disagreed with a committee position to include their dissenting opinion in the final report.

The committee agreed to have Kristina set up a meeting with the WSESD Finance Committee and Frank to start the process. David asked about positions and the board agreed to rotate note-taking functions.

Kristina agreed to write the minutes for this first meeting. Maggie agreed to do the next meeting and Barbara the third. Kristina agreed to act as chair where necessary-such as warning meetings. The board discussed used of Robert’s rules-Franz spoke in favor of Robert’s and Kristina concurred, the board decided to revisit Robert’s rules for small boards later.

Kristina asked David if budget discussions at the full board level could be done early in the agenda.

The committee adjourned at 5:10.

Respectfully submitted by Kristina Naylor.

Leave a Reply