Lyme Elementary School
approved as is, 10/27/16
Board Members Present: Jay Davis, Elizabeth Glenshaw, Heidi Lange, Sam Levey, Paul Mayo, Steve Toulmin, Alicia Willette. Staff Members Present: Jeff Valence, Mike Harris, Skip Pendleton, Bonnie Cornell. Recorded by R. Lohr
1. Call to Order
Chair Glenshaw called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM.
2. Agenda Review
The agenda was rearranged so the full day kindergarten discussion would occur after the other meeting business.
3. Business Requiring Action
A. Approval of Minutes
A motion was made and seconded (Sam Levey, Jay Davis) to approve the Lyme School Board regular meeting minutes for August 30, 2016 as submitted and amended. The motion passed unanimously. The change in item 4B was to replace the bolded sentence (4th) with “There was Board discussion regarding the expectation that there would be a warrant article on the full day kindergarten issue and whether the Board would file such an article.”
B. 403B Program
A motion was made and seconded (Heidi Lange, Jay Davis) to authorize the Lyme School District Superintendent to execute an amended retirement plan. The motion passed unanimously.
C. Two-Year Insurance Rate
Superintendent Harris explained the Primex insurance agreement on property and liability coverage, which was offered for a two-year period that would provide a maximum of 9% increase on the premiums and on workers compensation there would be a maximum of 10% increase. These increases would be for each of the two years, respectively. It was suggested that it is likely that the increases will be lower than the maximum offered by Primex. There are other insurance companies available, too. The issue was tabled for consideration next month.
D. Tuition Rate
Principal Valence stated that Lyme School has accepted a student in kindergarten and there is interest for an additional tuition student to enter the third grade. He suggested that the Board consider changing the tuition rate to be competitive with other schools rather than based on per pupil cost and he recommended the rate be $16-17,000 per tuition student. It had been suggested at the Board Retreat that the Lyme School pursue tuition students in grades where there was available space. The principal gave a historical review of the accepting tuition students at the Lyme School. It was decided to table the discussion.
4. Communications and Reports
A. Principal Report
Principal Valence has collected some grant funds and there are some additional donations that are pending. Two of the grants are for Farm-to-Table and science projects. Currently there is not a formal fundraising plan but efforts have been made to reach out to some potential donors and progress is being made.
B. Superintendent Report
The revenues are up with more state aid than projected but less Catastrophic Aid. Lyme School will receive another $23,000 small rural school grant this year and there was tuition included for one kindergarten student. Expenses are down with lower benefits and out-of-district placement expenses down $39,000, while all of special education is down $50,000. There are four additional high school students and the Hanover tuition rate is lower than expected but overall the high school tuition expenses are up $30,000.
The Board discussed responsibilities for covering tuition expenses for families that are split between different towns. The tuition issue with high schools and students coming to Lyme School will be added to a future agenda.
There were no written committee reports and Chair Glenshaw asked Board members to make her aware of any relevant committee issues that might be added to future meeting agendas.
5. Business Requiring Discussion
Full Day Kindergarten
The Board discussed the process that had occurred concerning full day kindergarten at the Lyme School in the last year. A presentation was given to review the activity of the Committee, the parent group, and survey feedback from residents and teachers. The Board incorporated the Strategic Plan initiatives into the discussion so that the full day kindergarten issue would be considered within the context of the current school district needs.
An overview of research was presented by Jay Davis including the length of day in kindergarten impact on social development and academic performance. The societal and educational outcomes of full day kindergarten were discussed and the costs of the program were stated as $96,000 over four years. The four areas that were considered in a teacher survey included full day kindergarten, differentiation, curriculum coordination, and an enhanced science program.
Board members weighed in on the full day kindergarten issues and one suggestion was to develop an approach that would address all four priorities over a longer but scheduled term plan. Other discussion was about splitting the day so that the afternoon was more experiential in nature with aides rather than teachers. Equity issues were also mentioned.
There is a need to develop budget aspects for different options for kindergarten for the upcoming budget process. It was felt that an additional special meeting should be held on the topic which would be scheduled prior to the November meeting.
A motion to adjourn was made and seconded (Alicia Willette, Steve Toulmin). The motion was passed unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 9:45 PM.
A special meeting will be organized to continue the discussion about full day kindergarten. The next scheduled regular Lyme School Board meeting will be on October 27, 2016 at 7:00 PM.