April 14, 2024

HSB Minutes 6-22-2022

Hartford Board of School Directors

School Board Meeting Minutes

June 22, 2022 @ 6:00 pm

In-person at Hartford Town Hall and Online Meeting  


Members Present: Kevin Christie, Peter Merrill, Nancy Russell, Russell North, Havah Armstrong-Walther

Administrators Present: Tom DeBalsi, Roy Hathorn


          1.  Call to Order  

The meeting was called to order at 6:00 PM by Mr. Christie. 

The meeting recessed when they found out the audience couldn’t hear them due to technical difficulties and reconvened at 7:04 PM.


          2.  Review Agenda - Changes, Additions and Approval of Agenda 

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


3.  Global Ends Reporting (Section 1 Policy EP)

-        Review of District Ends Policies in Relation to Current Events

Mr. Hathorn presented the Academic Excellence indicators for high school students. 

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

-        Superintendent’s Report
Mr. DeBalsi reported on the end of year activities. Since the students left he has mostly been working on hiring new teachers and staff. Last week there was a 2-day retreat at the office with all administrators planning for next school year and working the CIP goals and plan. In the coming weeks he will be meeting with all principals and directors to discuss their staff survey’s and goals for next year. 

          5.  Governance Process (Section 4 Policy GP 2)

-        HCOREI Charge Draft

Mr. North and Ms Walther presented the proposed changes to HCOREI’s charge, which includes adding student representatives.
Mrs. Russell shared her granddaughter’s international experience. She went abroad and is flourishing. Are we holding back HCOREI by keeping them under us? Would they grow and do more if they weren’t under the district?

Mr. Christie commented on the need for them to be under the district for educational purposes. The committee has independence from the district and we rely on the liaisons for updates on their activity. In the past the school district hasn’t been approached by an outside group for funding. 

Mr. North responded, going forward he would recuse himself if there are any budgetary requests, there should be more communication, and the board should be called out if they are not doing their share. Any student would need to have their role explained to them. 

Mr. DeBalsi questioned the reason for them wanting to go solo and separating from the boards. They have the right to speak  up.

Mr. North responded he doesn’t know the reason, maybe they could do more if they were a nonprofit organization. 

Mr. Merrill asked to table this and be brought back when there is some resolution of the issues. He has some concerns about the student voting but there are other parts that he doesn’t have a problem with. 

Ms Walther asked about having a discussion about the change to include student voting. Should we have a proposal to bring back to the committee? These changes give the committee a chance to have their say too. 

Mr. Christie shared that there are a number of students interested from the district and from around the state. There is a team helping the students grow to the next level. 

Mr. Merrill asked to have this resubmitted with clarity. Other board members agreed.

-        Board Training and Summer Retreat

The work will be around The Ends and Indicators. The work plan has been revised with the engagement meetings there. Identifying the topics would be helpful. 

Mr. North questioned the date, Aug. 17 or 24th for the board retreat.

Mr. DeBalsi noted that Aug. 24th is a regularly scheduled board date. The meeting will begin at 4:30 PM with an opening discussion followed by a light dinner and then continue the work. The meeting will be at the Superintendent’s Office.  Since it’s a retreat it hasn’t always had the board secretary or CATV recording.

Mr. North stated he preferred to have CATV there, this demonstrates board commitment and transparency. 

Mr. DeBalsi reminded the group that recording a retreat format is sometimes difficult where many people are talking.

Mrs. Russell asked that board meeting stipends be added to the agenda.


-        Board Committee Reports and Updates
Mr. DeBalsi will hold this for any updates.

Facilities- Mr. North, the committee is making good progress, general themes that certain projects lump together, coming up with the categories and budgeting, many discussions of potential acquisitions and future uses, how best to maximize any dollar spent for community and students

HCC- Mrs. Russell, food program started on Monday, going well, proud of the program, discussion with Homeland Security about sex trafficing in our area, brouchures available, will be shared before school starts, would like to proposed that Homeland Security will come in to do some trainings, open to the public, could have the officer make a presentation to the board, will be put on the agenda for the retreat

Policy- Mr. Merrill, will be meeting soon

HCOREI- Ms Walther, asked about Section 6, part G, access to information about the town, getting everything online for all to see, the idea that’s being discussed is a communications person who would help all departments get information out to the town. What would this look like if there was a joint person serving the town and school? Mr. Christie suggested it go on the Retreat agenda. 

Mr. North, Mr. Merrill, and Mrs. Russell went on record of a joint employee not being a good idea. 

Mr. DeBalsi shared that he has lots of ideas about this, a contracted service could work where he/she has a number of hours for each entity. There are many topics that could be covered through that role. This lends itself to a real professional. If there was a firm that handled marketing and communications it would be helpful. 


          6.  Public Comments  

The public was invited to the meeting in-person or online using the link  https://zoom.us/j/97430755984.

Mr. Hathorn reported at 7:51 there was one attendee and no hands up.

Mr. Christie shared with the board about his discussion with Mr. Michael Redmond. There will be a multi-unit building on Prospect Street which may impact the White River School student enrollment.


          7. Consent Agenda (Section 4 Policy GP 4)

-        Meeting Minutes 

-        Regular Meeting 6-8-2022

-        Appointments: Shell Wallace, HHS; Kyra Johnston, HHS
Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mr. North, to accept the Consent Agenda, with a welcome to the new staff members. Motion carried.

          8. Meeting Evaluation

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


          9. Executive Session - labor relations and evaluation of a public employee 

Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mr. North, pursuant to VSA 313:(a)(1B)  to have an executive session for the purpose of discussing a labor relation agreement with employees and VSA 313:(a)(3) the appointment or employment or evaluation of a public officer or employee and and to enter into said Executive Session. Motion carried. 

The board entered Executive Session at 7:56 PM.

The board exited the Executive Session at 10:50 PM.

The board took no action.


10. Adjournment

Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mr. North, to adjourn at 11:00 PM. Motion carried.


Respectfully submitted,

Cherrie Torrey 



Next School Board Meeting is a Summer Retreat

Wednesday August 24, 2022 at 4:30 PM

Superintendent of Schools Office