Lyme Elementary School
approved as is, 9/28/17
Board Members Present: Elizabeth Glenshaw, Hayes Greenway, Heidi Lange, Sam Levey, Pinky Tullar, Alicia Willette. Administrators: Jeff Valence, Elise Foxall, Miki McGee, Janet Mitchell; 10 public attendees. Recorded by Roger Lohr
1. Call to Order The meeting was called to order at 7:03 p.m. by Board Chair Elizabeth Glenshaw.
2. Public Comments
A member of the public read a statement encouraging the Board to engage with stakeholders on the kindergarten issues. He requested more timely information and explanation about why the Kinderforest program was being proposed. He also made statements regarding the standardized assessment results for Lyme students, questioned the need for a focus on science, parent involvement, and fairness related to the K-Plus program. He also made some recommendations regarding the kinderforest program such as scheduling it on Saturdays.
3. Agenda Review
The Kinderforest Program and High School Choice discussion topics were moved earlier in the meeting.
4. Business Requiring Discussion
A. Kinderforest Program
Documents were distributed to the Board members and a presentation about the proposed Kinderforest program was given. The program would run on Fridays 12:30 – 3:00 PM and incorporated Place Based Education and collaborative partnerships with other organizations such as the Four winds Nature Institute. The details and benefits of PBE were provided and sample units were discussed. This was considered by the staff as innovative programming that would augment kindergarten and provide an emphasis on inquiry-based science as well as get the students outdoors. Superintendent Valence solicited and raised private funds to cover the program costs. Now that that was completed it the remaining details of the program would be worked out. Some discussion surrounding resoling the remaining questions insured such the role of parent chaperones for the Kinderforest program and whether the program would be held every Friday. It was reemphasized that the program was intended as an academic program rather than to provide daycare. The Board would be asked to consider a motion later in the agenda on the program for liability coverage and equal access.
B. High School Determination in Lyme
A document was distributed regarding an analysis to evaluate the impact of high school choice versus designation in Lyme in response to a citizen’s presentation to the town’s selectmen. As part of this process the school had its policies surrounding HS choice reviewed again by its lawyers it determination was that the existing policies that guide this issue and the policies comply with state laws and legal counsel. Due to changing laws and recently passed legislation the school HS Committee has scheduled a review of its policy to account for these changes in legislation.
Comparative charts of the high school costs with as Hanover, Thetford, St. Johnsbury, and Rivendell were discussed. These charts reviewed price comparisons and scenarios in order to determine if the district would save funds under different conditions or by limiting school choice as suggested by the community member. Additionally, a hypothetical comparison of schools incorporating a sample cohort with special education costs was discussed. It was stated that the variance of special education situations (Category 1, 2 or 3) ranging from, for example, reading difficulties to more significant IEP services to out-of-district placements. Discussion of the variation of related costs made predicting future costs dificult and the high schools have different policies for covering different levels of special education costs depending on a number of issues such as existing staff and the level of needs.
The Board also discussed the St. Johnsbury Academy letter of agreement semantics. There is an effort to tighten the language in the agreement to reflect the verbal and historical understanding of terms of enrollment. There also was discussion of why students select the respective schools (majority in Hanover (~50%) with groups in Thetford (~25%) and St. Johnsbury (~25%)), which is often based on school climate, school culture and the students’ personal preferences. It was suggested that schools be approached for volume discounts when there is a large number of Lyme students attending a specific high school. It was explained that these conversations were underway. It was reflected in the analysis that distributing students, specifically those who may require additional services, at various high schools was the least costly method due to reducing the threshold costs of requiring additional personnel as well as differences in policies, tuitions and special education charges.
The Board decided that the Policy Committee would review the language of the high school policy regarding eligible high schools. Board member Sam Levey expressed appreciation for the significant work and time that went into the analysis by the Administration, and hoped that it clarified some of the questions raised by the community member, Jules McCutcheon.
5. Business Requiring Action
A. Minutes Approvals
The Board decided to table the approval of the June 22, 2017 meeting minutes. Changes to the document were noted including removal of the word “director” in the item 5A motion; adding Heidi Lange to the attendee roster.
A motion was made and seconded (Tullar, Willette) to approve an amendment to the Lyme School Board meeting minutes of the May 25, 2017. The motion was approved 6-0-0
The amendment on the May 25, 2017 Board meeting minutes was on item 8A on Food Service in the 2nd paragraph, 2nd sentence that “there was an increase in the number of meals sold.”
There was a request to attach specific proposals submitted by Jules McCutcheon to the March 22, 2017 Lyme School Board meeting minutes. The Board considered the request and there was concern that the document submitted at the August 24, 2017 meeting may have been different than the one presented to the Board on March 22. Board member Sam Levey explained the discrimination and legal issues associated with the tuition cap suggestion and he volunteered to draft semantics on the high school choice issue as well as language that summarized the points presented by Mrs. McCutcheon. The Board tabled the request to attach the proposal to the March 22 minutes.
B. Kinderforest Program
The Board discussed some of the logistical questions of coordination of the K-Plus program with the proposed Kinderforest program, which is an adjunct school program that was privately funded. In order to address some of these issues, additional staff and/or adult chaperones may be be needed for the Kinderforest program on Fridays. It may be that if there are not enough adult chaperones to maintain the proper ratio of adults to students, then the students would stay inside rather than go outside in the field. The Board discussed that the program would be similar to a field trip and that equal access for special education students could be covered as special education expense as it would be for other qualifying extracurricular program.
A motion was made and seconded (Levey, Greenway) to approve program liability and equal access to the proposed Kinderforest program at the Lyme School. The motion was approved 6-0-0.
C. Advisor Program
Superintendent Valence explained the advisor program for middle school students with Percy Hill each Friday. The program was supported by the Wellness Committee as a proactive way for students to develop effective communication skills, conflict resolution skills and maintain a positive and respectful community within the middle school. The cost of the program ranges between ~ $6-8,000 paid for out of the Rural Schools Grant range of cost is a result of the actual number of Fridays the MS can meet due to snow days, special events etc. The board expressed its support of the program.
D. Policy JGCE-2
It was recommended that the first reading of this policy be tabled for a future meeting.
E. Policy GBAF - Substitute Teachers
The Policy GBAF - Substitute Teachers was distributed and reviewed. It was updated for long term substitutes so they can be eligible for Heath care at their cost and salaries can reflect to a limited degree the experience of candidates Superintendent Valence explained the need for the updated policy.
A motion was made and seconded (Greenway, Willette) to approve Policy GBAF - Substitute Teachers as submitted. The motion was approved 6-0-0.
6. Communications and Reports
A. Financial Update
A year-end financial report will be brought to the next Board meeting. A document was distributed showing the Audited Year-End Fund Balance at $52,222.91 and the balances of the funds: Retirement $10,000; High School $25,000; Special Education $17,222.91.
B. Substitute Pay
The Board had previously discussed raising the substitute daily pay to $85.00 and offering a bonus for a certain number of days per year to encourage participation. The Personnel Committee will finalize a recommendation for the Board to consider.
C. Board Retreat
It was decided to hold the Retreat on the same day as the September 28 Board meeting and begin it the regular meeting at 4:00 PM. Topics for the Retreat will be considered.
The Board signed the Lyme School District manifests.
7. Non Public Session
A motion was made and seconded (Levey, Greenway) to enter nonpublic session in accordance with RSA 91-A3 II. (b and c) for discussion of matters relating to hiring and personnel. The motion was approved 6-0-0. At 10:11 PM the roll call was conducted and the Lyme School Board entered nonpublic session.
The public session was reconvened at 10:53 PM.
8. Business Requiring Action continued
A motion was made and seconded (Levey, Lange) to elect the following candidates for positions at the Lyme School for the 2017-18 school year:
Thomas Chapin as .25 FTE LS General Music; Damaris Tyler as .25 FTE MS Band; Marty Smith as .5 FTE SPED clerk; Jack Palmer as HS 1:1 aide; Steven Smith MS Language Arts Humanities; and Judy Russell as .25 FTE 7th grade LA. The motion was approved 6-0-0.
A motion was made and seconded (Greenway, Lange) to adjourn the meeting at 10:55 PM. The motion was approved 6-0-0.
Lyme School District
August 23, 2017
approved as is, 9/28/17
At approximately 10:11 pm, the Lyme School Board voted to enter non-public session in accordance with RSA 91-A3 (II. (a) the dismissal, promotion, compensation, disciplining of an employee, or the investigation of charges against him or her, & (c)) for matters which, if discussed in public, would likely affect adversely the reputation of any person, other than a member of the Board. Present were Valence, Foxall, McGee, Mitchell, Greenway, Levey, Glenshaw, Willette, Lange, and Tullar.
The board discussed personnel issues relating to sick leave, compensation and insurance. Board also discussed Special education Aid.
The School Board returned to public session at approximately 10:53 pm. Motion to come out of non-public session was made by Levey and seconded by Lange. The Board voted in the affirmative. No other action was taken in non-public session.