June 12, 2021

HSB Minutes 4-7-2021

Hartford Board of School Directors

School Board Meeting Minutes

April 7, 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

Changes, Additions and Approval of Agenda  
Mr. Christie called the meeting to order at 6:02 PM.

Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mrs. Russell, to approve the agenda as presented, motion carried.

 2. Global Ends Reporting (Section 1 Policy EP)

Review of District Ends Policies in Relation to Current Events
Mr. Hathorn shared the Hartford High School main page, highlighting the Independent Learning Center information about student projects. One student is helping elementary students learn a foreign language. Another student is researching how to start up a property maintenance business. Each few weeks new projects are posted. Dylan Morse is continuing his work on making sure there is a student rep on the School Board.

Mrs. Russell shared the legislative update that is provided by the Vermont School Board Association. The annual conference is Nov 4 and 5.  The VSBA has held many equity and leadership trainings, they received grant money, $150,000, to support this work. Mr. Christie suggested linking this update to the board webpage. 

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

Student Representative Report 
Dylan reported that he is working on a draft application and will meet with his advisors Friday. He will circulate the application by the end of the week, advertising to other students. He asked that some time at the May 26th Community Engagement meeting be set aside to interview potential student reps.

Dylan shared he is looking at three schools in the DC area. 

Superintendent’s Report
Mr. DeBalsi reported that spring has arrived on campus, students are outside! Spring sport practice has started. There will be a vaccine clinic at HHS Tuesday, April 13, 2021, second clinic will be during school session, National Guard is hosting this. The Valley News featured a story about upcoming HHS production. Recently he saw a posting on NICHE, which is linked to real estate sites, HSD ranked 9th best school district in VT, #1 in Windsor County, quality of teachers, programs and athletic programs scored high, low scores with diversity. Mr. Christie asked about linking this post on the Why Hartford? section on the district website. 

4. Governance Process (Section 4 Policy GP 2)

Legislative Advocacy
Mr. DeBalsi reported on the concern about changing the teachers’ retirement program; federal grants and trainings, limitations of grants; and universal school lunch program.

Wilder School Completion and Cost Update
Mr. DeBalsi reported on the costs and status of the project. Final walk through was last Friday, few items remain, basically done. Plaque is on order. Building looks terrific, outside landscaping needs to be finished this spring. Given the pandemic, the 4 month delay (governor shut down construction), difficulty of hiring subcontractors, costs and availability of supplies, COVID delays, we’ve done well. Some changes were made due to safety of the original building (stairways, concrete slab in basement). Students and staff are happy to be back in.

Mr. Jake Vezina reviewed the financial spreadsheet: 

$ 87,837 expense overrun not covered by the bond to be made up local revenues. At this point it looks like it will be covered with specific project money from the general fund. 

$ 70,976 expense overrun covered by CRF

Given that this was a $5.5 M project, the overrun expenses were not excessive. The contingency fund was used. 

Mr. Merrill asked if any of these costs could be passed on to the sending schools. Mr. Vezina said no, since this is general funds and wouldn’t apply. Wilder School tuition revenue is down for this current year, temporary locations and COVID impacted sending students.

Ms Walther asked about any outreach/marketing strategies to attract students to Wilder and other collaborative programs. Mr. DeBalsi said that due to COVID restrictions the typical presentations have not been held. He anticipates a hit with the tuition students but hopes that the district will make a comeback quickly. Doug Heavisides is good at marketing and will be promoting the Wilder School. Currently a video is being produced to highlight the programs at the Wilder School.  

Work Plan/Board Schedule 2020-21
Mr. DeBalsi reviewed the remaining schedule:

May reports: Mr. Merrill, Mrs. Russell

June meeting

Board retreat dates, July or August? facilitator? 

Work Plan 2021-22
Mr. DeBalsi presented a draft board work plan for next year. Reports were assigned. 

Review of overall Capital Plan needs to be added, real maintenance and special projects (great room at HACTC, Covell house), Oct/Nov, early in budget cycle, will have a where we are presentation from current plan

School Day Make-Up Plan
Mr. DeBalsi informed the board and community: start delayed by Governor to Sept 8th, 9 student days were cancelled, Gov and Sec of Ed suggested staff use those days to prepare for successful student days, HSD staff did that, tremendous amount of work done to provide students/staff with safe protocols, asked for a waiver for 170 student days, 4 additional days that Hartford had were not waived by the Secretary (asked for waiver Oct 16th), added money to the ESER grant to cover these four days, how this will be made up is being discussed by the Leadership Management Council (will need to get approval of the board), met with attorney to come up with possible proposals, Hartford has done well remaining open, adding days to end of year? Saturdays? Memorial Day? adding hours on to current days? This issue is covered under the MOU with the association/staff. Mr. DeBalsi stated he is proud of Hartford in that the district has remained safely open for the year. He feels that our 166 days are more than other districts’ 170 days.

Mr. Merrill shared his disappointment with the state administration that has made the state problem a local problem. He doesn’t feel there is a benefit to the students. He asked Mr. Christie to discuss this with his state colleagues to apply some pressure in Montpelier. Mrs. Russell agreed with Mr. Merrill, she has had several calls from families about this. Mrs. Russell is collecting data from other districts, she will share when completed. The VSBA is working on this as well. 

An emergency meeting of the board may be necessary to take action on the students’ days issue. 

Search Updates – Equity Coordinator, HACTC Director
Equity Coordinator: finished up, started in March, committee was made up of a variety of community and district staff, questions were developed, over 20 applicants, 5 finalists for first round interviews, 2 finalists for second interviews, recommending Maggi Metry for the position, she will be invited to an engagement meeting next year

HACTC Director: met with staff to identify traits for the new leader, trying to hire a permanent director and not an interim, first round interviews week of April 19th, search timeline included in board materials today

 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 spoke.

Mr. North promoted the  April 9/10  virtual play, will send a link to board members and post on the board website. Students have worked for six months.

Mr. DeBalsi noted that there will be an article in the Valley News about Doug Heavisides moving to the Wilder School. 

 6. Board Professional Development (Section 4 Policy GP 9)

Community Engagement meeting

Results from last meeting with Select Board

Next steps for board piece

 7. Consent Agenda (Section 4 Policy GP 4)

Meeting Minutes – 3/10/2021, 3/24/2021
Maggi Metry Ibrahim, Equity Coordinator

Laura Krajewski, DBS

Lisa Atkinson, WRS Nurse

Charlie Riebel, HACTC

Thomas DuBois, HHS

Barbara Mason, HHS


Karen Manning, EEE SLP

Board Monitoring Report GP-8 Board Committee Structure
Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mrs. Russell, to accept the consent agenda, motion carried. 

 8. Next Meeting Agenda

Tuition loss at Wilder and HACTC for current year and projection for next year

Board work plan for next year

 9. Meeting Evaluation

The meeting evaluation was completed by Mr. Merrill, the meeting was satisfactory. 

 10.  Adjournment

Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mrs. Russell, to adjourn the meeting at 8:02 PM, motion carried.

Mr. Christie thanked the board members for their work and the  good meeting.

The board wished Mr. Christie a happy birthday. 

Respectfully submitted,

Cherrie Torrey


School Board Engagement Meeting is Wednesday, April 28, 2021 at 6:00 PM

Next Regular School Board Meeting is Wednesday, May 12, 2021 at 6:00 PM