June 12, 2021

HSB Minutes 11-10-2020

Hartford Board of School Directors

School Board Meeting Minutes

November 10, 2020 @ 6:00 PM

Online Meeting  


Members Present                                                    Administrators Present

Kevin Christie                                                            Tom DeBalsi

Peter Merrill                                                               Roy Hathorn                                      Nancy Russell

Russell North

Michelle Boleski

Katie Trombley


          1.  Call to Order

-        Changes, Additions and Approval of Agenda  
Mr. Christie called the meeting to order at 6:04 PM.

Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mr. North, to accept 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. DeBalsi reported that this week students have experienced an election and the pandemic. Many of the Ends are at the forefront of the educational program.

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

No discussion


          4. Governance Process (Section 4 Policy GP 2)

-        Legislative Advocacy
Mr. DeBalsi noted that  the SE Regional superintendents will meet virtually December 11, 2020 with the local legislative representatives and senators to discuss current educational issues. Mr. Christie reported that the past meetings have been very informative for the state reps.

Ms Boleski asked about internet access. Mr. DeBalsi will bring this up to the group. 

Mr. DeBalsi will add the loss of instruction due to COVID to the topic list, this may have funding implications. 

-        HCOREI Educational Committee Update
     Members of the education sub-committee (Aileen, Giovana, and John) presented their resource spreadsheet. The committee is looking for a volunteer intern who would keep the resource list up-to-date (communication person). Ms Boleski asked the group to research the possibility of a paid position. The resources include links to articles, books, videos, and podcasts.  They are looking for feedback on the resource list from parents, educators, and community members. They are looking for a way to increase the resource list. Aileen thanked Ms Boleski for starting this list. Mr. DeBalsi asked how this could be linked to the school website. Mr. Merrill noted that it seems that the school and town librarians should be involved with this and that the document should be shared more broadly. Mr. Christie invited the committee to connect with the state librarian as this is a tool that could be used by many statewide. The committee will share the document once it’s in a  public format. Giovana asked Aileen about arranging a meeting with the Select Board. Aileen is working with Mr. Fraser, Chair of Select Board, to help roll out the Strategic Plan at the town level. Aileen shared her pride for the work Mr. DeBalsi, Roy, and Cathy have done with the Strategic Plan in the school district.  Mr. Christie thanked the group for their work. 

-        Community Linkage Ideas (GP 3)
     Mr. North and Ms Boleski shared a draft survey. Mr. North suggested asking one economic impact question to the community which would be useful going into budget season. Mr. North asked for immediate feedback, hearing only one comment, the survey will be sent out asap with Mr. DeBalsi’s help.

     Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mr. North, to approve the Community Linkage survey subject to minor changes by Mr. DeBalsi, motion carried. 
-        Combined Meeting with Select Board – tentative dates, agenda ideas
No date agreed on using Doodle Poll. A second round will be sent out with new dates. Mr. Christie suggested that the executive groups meet to discuss an agenda. 

-        Annual Work Plan/Board Calendar
Next meeting will be for community engagement, 

Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mr. North,  to meet on Nov 24 for community engagement and to discuss the survey results if any, motion carried.

-        Monitoring Reports 
o   GP 3 Board Job Outcomes

o   B/SR 5 Monitoring Superintendent Performance

Mr. Christie called attention to the Monitoring Reports included in the board packet.
     Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mr. North, to accept the Monitoring Reports as presented. Motion carried. 

          5.  Public Comments  

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

No one from the public was present to speak.

Mr. Christie apologized to the group for letting the discussion get out of control. 

Ms Boleski explained that she brought up the holiday travel for discussion and not to reflect on anyone’s performance.


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

-        Student Representative Report         
Katie reported:

Students are stressed out, have been since March, looking to see when things will get back to normal, students are thinking there’s not a way to de-stress their lives, how can parents/teachers/school board help them?

Mr. Christie told Katie that the board supports the students 150%. He invited her to share any ideas with Roy, Cathy, or Tom. Mr. DeBalsi reported that he has heard from many. He will work with the administrators to see what options there may be. 
-        Superintendent’s Report 
●      School/District Update
Mr. DeBalsi reported- 35 remote elementary students will return to the buildings next week. Ms Boleski asked about Thanksgiving travel and returning college family members. She asked about planning for remote learning after the holidays. Mr. DeBalsi replied the governor and Secretary of State want schools to remain open and have travel guidelines. The state has secured COVID tests for all teachers/staff on a voluntary basis. There will be a regular retest on a periodic basis throughout the rest of the year. The administrators are working on a reopening more and closure plans. Some remote students are not doing as well as those present. Space is a limiting factor in how many students can be in the schools.

Jacob Vezina updated the board on the audit. Audit Draft #1 will be presented at the December 9, 2020 meeting. FY 20 will potentially have a $1.3 fund balance.
●      Facility Projects Update – 
Mr. DeBalsi reported:

Wilder - on schedule to be done next month, grand opening- who would be invited, building committee wants this after the students are back in session, plaque recognition?

Covell House - more information needed 

BEST - $868,000 from last year’s proposal presentation

OQS/DBS Roofs- OQS- need metal and insulation removed $850,000 DBS - $500,000, doesn’t need as much done

Mr. Christie suggested waiting for the survey data and continue discussion after that.
●      FY 22 Budget Draft #1
Jacob Vezina presented a rough draft of the budget. Draft #1 has a $634,000 increase. He highlighted some budget lines, contractual obligations, and the health insurance premium 9-18% increases.

Jim Vezina noted some of the big movers in the budget, the balance account represents any amount that is not allocated to a line item (or noted savings). He is waiting for information from the state on the CLA and yield information which will not come in until the end of December. Contracted services have decreased due to in-house staffing. Collaborative tuition is down due to the transition to the Wilder School and remote/hybrid model. New students may come after the Wilder School is opened.  Mr. DeBalsi asked for the board’s input and to consider the facility  improvement projects. Mr. North said he has a hard time supporting new projects given the COVID climate. Board members asked about how COVID guidelines will impact the budget for next year. Mr. DeBalsi is concerned about the amount of instruction that has been lost due to the pandemic. He and the administrators are investigating a summer session for some students. They are collecting data which will help with the plan. 

          7. Consent Agenda (Section 4 Policy GP 4)

-         Meeting Minutes – 10/14/2020, 10/28/2020

          Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mr. North, to accept the consent agenda as presented, motion carried.


          8. Next Meeting Agenda

      Nov 24th Community Engagement- survey results, may be cancelled if there are no returned surveys.

      Dec 9th Draft Audit Report


          9. Meeting Evaluation

The meeting evaluation was completed by Mr. Merrill, the meeting was satisfactory with a few areas to pay closer attention to.


          10.  Adjournment

      Moved by Mr. Merrill, seconded by Mrs. Russell, to adjourn the meeting at 9:19PM, motion carried. 


Respectfully submitted,

Cherrie Torrey



School Board Engagement Meeting is Tuesday, November 24, 2020 at 6:00 PM


Next Regular School Board Meeting is Wednesday, December 9, 2020 at 6:00 PM