May 28, 2022

HSB Minutes 10-13-2021

Hartford Board of School Directors

School Board Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, October 13, 2021 @ 6:00 pm

In-Person at Hartford Town Hall and Online (Zoom) Meeting

Members Present                                          Administrators Present

Kevin Christie                                                  Tom DeBalsi

Peter Merrill                                                    Cathy Newton

Nancy Russell                                                 Roy Hathorn

Russell North                                                  

Havah Armstrong Walther

Olivia Merrill

          1.  Call to Order

-        Changes, Additions and Approval of Agenda  

Mr. Christie called the meeting to order at 6:04 PM. The meeting was paused due to technical difficulties and resumed at 6:16 PM.

Mr. Christie welcomed all in attendance. 

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 and Mrs. Newton addressed the board, focusing on presentations on how various funds are tied to how students meet the Ends. 

Health and Wellbeing: hired a clinical director and additional clinicians, expanded Panorama offerings, partnered with HCRS for behavior interventionists, expanded PD offerings, and extended contracted services for increased learning opportunities.

Past summer extended learning program with the immersion Montessori School: goal to reconnect peers and positively impact social and emotional well being as well as academic growth; 73 elementary students from 34 families; 59% survey response asked to rate the experience with program; overall very favorable results, looking to replicate the program next summer.

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

-        Student Representative Report
     Olivia shared the prepared slide show: 

Student LIfe: Blue Out for Mental Health Awareness at homecoming football game, Breast Cancer Awareness at girls’ soccer game, dance studio, masks wearing, Hispanic Heritage announcements, supporting girls’ soccer team

Items of Interest: Student surveys, equity work, block 5 new clubs, frustration over schedule changes continue

Areas of Appreciation: investment in equity work in community, support for student athletes

Mr.  Merrill asked for a follow up report from the administration about the behavior at sporting events.

-        Superintendent’s Report
     Mr. DeBalsi reported to the board:

     Hartford/Fair Haven girls’ soccer game incident, team pulled from game after sexual harassment incident from the Fair Haven student section. Both schools are investigating the incident. Other state organizations are involved, media has covered it, continuing work on spectator behavior;

     COVID- dominates happening in schools, surveillance testing has not started with students but will provide students take home tests;

     Budgeting concerns due to the state weighted system would have an impact on us;

     Equity work, work with faculty and student groups, administrators will have an informal gathering to discuss equity issues in their schools;

     Recognition for Mr. Christie who was honored with the Vermont Curtis Hoff Leadership Award, given to a legislative member who exemplifies outstanding dedication to the state and the community they serve. Mr. Christie thanked the board for their support. 

          4. Governance Process (Section 4 Policy GP 2)

-        Board Meetings and CATV
     Mr. DeBalsi introduced the Executive Director of CATV, Samantha Davidson Green, office in the HACTC, cover five towns for government and school meetings, challenges with integrating technology, glitches from past meetings, review of charge from 25 years ago, many changes over the years especially during the pandemic, currently holding hybrids in the virtual world, and she welcomed feedback from the board.

     Mr. Merrill asked about the costs for CATV’s service for the variety of what we ask them to do. It may be more than the use of an office in a district building given that we are engaging the community in forums using CATV.

     Mr. North asked if the break out groups in our forums violate the Open Meeting Law. Mr. DeBalsi will check on this. 

-    2022-2023 Budget Draft #1
     Jake Vezina reviewed the overall budget changes sheet, next year’s contractual financial impact, insurance unknown (final outcome by early-mid Dec), food service (some for WRS program), HSD repairs overall, WRS paving repair, anticipated a 1.5% increase.

     Jim Vezina noted that the district is in the negotiation process for transportation, not a set figure. District locked in an oil contract last year, unknown for next year. Tuition costs for the collaboratives, not set yet. Last year food service was in classrooms which limited what was able to be served. When the bid was put out, two contractors bid, each meal is subsidized at about 70 cents a meal. Jim thanked Jake, Mr. Hathorn and Mrs. Newton for their management of the grants that have funded many of the additional costs the district has encumbered due to COVID.

     Mr. DeBalsi cautioned the board that everything the district does is impacted by what is happening in the country: staffing costs, food, transportation. Some expenses are much higher than in the past. We’ve done well with tuition and grant funding this year, strong enrollment this year.

     Mr. Merrill asked about the tentative repair figure, is the amount closer to the normal expenditure? Jake answered that there are considerably larger projects that we can’t avoid. There is about $ 415,000 in the Capital Reserve Fund. 

     Mr. North asked about the salary line, it is based on negotiated contracts, and is set. Next year is the last year of the three contracts. 

     Mr. Christie thanked the financial team for their work. 

-        Christian Street Property
     Mr. DeBalsi discussed the Christian Street property that was deeded to the district in lieu of taxes years ago. The property has an open field, wetlands,  and wooded area, and is under power lines. Given that outdoor learning has increased at the schools, could this property be used to expand those opportunities? He asked to have HACTC students identify the four corners of the property, begin mowing the field area, and use land for limited Natural Resources student activities. The location is great and is a valuable piece of land. He will bring a plan back to the board.

     Mr. North noted that there are some organizations that would support with grant funding for preserving land. He will work on this when the district is ready.

-        Monitoring Reports
o   EL 4 - Financial Conditions and Activities

o   B/SR 4 Delegation to the Superintendent

o   GP 9 Governance Investment
Mr. Merrill reminded the board that some adjustment is needed to the language in GP9.

Mr. North asked about the timing of the audit report. Mr. DeBalsi answered in about a month, but will ask for the actual date.

Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Ms. Walther, to approve the Monitoring Reports as presented. Motion carried.

          5.  Public Comments

The public was invited to join the meeting,, meeting ID 974 3075 5984.

Mr. North shared that the Mrs. Russell has received postcards from the NEA about the health care negotiation. Other board members have received them as well. 

Mr. Christie shared that a past board member has asked about the Christian Street property.


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

VSBA Conference-November 

Mr. Christie referenced an email requesting boards to nominate themselves for their previous work, National School Boards’ Association. 

Mr. North attended the monthly VSBA’s webinar on the budgeting process. The meeting is recorded for viewing at your pleasure. He encouraged fellow board members to view this. 


          7. Consent Agenda (Section 4 Policy GP 4)

-        Meeting Minutes – 9/9/2021, 9/22/2021
Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mrs. Russell, to approve the Consent Agenda, motion carried. 


          8. Meeting Evaluation

The Meeting Evaluation was completed by Mr. Merrill. The meeting was satisfactory. 


          9. Adjournment

Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mrs. Russell, to adjourn the meeting at 7:57PM. Motion carried.


Respectfully submitted,

Cherrie Torrey



Next School Board Meeting is a Community Engagement Meeting  

 Budgets and Building Maintenance 

 October 27, 2021 at 6:00 PM