December 15, 2018

Board Minutes March 11, 2015


DATE: 03-17-2015

Hartford School Board Directors Meeting

March 11, 2015

7:00 PM The Getaway


Board Members present: Administration present:

Kevin Christie Tom DeBalsi

Lori Dickerson Cathy Newton

Paul Keane Jim Vezina Peter Merrill

Eric Michaels


Kevin Christie called the meeting to order at 7:03 PM.


Approval of Agenda- Peter Merrill moves to approve Agenda as written. Eric Michaels seconds. A unanimous verbal vote 5 yes 0 no passes the motion.


Public Comments-

  • Three HHS students, out of over 40 high school students present spoke to the Board. Jamisen Fallot, Stephanie Miller and Jason Hebert spoke to the Board of the media’s misinterpretation of HHS and the it’s perception of drugs on campus. The students presented a petition of over 246 signatures of students who validate they feel safe at Hartford High School

  • Beth Kopp of Upper Valley Oral Health Coalition along with Jeanette Hutchins, HSD Nurse address the Board to support Hartford community water supply be fluoridated. Mr. Christie will add the item to a future agenda and the Board will discuss possible ways to move the issue forward.

  • Jeff Arnold, Hartford citizen asks Mr. DeBalsi to explain the cuts that would have to be made to staff at the 2.5% (reported by Valley News) budget. He is reminded this is an item on the Agenda and will be discussed.

  • Simon Dennis, Hartford citizen asks the school board to examine the opinion of legal counsel on the succession and timing of new members. Also to examine whether the two meetings are divided. (Town & School) Mr. Christie will add the issue to the next school board meeting and gather opinions from the Secretary of State.

  • Alex DeFeliece, Hartford citizen reports Paul Guiliani, Town Attorney was not involved with the town when the Charter was written. Paul Keane asks for clarification of dates. Next regular school board meeting is March 25, 2015.


FY16 Budget Review, Reconsideration-Discussion of Board members on how to proceed at the “floor meeting” scheduled for March 28, 2015. Mr. DeBalsi reports it is the opinion of the School’s attorney that the budget offered be defended at the floor meeting. A motion can then be made from a taxpayer followed by discussion and a vote. Mr. Christie adds this information should be put in written form and shared widely with the community so there is no confusion of the process. Mr. DeBalsi will have the attorney and Secretary of State put this in writing.

Jim Vezina presents FY2016 Hartford School District General Fund Expenditure Budget Object Summary.  Peter Merrill clarifies with Mr. Vezina the total general fund budget number reported is $27,455,728 not the $36 million dollar budget being asked to pass of the voters. Mr. Vezina affirms this is the general fund only (75% of budget).

Mr. Vezina goes over lines 30-62 of the document. Lines 51-62 are tied to personnel. Mr. DeBalsi explains to the Board the process he follows to make the cuts necessary to achieve the budget the Board sets for the District. Discussion includes suggestions of where members think cuts should/could be made such as Administration at the elementary level, retirements, resigning teachers. Negotiations of both support staff and teachers is ongoing with 58% of the budget being personnel.

8:03 PM Kevin Christie moves the discussion. Discussion continued with concern for academic rigor v.s. budget cuts.

Paul Keane moves to ask the SOS to come up with a 2.5% budget. Lori Dickerson seconds. Discussion: could there be a 3% and a 2.5% budget presented? Discussion continues what cost to taxpayers would a certain percent mean to each household.

8:20 PM, Peter Merrill moves the question. Peter Merrill moves to amend the motion suggesting two budgets be presented. (3% & 2.5%) Lori Dickerson seconds the motion to amend. Discussion: Mr. Keane will not accept the friendly amendment. Cathy Newton clarifies this motion means to bring the two budget choices to the next Board meeting.

Verbal vote passes the motion for the SOS to bring two budgets of 2.5% and 3% to the next meeting for consideration. 4 Yes (K.C.,E.M., P.M., L.D.) and 1 No (P.K.)


Special Budget Hearing and Planning Meetings- continue discussion with the following citizen input:

  • Jeff Arnold, asks Mr. DeBalsi to report on the cuts for the 3.9% budget proposed. Mr. DeBalsi can not comment regarding the negotiations of teachers and support staff. This is an on-going negotiation.

  • Simon Dennis suggest the taxpayers confused the Town and School budgets.

  • Russ North, Hartford citizen amplifies Mr. Dennis’ statement and suggests the school budget was a close vote and is concerned programs important to students and community will be cut.

  • Paul Keane feels if a lower budget isn’t proposed damage will have been done.


Title IX and Gender Equity discussion and review- 2009 Hartford Policy should be on the docket for PG Monitor Report and would then be subject to change/additions. Paul would like the Harvard statement added, Peter said the discussion would be welcomed to the committee. Mr. Christie said if you look at Vermont state’s recent State recommendation, they have caught up. Hartford just needs to catch up with the State recommendation of language.


Second reading Weapons and Firearms Policy- Lori Dickerson had asked for clarification of the Policy. Peter Merrill reviews. Discussion:firearms and boundaries of school grounds. Lori Dickerson moves to remove the language of “gun free zone of 1990”. Paul Keane seconds the motion. Verbal vote 5 yes 0 no passes the motion. Peter Merrill moves to approve the Policy as amended. Lori Dickerson seconds. A unanimous verbal vote 5 yes 0 no passes the motion. (Eric Michaels asks the Chair for point of clarification-can Peter Merrill as the Policy Committee’s chair present the motion?) (Mr. Christie confirms)


Governance Policies- Mr. DeBalsi reviews the process of Monitoring the Policies. Paul Keane offers to go over the SOS evaluation language. Lori Dickerson agrees. Since this is not a policy this discussion can be discussed at a future meeting.


Consent Agenda

  1. Minutes of February 23, 2015

  2. Minutes of February 25, 2015

Peter Merrill moves to accept the Consent Agenda as presented. Eric Michaels seconds. Verbal vote 4 yes 1 abstain (Paul Keane was absent for the 2/25/15 meeting) passes the motion.


Incidental Information-

March 28, 2015 Floor Meeting, Budget Reconsideration- Paul Keane asks Mr. DeBalsi to seek counsel on whether the two meetings are divided. Is a second opinion and the opinion of the Secretary of State warranted? Mr. Merrill stops the discussion due to the item not being warned for tonight’s meeting.


Future Board Meeting Agenda Items-

  • Board needs to meet to discuss selling price of the HACTC Building Trades House. Meeting will be 5:00 PM at the site of the House March 25, 2015 Brookmeade Circle

  • FX Flinn email to Board regarding succession-discussion of placing on next Agenda. Peter Merrill moves to discuss the email at a meeting after March 28, 2015 floor meeting. Eric Michaels seconds. Discussion- none. A verbal vote of 3 yes (E.M., P.M., K.C.) 2 No (L.D., P.K.) passes the motion.

  • Academic Rigor will be discussed in Action Plans(2 May meetings). Administrators are asked to present where is your school now and where were you one year ago? Mr. Merrill would like Administration to address test scores of the past and what schools have done to make a positive impact on those scores.


9:22 PM Peter Merrill moves to adjourn the meeting. Paul Keane seconds. A unanimous verbal vote passes the motion 5 yes 0 No.


Respectfully Submitted,

Carol Bagley

3/17/15 posted