December 10, 2018

Meeting Minutes March 17, 2014


DATE: 06-10-2014

Hartford School District Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

March 17, 2014

6:00 PM HHS Cafeteria


Board Members present: Administration present:

Kevin Christie Tom DeBalsi

Lori Dickerson Julia Haynes

Peter Merrill Jim Vezina

Eric Michaels

Paul Keane


Student Representative:
Tanner Wilson



Meeting was called to order at 6:05 PM by Tom DeBalsi. Peter Merrill motions to go into Executive Session for legal action. Lori Dickerson seconds the motion. A unanimous verbal vote 4-0 passes the motion. (Eric Michaels absent for the vote)


6:50 Out of Executive Session


Reorganization of the Board-


7:03 PM Tom DeBalsi calls the meeting to order. Paul Keane motions to nominate Eric Michaels as Board Chair. Lori Dickerson seconds the motion. Discussion: Paul explains why he nominated Eric. While Eric is grateful for the nomination he respectfully declines at this time. Peter Merrill motions to nominate Kevin Christie as Board Chair, Lori Dickerson as Board Clerk. Eric Michaels seconds. No discussion. A unanimous verbal vote passes the motion.


Approval of Agenda: Peter Merrill motions to accept with amendment. The amendment being under item 6, present Board Code of Conduct prior to 2013 Community Recreation Bond Discussion. Paul Keane seconds the motion. No discussion. A unanimous verbal vote 5-0 passes the motion.


Public Comments- Henry Hazen (HSD employee/community member) reports he previously emailed the entire Board and received no response. Mr. Hazen gave his email address and the Board members will recheck their inbox. Mr. Merrill responded to Mr. Hazen saying he thought a reply in person would be more appropriate. Mr. Keane was concerned answering a community member via school email.

Jeff Arnold states his disappointment in the approval of the Board Chair. He feels a time frame of 6 years for a member is appropriate for continuity without stagnation. Mr. Arnold also gives his views on the artificial turf field citing items from previous Board Minutes. At 7:12 PM Mr. Merrill reminds Mr. Arnold the artificial turf is on the Agenda, therefore not appropriate for this Agenda item. Mr. Arnold moved on to state his disapproval of Engelberth Construction’s over estimating projects. He’d like this placed on a future Agenda.


Board Code of Conduct-Peter Merrill reviews & explains the Board’s functions. Mr. Merrill explains the rating (color coded) system used to represent the Board’s “grade” on following the Policies, adopted in 2008. He also differentiates these Policies and the Policies cited on Hartford School District’s web site.

Clause #6 , Members will support the legitimacy and authority of the final determination of the board on any matter irrespective of the member’s personal position on this issue receives a red rating-non compliance due to one Board member’s behavior. Mr. Merrill was interrupted several times by Jeff Arnold speaking out on this issue. Mr. Christie asks the meeting continue.

Mr. Keane speaks to the Vermont School Board handbook versus Policy Governance.

Discussion included: Board members respectfully speaking through the Board’s Chair, community member’s disappointment in the tone of discussion, SOS excellent job, closure of vote, bond vote and public views and Board responsibilities. At 7:38 PM time is warned.

Mr. Christie explains the previous vote that was 4 aye 1 naye, and the Board’s voice that was listened to. He apologizes to the community for his behavior tonight and state’s the project will be discussed as planned.


2013 Community Recreation Bond Discussion- David Laurin and Mike Smith (DEW) spoke to the process of the project. Peter Merrill asks what would the cost be to do the track but use sod or grass. Mr. Laurin answers the drainage would be the same for both fields, the cost savings could be $200,00.00. Mike Perry (track coach) reports to host a meet there must be an 8 lane straight away track with 10 hurdles.

Community comments: friends of track willing to work with Board, astro turf vs academic initiatives, turf would benefit all community/students, citizens helping with the actual digging/work of the field, Ends Policies and physical education, moving the track to Maxfield Property, and a multi-use field house.

Another option raised to discuss is for citizens to petition to either put forth an Australian ballot article for the floor meeting or a petition to not vote on the Bond again.

Peter Merrill motions to table a decision on Bond Article until after the Town Meeting to see if citizens come forward with a petition. Kevin Christie asks for an amendment to the motion. To utilize the time between meetings to canvas the community with various tools such as  a survey to see how they feel. Discussion: timeline, utilization of remaining funds, and feedback from the town. At 9:18 move the question. A 4-1 (Paul Keane abstain) passes the motion.



9:20 PM 5 minute break


Transportation Needs- Jim Vezina explains transportation issue of keeping vehicles maintained and purchased. The Board asked Administration to look at the transportation department to receive full service (similar to food service dept) There are currently 2 bids to review. Several bus drivers were present and a discussion with the Board included: longevity of drivers, continuity of drivers on routes, benefits/salary, and bus maintenance. Mike Scelza, HSD bus driver and taxpayer reviews ideas for cutting costs in transportation for the district: cutting back on distance of field trips, Boston trips, HMMS school athletics, HMMS football competing on the Sea Coast, multi in district runs with large buses (use vans), and drivers are willing to work for comp time or no over time if the Administration would keep the department within the district. Mr. DeBalsi is doing everything he can to retain all drivers at their current rate of pay and on the same runs. Kevin Christie motions to create a sub committee of Board members to review the contract bids. Peter Merrill seconds the motion. Discussion: timeline, and expectations of the bus company. 10:05 PM question is called. Motion on the table is to form a sub committee to review the 2 contracts submitted and to have a response by the first Board meeting in April. Verbal vote 4 ayes-1 nay (PK abstention). Peter M. and Paul K. will be the sub committee (KC recuses himself as he holds a license to drive bus)


Audit Report- Jim Vezina tells the Board the report had clarity and was excellent. The Auditor will be present at the Board’s next meeting.


2014-15 Calendar Revision- Mr. DeBalsi correct the date of Veteran’s Day. No discussion. Lori Dickerson motions to accept the calendar as revised. Paul Keane seconds the motion. A unanimous verbal vote 5-0 passes the motion.


Minutes of 2/11/4 and 2/12/14- Peter Merrill motions to accept the minutes as written. Eric Michaels seconds the motion. A verbal vote 4-1 passes the motion (PK abstain)


Resignations- Mr. DeBalsi reports:

  • Rob Hemmings, 2 year leave of absence

  • Kate Hemmings, 2 year leave of absence

  • Sandy Decembre, resignation

  • Holly Bradley, retirement

  • Pat Cook, retirement

  • Kate Townsend, retirement

  • HMMS tennis coach switch (low numbers) to HMMS track coach

Peter Merrill motions to accept as reported with thanks to the 3 retirees. Eric Michaels seconds the motion. A unanimous verbal vote passes the motion.


Annual Report Feedback- The Board has heard only positive reports.


March 29th Floor Meeting Planning- The Board will format the meeting to discussion on the Recreation Bond.




10:30 PM Eric Michaels motions to go into Executive Session for personnel compensation. Lori Dickerson seconds the motion. A unanimous verbal vote 5-0 passes the motion.



Respectfully Submitted

Carol Bagley