Note: These proposed minutes should be considered preliminary until they are approved by the
board at a future meeting.
WINDHAM SOUTHEAST SCHOOL DISTRICT (WSESD) FINANCE COMMITTEE
TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 2022
REGULAR MEETING – 4:30PM
HYBRID MEETING: WRCC CUSICK CONFERENCE ROOM & ZOOM
WSESD Finance Committee Members Present: Chairperson Shaun Murphy (SM), Michelle Luetjen Green (MG)
WSESU/SD Administrators Present: WSESU Business Administrator Frank Rucker; Interim Superintendent Mark Speno
Others Present: Rep. Emilie Kornheiser, Rep. Sara Coffey, Kerry Amidon, Kelly Young (WSESD
Board Member), Anne Beekman (WSESD Board Member), Tim Maciel (WSESD Board Member)
Please note: Because of Zoom’s attendance format, this attendance record may be incomplete.
CALL TO ORDER:
The call-to-order was not captured in the recording. It is unknown if it occurred.
IV. UPDATE ON DISCUSSIONS RELATED TO THE TASK FORCE ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PUPIL WEIGHTING FACTORS REPORT
Frank Rucker introduced Reps. Emilie Kornheiser and Sara Coffey, who were there to discuss Act 59 and S287.
Rep. Kornheiser shared and reviewed a document, “Educational Finance Reform 2021 Act 59 and S287: Ensure All Public School Students Have Equitable Access to Educational Opportunities.”
• The House passed Act 59 in 2021. They are now onto the next steps for S287.
• The task force had a lot to do. It was a very broad legislative mandate.
• A review of the core values guiding the task force’s work.
• A summary of the two options for improving cost equity—pupil weighing, and cost equity payments—and the details, the science behind them, their components and possible implications, and what they both entail.
• How this bill will affect WSESD and why.
• One notable change is how the Legislature is counting students living in poverty: the new system is simplified and relies more on reporting from Medicaid and Dr. Dynosaur, which are the most accurate methods for measuring poverty in the district.
• There will be merger support grants.
• It will include ways to ease into any changes.
• There will be a comprehensive evaluation mechanism to assess whether these changes are working.
• A review of the pros and cons of each option for improving cost equity.
• The proposal will likely bring long-term improvements for WSESD, but not huge immediate fiscal gains.
• A review of what the weights do, and how they affect one another.
• An explanation of Direct Certification and how it will affect WSESD.
• The tax-rate implications for WSESD, and an acknowledgement that taxes in the district will probably go up.
SM said he was disappointed the education tax rate will go up.
A discussion ensued on how ESSER affects this bill’s implications, and students recovering from the pandemic.
A discussion ensued on education quality standards, the work necessary to determine those standards, the rules to determine the standards at the state level, and how it will affect the Legislature’s work on evaluating these reforms.
Rep. Coffey opened the discussion up to questions.
Interim Superintendent Mark Speno said he supports continued innovation in programs and academic supports, and he questioned how these reforms can be evaluated over a long enough period of time.
Frank agreed with Mark.
Rep. Kornheiser said she and Rep. Coffey are on the agenda for the full Board to discuss these reforms in two weeks. She asked interested parties to contact her with questions before then.
Reps. Kornheiser and Coffey left the meeting.
III. CAPITAL PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION UPDATE (BUHS HVAC MECHANICAL/CONTROL SYSTEMS BID RESPONSES)
Frank Rucker reviewed the updates to the project. Highlights included:
• For the mechanical part of the project, Frank had hoped to receive five bids, but he received one, from B.G. Mechanical, for $473,860.
• It is close to the budgeted amount.
• Frank recommended awarding this bid; he noted this company has done other HVAC work for the District.
Anne Beekman joined the meeting.
MOTION BY SM TO RECOMMEND TO THE FULL BOARD B.G. MECHANICAL FOR THE VENTILATION ONGOING PROJECTS AT BUHS. MOTION WAS NOT SECONDED. MOTION FAILED.
Frank noted this project was approved by the Board as part of the Capital Plan, and the District has to get the Agency of Education’s approval for it.
• Frank solicited five bids and received one, which is not a surprise because of the current competitive environment.
• The sole bid came from CTI, for $603,284.
• The district has worked with CTI before.
them at the next Finance Committee meeting.