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October 17, 2023 Minutes

george school
October 17, 2023 Minutes


Brockton, Massachusetts     Brockton School Committee Meeting     October 17, 2023


A meeting of the Brockton School Committee was held this evening in the George M. Romm Little Theatre of Brockton High School at 7:05p.  These minutes contain a summary of the meeting and lists items that were under discussion.

Vice-chair Ms. Kathleen A. Ehlers read the following statement: 

Dear Visitors: Welcome to a meeting of the Brockton School Committee. This is the agenda that will be discussed this evening (see attached). Please note that a Hearing of Visitors is included. If you have a statement or question, please give your name to the secretary. In addition to attending, the public can view this meeting via television on Comcast channel 8 and 1071HD Version, and online via this link:

The assembled then stood and performed the Salute to the American Flag.

The Vice-chair took roll call to establish a quorum.

Mrs. Sullivan (Here)

Mr. Homer (Here)

Ms. Kathleen Ehlers (Here)

Mrs. Rivas Mendes (7:47p)

Mr. Rodrigues (Here)

Ms. Asack (Here)

Mr. T. Sullivan (Here)

Mr. R. Sullivan, Chair (7:10p)





Also Present

Dr. James F. Cobbs, Acting Superintendent, Deputy Superintendent Sharon R. Wolder, Assistant Superintendent Sean Precious, city Chief Financial Officer Troy J. B. Clarkson, Attorney Peter Mello, Jess Silva-Hodges, Chief Marketing/Communication Officer

Hearing of


Kim Langford spoke on Municipal & School Facilities Study & Meter Plan and MA Public Records Law.

George H. Brickhouse spoke on implementing his C.A.T. program at the High School.

Superintendent’s Report

Teaching & Learning

Student Rep

Anthony Viega reported, using PowerPoint (attached), on a recent week’s worth of Senior’s student activities at Brockton High School, including; Girl’s Soccer Night, Field Hockey, Girls Volleyball, and BHS/Middle School Band Senior Day celebrating the athletes, cheerleaders and band members.  Anthony spoke on student feedback as suggesting that spirit is increasing however, more staff in hallways and more student outreach for support would be appreciated.

·         Dr. Cobbs reported that shortly, 12 School Safety Security Specialists will be on hand at the High School, patrolling the hallways and bathrooms.

·         School Committee would like to know the dates of the Student Advisory Committee meetings, as it is incumbent on them to attend these meetings bimonthly.

MCAS 560 Club Honorees:  Deputy Superintendent Wolder

Ms. Wolder spoke to those assembled on the practice of students in grades 3-8 and 10, being tested using the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System.  The highest, scaled score granted is 560 and she was proud to report that, out of the 400,000 students tested state-wide, Brockton Public Schools had 14 students score at the 560 level.  They are now the inaugural members of the 560 Club.  Deputy Wolder, with the assistance of Mr. Precious presented certificates and trophies to the new club members.

English Language Arts

Jayla Andrade-gr.10 (Student Growth Percentile/97), Luzany Correia-gr.10, Ashley Gomes-gr.10, (SGP99), Sylvie Staco-gr.10, (SGP/99), Shyla Norris-Ashfield gr.6, (SGP/98), Makayla Hayward-Davis gr.6, (SGP/95), Emily Lopes-Plouffe gr.8 (SGP/99), Lucy Homer-South gr.6 (SGP/98)


Michael LaCivita- gr.10, Reign DaSilva Qualls-Angelo gr.4, (SGP/99), Parker Ferroli-Angelo gr.4 (SGP/97), Enzo Timas-Angelo gr.3, James Gavazzi-Ashfield gr.6 (SGP/99)


Tuzi Zheng-gr. 10

Ms. Wolder added that there were 185 students who scored between 550 and 559 with SGP’s in the high 90s who would be acknowledged in the coming weeks with school-based celebrations.

Mr. Precious, using PowerPoint, spoke on MCAS data trends, based on last year’s MCAS scores. Some points emphasized were:

·         BPS is improving, due to district investment in High Quality Instructional Materials, with improvement seen in most of our schools

·         Student Gap by Group is seeing improvement 3-8, Science grades 5-8 need attention

Items to Refer to Subcommittee

·         Policy Subcommittee (10/24/2023)

·         Music, Arts & Athletics (10/24/2023 @ 5p)

·         Facilities Usage & Planning (Near future/Early Nov.)

Financial Up-date

Troy Clarkson opened with a Zoom call T.J. Plant from Open Architects, hired by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to look into the city/school department finances.

Mr. Clarkson spoke on the “Budget Tracker” document (attached), created to inform the committee on the health of the School Department finances as on October 16, 2023.

·         Current Health of the Budget: Slightly under budget/-3.5%

o    Monitors by schools/locations

o    Working to refine the hiring process / Positions are still open

o    Soon to include Grants/Revolving Accounts

o    Is starting a deep-dive into Transportation costs

Will report out on request: Transportation, SpEd Out-of-District, McKinney Vento

Some questions for Mr. Clarkson included:

SC:  Is everything owed on, financially responsible for, paying on, and/or budgeted for in MUNIS?

TC: Yes. I’m confident all is included. We are casting a wide-net but not 100% sure.

SC:  In the past, we have received a three-ring book which includes all of the individual

  school expenses. Can you produce that for the School Committee?

TC: Yes. He can provide that by the next School Committee meeting.

SC:  It is thought that staffing is a priority, to get students out of study halls and into classrooms.  At this

point in the process, in getting professional staff, we are chasing a train that has left the station.

TC:  Funding can be moved to insure funds are available.

Questions can be called into or emailed to either Dr. Cobbs or myself.

SC:  I’m questioning how this “Position Control” process was put in place.

TC:  It was to safe-guard over-spending of any staffing category.

Dr. Cobbs:  Of the 100 positions open, 20 have been filled with 12 of them “new” positions that

that were subject to the Position Control process.  10 to 12 of the remaining positions were moved to

Substitutes to be filled, engendering the need to move money from one category to another. There are

20-25 positions in the pipeline to be advertised.

Mayor:  Attorney Mello, could you give us the legalese on this matter?

PM:  If the School Committee would like to sit down with Dr. Cobbs and go over the Position Control

process, that would be advisable.  He will make himself available for a Zoom or in-person meeting

to discuss this issue.

TC:  We are working to both quantify and satisfy the deficit with the collective goal to get to the end

of the school year within budget. He and his people are restructuring, with school department staff

the processes within MUNIS to see that a deficit may not happen again.  A way to plan would

be to come together in January with a Supplemental Budget.

SC:  Has asked for a breakdown of the School Committee budget from 2020-2023, showing exactly how

the money was spent.



The Chair read that the Consent Agenda consisted of items A, B, C, and D and asked if the Committee wanted to take any items off for discussion.

Ms. Asack asked for item B to be removed for discussion.

Mr. T. Sullivan motioned to approve A, C & D, seconded by Ms. Asack and Mrs. Sullivan.

The Mayor read the remaining Consent Agenda items aloud. (Agenda Attached)

The motion passed.

Ms. Asack asked to amend the Regular School Committee Minutes of August 15, 2023, under New Business to read as follows:

Ms. Asack made a motion to approve the Brockton High School Dress Code Policy as stated but the word “Hooded” would be removed from item 7, properly seconded by Mr. Homer.

The motion carried.

Unfinished Business

Ms. Asack reported on the October 3 Policy Manual Subcommittee Meeting, asking for a vote on the recommendations in the minutes from that meeting.

Mrs. Rivas Mendes made a motion to approve the minutes from the Policy Manual Subcommittee, seconded by Mr. Homer.

The motion carried.

Ms. Asack reported on the October 10 Security/Safety/Transportation Subcommittee Meeting, asking for a vote on the recommendations in the minutes from that meeting.  The point in question was to ask Acting Superintendent Cobbs to audit the Transportation Department.

Discussion on the recommendation: The Subcommittee is looking for an audit of the staffing (drivers, support staff, management), performance, financial and structure of the department from top-to-bottom.

Dr. Cobbs responded that Open Architects is already working on this as part of their investigation, included the private carriers and costs.

Mrs. Rivas Mendes made a motion have an analysis of the whole Transportation Department, that’s including financially, and performance and structural, properly seconded by Mr. Rodrigues.  

The motion carried.

Mrs. Rivas Mendes made a motion to approve the October 10 Security/Safety/Transportation Subcommittee Meeting minutes, properly seconded by Mr. Rodrigues.  

The motion passed.

New Business

Dr. Cobbs spoke on being on track to hire a principal at Brockton High School but would like to put retired principal from South Middle School Jose Duarte at the HS as Acting Principal shortly. His entire Cabinet and the HS leadership team will facilitate the transitions and this is within budget.

Discussion on the recommendation: timely recommendation, familiar face, good choice.

Mrs. Sullivan made a motion to move the November 14 meeting to the Arnone School, properly seconded by Mr. Homer.

Vice-chair Ehlers reported that an Executive Session would take place at 7p on October 24, 2023.

Jess Silva Hodges, Chief Marketing/Communications Officer, reported that the member of the Audit Committee were notified and are on board as soon as the firms in contention are identified.

It was decided that the Audit Members would be invited to meet the School Committee on October 24.

Ms. Ehlers tasked Mrs. Campbell with the responsibility of reaching out to the Audit Committee members, informing them of a meeting to meet the School Committee on October 24 before Executive Session convenes.



Executive Session

The Mayor stated that Agenda Item#7 is Executive Session and that the body would not reconvene following Executive Session.

Mayor Sullivan read the following into the record:

M.G.L. c. 30A, § 21(2) To conduct strategy session in preparation for negotiations with nonunion personnel or to conduct collective bargaining sessions or contract negotiations with nonunion personnel:  Administrator Contracts

Mrs. Sullivan made a motion to enter Executive Session, properly seconded by Ms. Asack.

Roll call vote on the motion to enter Executive Session:

Mrs. Sullivan (Yes)

Mr. Homer (Yes)

Ms. Kathleen Ehlers (Yes)

Mrs. Rivas Mendes (Yes)

Mr. Rodrigues (Yes)

Ms. Asack (Yes)

Mr. T. Sullivan (Yes)

Mr. R. Sullivan, Chair (Yes)


The Committee entered Executive Session at 9:15p.


Respectfully submitted,




Dr. James F. Cobbs




-          What’s going on at Brockton High (PPT)

-          Celebrating our Student’s Success/MCAS Data Trends (PPT)

-          Budget Tracker Spreadsheet