AUGUST 14, 2018
The Regular Meeting of the Brockton School Committee was held this evening in the George M. Romm Little Theatre at Brockton High School, at seven o'clock. These minutes contain a summary of the meeting and list items that were under discussion.
Present: Mayor Carpenter, Chair; Ms. Asack, Mr. D’Agostino, Mr. Gormley, Ms. Plant, Ms. Sullivan, Mr. Sullivan, Superintendent Smith
Absent: Mr. Minichiello
Also Present: Dr. Murray, BHS Principal, Angela Girodier, Brockton Track Club Board Member
Mayor Carpenter called the meeting to order at 7:06 p.m. followed by a salute to the flag.
Mayor Carpenter explained the purpose of the Consent Agenda and asked members if they would like to remove any items for further discussion, Mr. Sullivan removed Enclosure 2, Authorization to Submit the Massachusetts 21st Century CLC Grant.
Ms. Plant moved the Superintendent’s recommendation to approve the following remaining items on the Consent Agenda; the motion was seconded by Mr. Sullivan.
- Approval of Minutes of the July 24, 2018 Regular School Committee Meeting
- Acceptance of Notification of Personnel Actions: Leaves of Absence, Resignations, Retirements
Voted: to approve the motion, unanimous.
With respect to Enclosure 2, Mr. Sullivan asked the Superintendent for more information about the grant. Superintendent Smith explained that this is an after-school grant for four qualified elementary schools—Arnone, George, Downey and Brookfield elementary schools.
Mr. Sullivan moved to authorize submission of the CLC grant application; the motion was properly seconded.
Voted: to approve the motion, unanimous.
The Superintendent began her report with a presentation from Mr. Gormley about the Brockton Track Club. Mr. Gormley gave an overview of the program, which had a very successful second season. The program has continued to grow, this year there were 381 student athletes and 116 student coaches. He announced the newest board members, Mr. Chris McCaffrey and Ms. Angela Girodier, a recent BHS graduate and currently enrolled in college. Ms. Girodier talked about her experiences as a coach in the program.
Dr. Murray gave the following update on activities at Brockton High School:
- Freshman orientation is Thursday, August 30th, IDs and schedules will be given out
- Friday, September 7th is the football season opener with several events: people are asked to wear the school colors of red and black; a food drive in partnership with the Charity Guild will be held where people are asked to bring a can of food in lieu of purchasing a ticket to the game and donations will go to the guild’s food pantry; the class of 2019 will be kicking off their Register to Vote campaign.
- Three BHS students, Ben Chicha, Stevenson Tran, and Shannon Petit-Frere, completed successful internships at Boston hospitals as part of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center’s Young Empowered Scientists for ContinUed Research Engagement (YES for CURE) summer program. They wrote research papers for the hospitals, their supervisors were very impressed and have expressed a desired to increase the number of students from Brockton next year.
FY19 Budget Update
The Superintendent reported that the state budget was finalized on July 31st, she is disappointed with respect to the Chapter 70 budget review recommendations but said advocacy has made a difference for our students, there is some good news. She invited Mr. Petronio to give an update on the budget.
Mr. Petronio handed out a Budget Barometer with a list of FY19 Priorities. He reported that Brockton received an additional $3.2 in overall Chapter 70 funding, plus $2.9 million transitional relief money that was allocated to districts that were harmed when the state changed over to using direct certification as the method for determining low income families. The Superintendent has submitted a request to City Hall for appropriation of these funds; he said that the additional monies do not bring us back to where we were but the district is now in a better position. He reviewed the FY19 Priorities submitted by the Superintendent for the opening of schools in anticipation of receiving the appropriation.
Superintendent Smith explained that most of the priority positions have to do with large class size, she continues to watch middle school assignments which are already higher than the projected numbers. In total she is recommending fifteen priority positions plus five reserve teaching positions if needed once school opens, hiring a department head of therapeutic support in the special education department that was a “do-not-fill” position and fulfills the district’s local match obligation for SPED grants, restoring $600,000 to the substitute budget line, and using $400,000 to hire MTAs and paraprofessionals to ensure compliance. The cost would be approximately $2.1 million. The Superintendent said she would like to wait on other items until school is up and running.
Mayor Carpenter opened the floor for discussion, the following concerns were voiced:
- Keeping an eye on middle school class sizes
- Clarification on the substitute budget line – Mr. Petronio explained that the $600,000 will bring the substitute line back to approximately $1.2 million
- Hiring of MTAs and paraprofessionals – concerns were expressed about the need for additional support staff at the schools; the Committee recommended adding $200,000 to her proposed figure of $400,000 to hire back more MTAs and paraprofessionals; Mr. Petronio estimated this would fund between 20 to 25 staff. Mayor Carpenter asked the Superintendent if she was willing to lower her request for five reserve teachers to two in order to put more money toward hiring more MTAs and paraprofessionals; the Superintendent agreed.
- The need for middle school sports and after school programs, and intramurals at all levels. Mr. Petronio gave a figure of between $250,000 and $260,000 to fund the middle school programming and intramurals; Mr. Gormley said he has been working on the middle school sports program with phys. ed. department head Nick Lee and he believes there is an opportunity to improve on the previous model, he said they would have something to present by the next meeting. Mayor Carpenter asked Mr. Gormley if he would be able to bring a proposal with a cost figure to the next meeting for discussion, Mr. Gormley responded that he could.
- Mayor Carpenter suggested scheduling a finance subcommittee meeting on August 28th for a discussion on what is still needed as we prepare to start the school year; members agreed.
- Mayor Carpenter inquired about custodians; the Superintendent responded that Mr. Thomas would like to bring back four custodians with funds from unemployment savings and the overtime account. Mr. Petronio said Mr. Thomas would like to move on this quickly; Mayor Carpenter recommended adding this to the priority list since it does not require any funds; there were no objections.
- Where is the pre-K program opening and whether the Superintendent expects she may need to hire additional teachers; the Superintendent responded that the program will open at the Arnone, other expansion will be at the Downey and there is a possibility there will be a need for additional teachers.
- Increasing diversity in teaching staff
- Additional budget requests – the Superintendent said she would like to wait until after school is up and running before looking at additional budget requests, there are several items she would like to look at as well.
Mr. Petronio calculated the new cost of the priority list as $2,178,050, with changes.
Mayor Carpenter summarized the changes to the priorities as follows: Line #5 - reduce the number of reserve teaching positions from 5 to 2, and the cost to $84,000; Line #9 - increase from $400,000 to $600,000 to hire more MTAs and paraprofessionals, and add Line #10, hire four custodians using overtime and unemployment money.
Ms. Plant moved to accept the priorities on the FY19 priority list as modified: Line 5 total reduced to $84,000, Line 9 increased to $600,000, add Line 10 to bring back four custodians at no additional cost; Mr. Sullivan seconded the motion.
Voted: to approve the motion, unanimous.
The Superintendent announced that Commissioner Riley will not be able to attend the convocation ceremony on September 4th as originally planned; she is awaiting an alternate date for his visit and will inform the committee when it is received.
Items to Refer to Subcommittee
The Superintendent said she would like to present the strategic plan for review sometime in early September, she mentioned a possible fall retreat. Mayor Carpenter asked for a curriculum meeting to discuss a no-cost science-based curriculum to combat opiate abuse. He shared a flyer for the program that will be sent to school committee on Friday. Ms. Asack said she would like to have a Safety/Security/Transportation meeting scheduled.
Ms. Plant said she received notice that the Project Grads program was awarded an eightyear grant; she asked the Superintendent for an update on changes going on in the program. The Superintendent said the district is working with the YMCA and Community Schools where the responsibilities of the program will fall. She said in September we are looking to file to increase the numbers in our nursing program and she will keep the committee updated.
- Mayor Carpenter announced that there are new school police officers coming on board, most of whom will be entering the academy in September; he would like to invite them to the September 5th meeting to be introduced.
- The Superintendent congratulated all of the summer programs going on across the city and announced that Summerfest 2018 will be held on Saturday, August 18th, at BHS, 10 – 3.
- Ms. Asack announced that Cradles to Crayons has donated another 2,000 backpacks to Brockton schools, she would like to see a partnership between Brockton schools and Cradles to Crayons where clothing donations could be collected for their program. She thanked facilities staff for assisting her with storage and distribution of the backpacks.
- The Superintendent added that the Lions Club of Brockton has also been supporting our students and she will try to arrange a meeting where we can recognize both groups.
Seeing no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:25 p.m.
Kathleen A. Smith, JD
- 8/14/18 Budget Barometer with FY19 Priorities list
- 8/14/18 Enrollment Figures and District Priority Positions
- Operation Prevention drug-free living curriculum flyer