August 11, 2020

Brockton, Massachusetts
Regular School Committee Meeting
August 11, 2020
                                               
PDF VERSION

The Regular Meeting of the Brockton School Committee was held this evening in the George M. Romm Little Theatre at Brockton High School, at six o'clock.  These minutes contain a summary of the meeting and list items that were under discussion.

Present:   Mayor Sullivan, Mr. D'Agostino, Vice-Chair; Ms. Asack, Ms. Mendes, Mr. Minichiello, Mr. Rodrigues, Ms. Sullivan, Mr. Sullivan, Superintendent Thomas

Also Present:  Executive Team Members, Kim Gibson BEA President

Mayor Sullivan called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m., followed by a salute to the flag.

Mayor Sullivan introduced Ms. Danielle Littmann and Mr. Destiny Ihenacho team members from the mayor’s office.  Ms. Littmann’s work will involve intergovernment affairs and policy, Mr. Ihenacho’s work will involve constituent services and he is a proud product of the Brockton Public Schools graduating from Brockton High School.  Both will be working with City Hall and the School Department to ensure a smooth operation.

Mayor Sullivan took a roll call to establish a quorum.

Mayor Sullivan, Chair – yes        

Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair – yes      

Ms. Asack – yes

Ms. Mendes – yes                  

Mr. Minichiello – yes                        

Mr. Rodrigues – yes

Ms. Sullivan – yes                    

Mr. Sullivan – yes                            

Mayor Sullivan also thanked Malinda Campbell, Executive Assistant to the Superintendent for all her efforts.   

Hearing of Visitors    None
    
Consent Agenda    

Mayor Sullivan explained the purpose of the Consent Agenda and asked members if they would like to remove any items for further discussion.  Mr. D’Agostino asked to remove Item C, giving an overview report on the consent agenda item.  

Mr. D’Agostino motioned to remove Item C, seconded by Mr. Sullivan.

Mr. Sullivan moved the Superintendent’s recommendation to approve the remainder Consent Agenda items: A, B, D, and E seconded by Ms. Sullivan.

A.    Approval of July 21, 2020 Regular School Committee Meeting Minutes
B. Approval of July 28, 2020 Parent/Guardian Reopening Forum
D. Authorization to Submit Proposals to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education for FY2021 Federal Entitlement & Allocation Grants
E. Acceptance of Notification of Personnel Actions: Leaves of Absence, Resignations, Retirements           

                        Voted:  to approve the motion, unanimous
    
Mr. D’Agostino gave an overview report on the consent agenda Item C, Approval of Minutes:  July 28, 2020 Policy Subcommittee Meeting.

1.    Re-opening Draft Plans:  Full In-Person Plan, Hybrid Model Plan, Full Remote Plan
2.    K-12 Transportation guidance
3.    Facilities & Operations guidance
4.    Other Business
    
Mr. Minichiello moved to approve Item C, Approval of Minutes:  July 28, 2020 Policy Subcommittee Meeting, seconded by Ms. Sullivan.

    Voted:  to approve the motion, unanimous

Mayor Sullivan acknowledged Superintendent Thomas for his efforts and hard work. Mayor Sullivan mentioned tonight’s school committee meeting is very important and take seriously as we discuss the reopening of schools and the number one concern is safety of all students, teachers and everyone that works in the Brockton Public School Department.  Dr. Richard Herman medical consultant presented a few weeks ago during a school committee meeting giving an update on COVID-19.  Dr. Herman will present a power point that will provide information related to COVID-19 and answers.  Mayor Sullivan stressed COVID-19 has begun to spike in Brockton, after a conversation with Lt. Governor Polito on yesterday we are at a yellow status and on the fringe of being red statistically right now 5.1% in terms of positive over a certain period.  

Superintendent’s Report

Guest Speaker – Dr.  Richard Herman, MD, FACEP Superintendent Thomas introduced Dr. Richard Herman, medical consultant hired by the City of Brockton to present a power point with data regarding COVID-19.

Dr. Richard Herman thanked Mayor Sullivan, Superintendent Thomas and School Committee members  for inviting him to answer questions they may have and bring them up to date on the recent data.
    
Power point


•    New daily confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. – 5,054,258 total cases, 162,481 reported deaths
•    Cases among HCP – 130,010; Deaths among HCP – 616
•    Dashboard of Public Health Indicators; Massachusetts Timeline since March 1st – 112,673 total
     confirmed cases, 8,519 total deaths among confirmed cases
•    Total COVID-19 cases by age group – Rate (per 1000,000) of total COVID-19 cases by age group
•    City of Brockton COVID-19 Dashboard – Tuesday, August 11, 2020
    Newly Reported Cases Today – 17, Total Confirmed Cases – 4,469, Newly Reported Deaths Today – 0, Total Deaths – 276, Total Positive Tests – 130 July 23 – August 5, 2020, Currently in Hospital/ICU 4/0, Brockton Positive Test Rate – 5.1% July 23 – August 5, 2020 – Statewide rate 1.9%
•      City of Brockton – COVID-19 Deaths - 276
•      Total Cases – Massachusetts; Total Cases – Brockton
•      Average Age COVID-19 Case
•      Average Age COVID-19 Case; July 20th – August 9th Average Age is 35
•      New Cases per Day with 7-Day Trendline
•      Average Daily Case Rate (per 100,000) for COVID-19 in MA by City/Town Over Last Two Weeks
     7/22/2020- 8/5/2020
•    Week ending March 21, 2020 – Total Cases: 10, New Cases: 0, Deaths: 0
•    Week ending March 28, 2020 – Total Cases: 107, New Cases: 97, Deaths: 6
•    Week ending April 11, 2020 – Total Cases:  1029, New Cases: 625, Deaths: 121
•    Week ending April 18, 2020 – Total Cases:  1773, New Cases: 744, Deaths: 177
•    Week ending April 25, 2020 – Total Cases:  2432, New Cases: 659, Deaths:  215
•    Week ending May 23, 2020 – Total Cases:  3699, New Cases: 222, Deaths:  248
•    Distribution of Cases Among Children Pediatric Cases through August 10, 2020
•    Pediatric Cases – City of Brockton – Total age: 0-18, 188:  Total hospitalized 2:  Deaths 0
•    City of Brockton – COVID Age 0-18, Male 51%, Female 49%
•    Total Cases – Before Phase 3, Total Cases – After Phase 3% COVID Cases Before and After Phase
     3 Re-opening (July 3rd)
•    MDPH (Massachusetts Department of Public Health) – BROCKTON COVID-19 Testing Data
•    BROCKTON NEIGHBORHOOD HEALTH CENTER – COVID-19 information
•    COVID-19 MANAGEMENT METRICS FOR CITIES- Guide for Mayors and City Leadership
•    Johns Hopkins recommendation in terms of metrics:
a.    Is the population infection, rate under control?
b.    Is the healthcare system capacity sufficient?
c.    Is there sufficient testing and contact tracing?
d.    Level of compliance with public health measures.
e.    Protection and preparedness of essential workers.
        
Mayor Sullivan thanked Dr. Herman for his guidance, professionalism and medical expertise.  School Committee members thanked Dr. Herman for his presentation and asked questions related to COVID-19.

School Committee members discussed next steps for the re-opening of schools, hybrid or remote, information provided all members of the School Committee agreed Full remote is the safest way to re-open schools.

Superintendent Thomas presented a power point survey questionnaire and responses:
                       
Which of the following schedules would you prefer in a hybrid learning format?

Option A:  Your child would be in the school for the same two days every week and participate in remote learning for the other three days of the week.  For example, he/she would be in school on Tuesdays and Thursdays every week and learn from home on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
 
Option B:  Your child’s schedule would rotate every week.  For example, one week your student will attend school on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  The next week Tuesday and Thursday.
                                      
Option C:  Not applicable – I would like to enroll my child in the district’s virtual learning program.

There were 2,433 responses from the survey:  Option A – 41%, Option B – 28%, Option C – 31%.

Superintendent Thomas presented a power point Remote Learning Model:  Students participate in a distance learning program full-time from home.  The Department of Education will track and hold the district accountable in providing full instruction whether Hybrid or Full Remote for all students.  
                   
•    Daily Routine
•    Sample Schedule K-5 (Subject to collective bargaining and program-specific needs.)
•    Sample Schedule 6-8 (Subject to collective bargaining and program-specific needs.)
•    Sample Schedule 9-12 (Subject to collective bargaining and program-specific needs.)

Superintendent Thomas invited Ms. Kellie Jones Director of Bilingual Education to discuss the structure of the program and provide information to school committee members and answered questions.  The structure of programming in our district will enable us to shelter instruction so that students will have access to the content as well as provide the mandated hours of ESL services that is required by the state.    

Superintendent Thomas invited Ms. Laurie Mason Director of Special Education to discuss the structure of the program and provide information to school committee members and answered questions.  Ms. Mason has held three parent forums over the past couple of weeks and zoom calls with CPAC with parents asking questions, a major concern is parents are very nervous about their kids returning to school and others wanting them to return to school.  For special education DESE regulations are clear that we need to follow the IEP and implement whether in person, remote or hybrid providing a structured schedule for our parents.

Question/Answer


•    Would breakfast and lunches be provided for all students if we go remote?
Aldo Petronio, Chief Financial Officer and team are working to provide breakfast and lunches at every school for all students.

    Discussion/Answer


•    How many terms do we have in a school year?
There are four terms in a year.
•    Would it make sense taking a vote on term one if the committee agrees to go Hybrid or Full remote?
(First term would end on November 19th)
It is recommended to evaluate a few weeks (November 1st) if we transition to hybrid for a second term start depending on what COVID-19 metrics and data shows.  
•    How much time would be needed to change from a Hybrid model or Full remote?
Three weeks would be reasonable to make the necessary changes from Hybrid or Full remote.
Mr. D’Agostino motioned to reopen school on September 16th fully remote for first term; with a status review every two weeks with a condition attached that there’d have to be a minimum three-week notice if there were any changes to the remote status, seconded by Ms. Mendes.

Mayor Sullivan took a roll call vote:

Mayor Sullivan, Chair – yes               

Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair – yes       

Ms. Asack – yes

Ms. Mendes – yes

Mr. Minichiello – yes

Mr. Rodrigues – yes

Ms. Sullivan – yes

Mr. Sullivan – yes

                                                   Voted:  to approve the motion, unanimous
        
Superintendent Thomas mentioned Commissioner Riley made it clear that no matter how a district votes, extracurricular activities no decision on sports have been made and recommended school committees not to take a vote, DESE and the MIAA are working on all different models for the sports season.

Superintendent Thomas and Kim Gibson BEA Representative presented a power point BPS/BEA Smart Start Plan at a Glance.

The Brockton Public Schools and the Brockton Education Association plan for a Smart Start to the school year.  The Smart Start plan focuses on making sure that families and educators have the tools they need to engage in a comprehensive distance learning program that set student up for a successful transition into hybrid learning.  When referring to “educators” the term includes all non-union administrators, union administrators, all teacher, nurses, paraprofessionals and monitor teacher assistants.


•    Training for students, families
•    Development of communication plans
•    Educator driven professional development
•    Access to technology/Wi-Fi
•    Family Workshops
•    At-risk students  

FY21 Budget update


Superintendent Thomas invited Mr. Aldo Petronio Chief Financial Officer to give a FY20 budget update and answer questions related to the budget.  State delegation has said that there are commitments to level fund chapter 70, the difference in commitment and an actual appropriation is they haven’t voted however the governor, senate president, the chair of the house all agreed that chapter 70 should be level funded and appears to be a good commitment.  FY20 figures based on the DESE report shows; Enrollment, Per Pupil Cost, Foundation Budget, Req. City Contribution, Chapter 70 and Required NSS.  The middle shows we were funded at $186 million for FY20, we are looking at $180 million for FY21.  We have not received the cherry sheet from the state that shows what our charter school costs are going to be, it is estimated that 8.6 percent of our budget goes to them so any increase will be reduced by approximately this percentage.  We have $1,666,246 discretionary funds where school committee can get choose to put towards either a Hybrid or a Fully Remote plan.  

Mayor Sullivan gave an update on the Cares Act, as of today we have not received our reimbursement on our first submission of $1.7 million dollars, the second submission will also be in the millions, the last submission is only geared towards libraries, veteran’s services, senior centers and councils on aging.  
        
Superintendent Thomas requested for School Committee members to bring back 24 classroom positions, 3 tech positions.

Mr. Sullivan motioned to hire 24 classrooms positions and 3 tech positions; seconded by Mr. D’Agostino.

                                                    Voted:  to approve the motion, unanimous
        
PPE & Facilities update

Superintendent Thomas invited Dr. James Cobbs Executive Director of Operations to give a PPE & Facilities update and answered questions from school committee members.   

Superintendent Thomas invited Mr. Ken Thompson Director of Facilities to give an update on the HVAC systems and answered questions from school committee members.

Superintendent Thomas invited Mr. Jamie DiMestico Facilities Night Manager to give an update on cleaning products and answered questions from school committee members.

Final Re-opening plan discussion

After careful discussion from the school committee board a motion was made in favor to go full remote for one semester

Items to Refer to Subcommittee

Superintendent Thomas asked that a Curriculum Subcommittee meeting is held on next Thursday, August 20, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. all members are available.

Unfinished Business   

Student Opportunity Act (SOA) 3-year District Plan    

Superintendent Thomas reported that the Student Opportunity Act was extended, and no new submission date was given.

Approval of Re-Opening Plan

Superintendent Thomas mentioned the Re-Opening Plan was completed and submitted to the state.

Approval of BPS 2020-2021 District School Calendar

Superintendent Thomas discussed the new BPS 2020-2021 District School Calendar needs a final vote taken by the School Committee this evening.

Mr. Sullivan motioned to approve the Brockton Public School 2020-2021 District School Calendar, seconded by Ms. Sullivan.

 Voted:  to approve the motion, unanimous
New Business    None
    

Executive Session      

Mayor Sullivan announced “The Committee will enter executive session pursuant to M.G.L. c. 30A, §21(a)(3) for conducting strategy with respect to collective bargaining, as conducting this deliberation in an open session would have a detrimental effect on the bargaining position of the Committee. The Committee will not return to open session following the Executive Session.”  

Mayor Sullivan took a roll call vote:

Mayor Sullivan, Chair – yes               

Mr. D’Agostino, Vice-Chair – yes       

Ms. Asack – yes

Ms. Mendes – yes

Mr. Minichiello – yes

Mr. Rodrigues – yes

Ms. Sullivan – yes

Mr. Sullivan – yes

School Committee Members went into Executive Session at 9:23 p.m.
                                  
Respectfully submitted,
Michael P. Thomas
Superintendent/Secretary   
 
                                        
    Attachments:
    Power point: COVID-19
    Power point:  BPS Preliminary Reopening Plans
 
    mdc