June 12, 2021

HSB Minutes 3-10-2021

Hartford Board of School Directors

School Board Meeting Minutes

March 10, 2021 @ 6:00 pm

Online Meeting  


Members Present                                          Administrators Present

Kevin Christie                                                  Tom DeBalsi

Peter Merrill                                                    Cathy Newton

Nancy Russell                                     Roy Hathorn

Russell North

Havah Armstrong Walther

Dylan Morse


            1.  Call to Order - Superintendent    

-        Changes, Additions and Approval of Agenda  
Mr. DeBalsi, Superintendent, called the annual organizational meeting to order at 6:03 PM.

Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mrs. Russell, to move the Student Representative Report up on the agenda and approve as amended, motion carried.

            2.  Reorganization of the Board      

-        Oath of Office for Newly Elected Board Directors            
Newly elected board members Ms Walther and Mr. North each read The Affirmation of Allegiance and The Affirmation of Office. Mr. DeBalsi welcomed them to the board.

Mr. Merrill, Mrs. Russell, and Mr. Christie each read The Affirmation of Allegiance and The Affirmation of Office. Mr. DeBalsi thanked them for their continued service to the board.

Nominations for Board Chair

Mr. Merrill nominated Mr. Christie for Board Chair, seconded by Mrs. Russell, motion carried.
-        Nominations for Board Clerk
Mr. Merrill nominated Mr. North for Board Clerk, seconded by Mrs. Russell, motion carried.

            3.  Board Professional Development (Section 4 Policy GP 2)

-        New Board Member Training/Mentoring
Mr. Christie announced that Mr. DeBalsi met with Ms Walther to review her board role. He further shared that the Vermont School Board Association has many informational pieces for reference. Mrs. Russell offered to mentor Ms Walther. Mr. DeBalsi reported that he reviewed some basic information with Ms Walther, but asked the board about other topics that should be reviewed. Mr. Christie replied Open Meeting Law, how to respond to email/communication, and committees. Mr. Merrill gave a brief outline of the Policy Committee. Mr. North reviewed the negotiation process. Mr. Christie reviewed the Audit Committee, HCOREI, and Community Engagement assignments.

            4.  Governance Process (Section 4 Policy GP 2)

-        Legislative Advocacy
Mr. DeBalsi reported he is following the finance piece, will Vermont force the new software or let it go, and national grants in the Biden Recovery Plan. Mrs. Newton stated that the allowable use with the grant money is wide and broad. If you use the funds for start ups you have to be able to locally sustain the funding. Most will be used to bolster up the COVID precautions.
-        Auditing Controls – Internal Controls Checklist
Jake Vezina shared that the finance office is required to annually present the auditing and internal control checklists. Mr. North asked Mr. Vezina about some unanswered questions: petty cash checks, prenumbered checks, and are unopened bank statements delivered to the treasurer? A clarification discussion was held.

Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mr. North,  to accept the Auditing and Internal Controls Checklists as corrected, the final document to be circulated to all board members, and Mr. North will certify. Motion carried with one absence.
-        Monitoring Report EL 3 Relationship with Staff 
Mr. DeBalsi reviewed the Monitoring Report as presented in the board packet. He highlighted the newly formed Labor-Management Council with the Hartford Education Association.

Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mr. North, to accept the Monitoring Report EL3 Relationship With Staff, motion carried with one absence.   
-        Annual Ends Monitoring Reports Process Review
Traditionally each building principal has presented his/her school’s Ends Monitoring Report at spring board meetings. Each report follows a similar format. Mr. DeBalsi asked the board if they wanted to continue this format and practice. Mr. North cautioned about changing the process in a timely manner and the need for reviewing the Ends. He suggested picking a few Ends and have the reports focus on those or prioritizing them.  Mr. Merrill stated this may be a way to ask the principals for feedback about the Ends, this would start the conversation. Mr. Christie shared this may be a good community engagement topic. Mr. DeBalsi will ask the principals to report in a similar format and ask what ideas do they have about The Ends, are there changes needed? Mr. Hathorn asked about answering the evidence portion as a school or for individuals. Several shared concerns about individual student presentations as evidence for a school’s Monitoring Report. The formal student presentations will be around May 17th. Mrs. Newton suggested that  the presentations include how schools had to pivot their goals to meet the new COVID goals: safety and wellbeing, relationships, and academic achievements. Ms Walther shared her interests in that type of information and thought the public would be interested as well. Mr. DeBalsi shared that the district has done well this year and has stayed open. This information would show appreciation for the administrator’s and staff's hard work.
-     HACTC Board Meeting
Mr. Merrill reported on a recent board meeting: probably due to COVID the applications are running slower and lower than in previous years, also in NH there is a move to allow some kinds of technical courses to be taught in high schools. This has HACTC at risk if that goes forward because half of the students are from NH, the center could potentially lose students.

Mr. DeBalsi reported that the same sort of effects have been evident in the collaborative programs.

            5.  Public Comments  

The public was invited to the meeting using the link https://zoom.us/j/97430755984, meeting ID 974 3075 5984.

                        No one from the public was in attendance. 


            6. Communication and Support to the Board (Section 1 Policy EL 9)

-        Student Representative Report 
Dylan Morse reported that he has started his project “Student Representative School Board Member”, has met with several staff members, and will be working on a draft application. He will work with Ms Wyman and her class, who are sending out a survey about Equity and Inclusion, to get any data/information that the board would be interested in.
-        Superintendent’s Report
Mr. DeBalsi reported:

March 2 was the last professional inservice day for the year, it was a full scale Equity Training session, focused on definitions, good reviews/feedback, five different speakers, several sessions, look forward to continuing, using Mosaic Education Network as the foundational piece for the work; Governor’s announcement that teachers are now eligible for the vaccine, working on getting a clinic set up in Hartford, teachers excited, difficulty in setting up appointments, Vt Sec of Ed’s goal is to get teachers vaccinated by April break; Recovery Team identified; Equity Coordinator and Wilder School Principal hiring teams have launched

            7. Consent Agenda (Section 4 Policy GP 4)

Meeting Minutes

-        Regular Meeting 2-10-2021

-        Budget Discussion/Candidates Night 2-22-21

-        Engagement Meeting 2-24-2021

-        Town Meeting 2-27-2021
Personnel Changes

Retirements: Kit Farnsworth, RRC

Resignations: Richard Hoffman, HACTC
                                   Michele Morrell, HACTC

                                   Carrie Parks-Bradley, HARP

                                   Andrew Diemar, MMS

                                   Kathe Robbins, EEE


Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mr. North, to accept the Consent Agenda, to extend our gratitude for those leaving the district, “Once a hurricane always a hurricane!”, motion carried, three in favor, one abstention, one absence.
            8. Next Meeting Agenda

Next Community Engagement: Mr. Christie, Mr. North, and Mrs. Armstrong Walther will finalize the agenda, Equity and Inclusion training, invite Select Board and HCOREI

Finalize Committee Assignments

School Monitoring Reports

April Community Engagement- new board member training, Policy Governance


            9. Meeting Evaluation

The meeting evaluation was completed by Mr. North. The meeting was satisfactory.


            10.  Adjournment

  Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Ms Walther, to adjourn the meeting at 7:50 PM, motion carried.


Respectfully submitted,

Cherrie Torrey



School Board Engagement Meeting is Wednesday, March 24, 2021 at 6:00 PM