BERLIN BOARD OF EDUCATION
March 28, 2011
Attendance: Gary Brochu
Anthony Recck Absent
Also in attendance: Superintendent of Schools David B. Erwin; Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Brian Benigni; Director of Business Operations Roman Czuchta; Director of Human Resources Denise Bard; Principal of Griswold School Laurie Gjerpen; Principal of Berlin High School Matthew Harnett; and Assistant Principal of Griswold School Christian Strickland.
I. CALL TO ORDER
Mr. Brochu called the meeting to order at 7:03 p.m. in the Board of Education (“the Board”) meeting room at 238 Kensington Road, Berlin, CT. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by student Jamie Peterson. A Moment of Silence was observed.
II. BOARD AND ADMINISTRATIVE COMMUNICATIONS
Ms. Bard requested a Board representative to participate in contract negotiations for the cafeteria employees.
Mr. Benigni reported the Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) and Connecticut Academic Performance Test (CAPT) are finishing up this week.
Ms. Erickson expressed her thanks and tremendous appreciation to the residents of Berlin who voted during the referendum on Tuesday, March 15, 2011, and is looking forward to the “renovate as new” project for Berlin High School. Ms. Erickson reported on her attendance at the town-wide spelling bee, sponsored by the Junior Woman’s Club of Berlin on Saturday, March 26, 2011.
Ms. Matulis expressed her thanks to the residents of Berlin who voted during the referendum on Tuesday, March 15, 2011. Ms. Matulis reported on her attendance at the Town Council’s Budget Committee meeting on Thursday, March 17, 2011, wherein the Board of Education presented its proposed adopted budget. Ms. Matulis reported on her attendance at UpBeat’s eighth grade night on Monday, March 21, 2011. Ms. Matulis reported on her attendance at the Berlin High School musical production Little Women on Thursday, March 24, 2011. Ms. Matulis reported on her attendance at the town-wide spelling bee, sponsored by the Junior Woman’s Club of Berlin on Saturday, March 26, 2011, thanking Ms. Erickson and Ms. O’Donnell-Moss for serving as judges.
Mr. Richards reported on his participation at the UpBeat Peer Leadership Weekend on Friday, March 18, 2011 through Sunday, March 20, 2011. Mr. Richards reported on his attendance at the Town Council’s Budget Committee meeting on Thursday, March 17, 2011, wherein the Board of Education presented its proposed adopted budget. Mr. Richards reported he also was in attendance at the Town Council’s meeting on Tuesday, March 22, 2011.
Mr. Baczewski noted on Tuesday, March 15, 2011, the Berlin community moved forward to a brighter future and thanked grandparents, newcomers to town and those in between that came out and voted in support of the referendum.
Ms. Campanelli expressed her thanks to the residents of Berlin who worked on the referendum and those who came out and voted in support of the referendum. Ms. Campanelli reported on her attendance at the Town Council’s Budget Committee meeting on Thursday, March 17, 2011, wherein the Board of Education presented its proposed adopted budget.
Mr. Erwin noted the referendum was a very bright victory for the community. Mr. Erwin reported on the Superintendent’s Network visit that occurred last week and reported a follow up visit will occur in May for the local rounds team. Mr. Erwin reported on his attendance at the preschool screenings on Friday, March 25, 2011. Mr. Erwin shared correspondences received from Tina Trigila, Richard Hudson and Marianne Metcalfe.
Mr. Brochu thanked Helen deRito and Cindy Paul, who were in the audience, for their work on the referendum. Mr. Brochu reported on the Board of Education’s presentation to the Town Council’s Budget Committee on Thursday, March 17, 2011, thanking Mr. Benigni, Mr. Czuchta, Mr. Erwin and Board members that attended. Mr. Brochu reported on his opportunity to participate with the Superintendent’s Network visit, noting the students were absolutely remarkable.
III. INFORMATION AND REPORTS – PART I
A. Facilities Related Updates
1. Code Renovations – Berlin High School
Director of Business Operations Roman J. Czuchta reported the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) and New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) have been contacted that the referendum passed. Mr. Czuchta reported the Public Building Commission is in the process of constructing a contract with Silver/Petrucelli + Associates to begin the work on the final plans and specifications. The Public Building Commission is hopeful to have something ready and approved by April 28, 2011. The Public Building Commission will discuss at its April 14, 2011 meeting whether to proceed with a construction manager as an advisor or a construction manager at risk. A construction manager at risk will act as a general manager.
2. Indoor Air Quality – Catherine M. McGee School
Director of Business Operations Roman J. Czuchta reported the two Science rooms in the lower level, rooms 109 and 110, are under renovation. Mr. Czuchta reported a week ago Thursday the chiller unit was delivered to the school and put on a pad in anticipation of the electrical work and hook up of the chiller unit in April. The project continues to stay on schedule.
3. School Roof – Catherine M. McGee School
Director of Business Operations Roman J. Czuchta reported the bids have come in and a bid came in under the construction budget from Silktown Roofing. The bid has been analyzed, and it is expected to go to the Town Council at its April 5, 2011 meeting for an award of contract. Mr. Czuchta reported the commitment letter was received from the State today for reimbursement for this project.
At this time, as Griswold parents were in attendance, Mr. Czuchta reported a meeting is planned this Thursday, March 31, 2011, with the engineer/architect for the Griswold loop.
IV. STUDENT PRESENTATION – MARY E. GRISWOLD SCHOOL
The students in Mrs. Nicole O'Connors' second grade class are working to become careful and thoughtful readers. For the last few weeks, they have been practicing how expert readers must infer, or use picture and text clues, to figure out some aspect of what they are reading. They have realized that authors do not always spell everything out for the reader, but instead expect and trust that the reader will spend time using strategies to figure out what they are implying to more deeply understand the text. Through the use of poetry, riddles, and fiction text, these second grade readers are learning just how important it is to read carefully, make inferences about the text and find evidence to support their thinking. This evening, they showed how their critical thinking about the text has progressed from their first introduction to inferring to their current work using this strategy as independent readers. Student presenters were: Tori Cascone, Alison Cavanagh, Emily Hyjek, Nathan Paul, Jamie Peterson and Nicholas Spinali.
A short recess was held from 7:46 p.m. to 7:57 p.m.
Non-renewal of Contracts for Non-tenured Teachers
Moved by Mr. Richards, seconded by Ms. O’Donnell-Moss, that the contracts of employment for the following non-tenured teachers not be renewed for the 2011-2012 school year, upon their expiration at the end of the current school year: Karen Despres, school counselor at Catherine M. McGee School, and Jennifer Plis, teacher of physical education at Berlin High School.
MOTION CARRIED: 8:0; including President Brochu
VI. AUDIENCE OF CITIZENS
Matthew Mahoney, 1325 Orchard Road, Berlin, Connecticut echoed the sentiments of the Board members from earlier and thanked the community for their support for the high school and also thanked and congratulated the Board of Education for all their work in moving forward with the high school. Mr. Mahoney addressed the Board concerning three items: (1) the delayed open policy during the high school exam period; (2) his displease of the removal of the full week February vacation from the 2012 school calendar; and (3) the AP exam policy at the high school.
VII. CONSENT AGENDA
Approval of Minutes - Regular Meeting of March 14, 2011
Moved by Ms. O’Donnell-Moss, seconded by Ms. Kobus, to approve the consent agenda as presented.
MOTION CARRIED: 7:0
VIII. INFORMATION AND REPORTS – PART II
B. Status of the Board of Education’s Adopted Budget for 2011-2012
Board President Gary Brochu updated the Board on the March 17, 2011 meeting with the Town Council’s Budget Committee. The Board of Education presented its proposed adopted budget to the Town Council’s Budget Committee on March 17, 2011. The Board originally adopted a total increase in the Operational Budget of 3.47%. Mr. Brochu noted the chief drivers being health insurance benefits, transportation and tuitions. Mr. Brochu noted there was a lot of interest from the Town Council on the very large increase in tuition, specifically not special education tuition but the magnet school tuition. The Town Council approved a 2.4% increase. Mr. Brochu reported the Board of Education is currently at 2.2% with health insurance benefits, transportation, tuitions and utilities. This is before salaries, supplies and equipment and before anything is done in terms of moving forward with the Program of Studies changes at the high school. Mr. Brochu did note that a couple of the Town Council members indicated they very much want the Board to move forward with the Program of Studies changes at the high school.
Add Item to the Agenda
Moved by Mr. Richards, seconded by Ms. O’Donnell-Moss, to add to the agenda Strategic School Profile 2009-10 as Item X on the agenda for discussion.
MOTION CARRIED: 7:0
IX. RECOMMENDED ACTION
Project CHOICE Participation
Superintendent David B. Erwin reported there are forty-seven (47) currently-enrolled students of which forty-six (46) will advance one grade next year and one (1) will graduate. Mr. Erwin recommended an additional twenty-one (21) CHOICE students for the 2011-2012 school year. Mr. Erwin provided a breakdown of his recommendation for placement of these students: four (4) students will be placed at
Hubbard in grade 1; seven (7) students will be placed at McGee in grade 6; and ten (10) students will be placed at Berlin High School in grade 9. All Board members approved Mr. Erwin’s recommendation.
Moved by Mr. Baczewski, seconded by Ms. Campanelli, to approve the superintendent’s recommendation regarding the level of participation in Project CHOICE for the 2011-2012 school year, as presented.
MOTION CARRIED: 8:0; including President Brochu
X. INFORMATION AND REPORTS – PART III
C. Superintendent’s Report on Strategic School Profile for 2009-10
Superintendent David B. Erwin presented the Superintendent’s Report on Strategic School Profile for 2009 -10, which arrived Friday, March 25, 2011. Mr. Erwin reported the five-year enrollment change has a decrease of 5.8%. Mr. Erwin provided the Board with the current number of students enrolled in kindergarten and the number of students currently returning next year at each of the elementary schools. Mr. Erwin highlighted 95% of kindergarten students attended preschool, nursery school or a head start program, which is 9.5% above the DRG and 14.5% above the State; 10.7% of juniors and seniors are working 16 or more hours per week; total minority of 8.7% within the school district; and 7.8% of the district’s students (excluding prekindergarten students) come from homes where English is not the primary language. The number of non-English home languages is 28.
In terms of student performance, 78.9% of students were at goal level for Science, yet the state has consistently low numbers with Science. This is an area where the changes to the Program of Studies at the high school will be beneficial.
In terms of physical fitness, Mr. Erwin reported 61.3% of Berlin students reach health standard on all four tests.
Mr. Erwin reported 88.9% of students pursue higher education and 5.3% are employed (civilian employment and in armed services).
Mr. Erwin reported teachers and instructors in the district have an average of 13.0 years of experience in education with 14.4 for the DRG and 13.8 for the State; however, 84.6% have Master’s Degree or above with 77.1% for the DRG and 77.8% for the State.
Mr. Erwin compared the average class size, hours of instruction per year and students per academic computer for the district, DRG and State.
Mr. Erwin reported expenditures per pupil within the district are lower than the DRG, slightly lower than the Pre-Kindergarten-12 Districts and lower than the State. Land, buildings and debt service is extremely low.
Mr. Erwin noted discussions need to continue on the number and percentage of K-12 students with disabilities for whom the district is financially responsible by the percentage of time they spend with their non-disabled peers. Of concern was the 40.1 to 79.0 percent of time with 20.4% of the students in