SCHOOL COMMITTEE RETREAT
JANUARY 26, 2019
A Brockton School Committee Retreat was held on Saturday, January 26, 2019 at 8:00 a.m. in the Professional Development Room at West Middle School in Brockton, MA. These minutes contain a summary of the retreat and list items that were under discussion.
Present: Mr. Minichiello, Vice-Chair; Ms. Asack, Mr. D'Agostino, Mr. Gormley, Ms. Plant, Ms. Sullivan, Mr. Sullivan, Superintendent Smith
Also Present: Deputy Superintendent Michael P. Thomas, Chief Academic Officer June Saba-Maguire, Chief Budget Officer Aldo Petronio, Executive Director of Assessment and Accountability Dr. Ethan Cancell, Chief of Student Support Services Sharon Wolder, Executive Director of Human Resources Dr. Kathleen Moran, District Communications Officer Michelle Bolton, Coordinator of Title I Karen McCarthy, Pre-K-5 Coordinator of Math and Science Dr. Heather Ronan, Coordinator of Elementary Literacy and Social Studies K-5 Dr. Julianne Andrade, BEA Representative Kim Gibson.
Mr. Minichiello opened the retreat at 8:20 a.m. asking Superintendent Smith to review the agenda. Superintendent Smith thanked School Committee members and Executive Team members for attending the retreat. Superintendent Smith reviewed concerns in the district related to lack of funding, the need for technology for students, keeping focus on the budget and expressed full support of school committee members moving the district forward.
Agenda Item #2 - Budget Update
Mr. Petronio used the MassBudget analysis of education funding PowerPoint presentation to show the decline in funding for public education. Mr. Petronio discussed gaps between what the foundation budget provides compared with Brockton factors. The chart showed gaps between actual number of teachers Brockton employs compared to what the foundation budget provides, we are having to pull funding from other areas to cover costs. Brockton Public Schools enrollment has also declined and that has impacted our funding. We are looking into PreK at providing daycare for half-day students or piloting one fullday PreK, funding per-pupil is $12,900. The FY2020 budget deficit is being projected at $5.1 million but we are hopeful for more funding.
Discussion included efforts to capture low income students through other sources and cities required contributions to the school budget. Mr. D’Agostino asked for a comparison of similar districts that shows the level of cities contributions.
Substitute budget – A request for $680,000 is needed to fill the deficit in the substitute budget that was submitted to the Mayor in November, we are waiting to receive information from the city council for approval of funding. Mr. Petronio projected the line item will be depleted by the end of February. Superintendent Smith said the school committee will need to advocate for these funds with the Mayor and City Council, Mr. Minichiello will follow-up with the Mayor next week.
Agenda Item #3 - Substitute Pay
Dr. Kathleen Moran presented a proposed increase in the substitute teacher pay schedule. This is approximately an 18% increase over last year’s budget of $200,000. She noted that all substitutes are required to have two years of college, fingerprinting, CORI’d and attend an orientation session. Discussion will be brought to the Finance Subcommittee meeting for a vote on February 12, 2019.
Agenda Item #4 - North Middle School and Huntington School
Deputy Superintendent Thomas will go before the City Council on Monday, January 28, 2019 to get permission to file the application for funding. Mr. Dennis Eaniri is supporting the Huntington School application and Ms. Joyce Asack is supporting the North Middle School application. The Huntington School Statements of Interest (SOI) application is due Friday, February 15, 2019 for the complete roof renovation. The North Middle School Statement of Interest (SOI) application is due Monday, April 15, 2019 for the complete renovation.
We should receive approval information on the Huntington School by April or May, North Middle School by June or July. If North Middle School application is not accepted by the MSBA, the subcommittee will need to meet for discussion of in-house renovations.
Mr. Minichiello and Mr. Gormley agreed that we need to focus on Brockton High School renovations after upgrading the Huntington and North Middle School.
Agenda Item #5 - Coordinate Program Review (CPR) - SPED/Civil Rights
Ms. Sharon Wolder gave an update on Mid-Cycle Coordinated Program Review by DESE. The review focuses on compliance with federal and state laws in selected areas of Civil Rights (CR); Special Education(SE); English Learner Education (ELE) and Career Vocational Technical Education (CVTE). The review requires the district to complete a self-assessment, participate in a site visit and create corrective action plans for areas of concern. Three years ago, Brockton Public Schools underwent the full CPR review process. Currently, the school system is completing the Mid Cycle Review process, which targets specific criterion from the full cycle process.
Ms. Plant asked will DESE send a report. Ms. Wolder responded yes, DESE will send a report with information to implement a corrective action plan if needed.
Agenda Item #6 - Turnaround Schools/Teaching and Learning Team
Ms. June Saba-Maguire, Dr. Ethan Cancell, Ms. Karen McCarthy, Dr. Heather Ronan and Dr. Julianne Andrade presented a PowerPoint of a Turnaround plan, the requirements and expectations. Brockton Turnaround plans will be reviewed for approval by DESE and will include feedback to the district and individual schools. They are eligible to receive Turnaround Assistance Grant (TAG) funding to support Turnaround planning and/or implementation efforts. The district will receive professional development through Dr. Jon Saphier’s organization Research for Better Teaching (RBT), which is dedicated to improving classroom teaching and school leadership. It works to strengthen organizational culture and to institutionalize the study of teaching within school and throughout school districts. Dr. Jon Saphier is the author of High Expectations Teaching: How We Persuade Students to Believe and Act on “Smart Is Something You Can Get”.
Superintendent Smith invited School Committee members and Executive Team members to a meeting with State Legislators on Friday, February 8, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. in her conference room.
Superintendent Smith reminded School Committee members of three Subcommittee meetings on February 12, 2019 at BHS beginning at 6:00 p.m.
An Op Ed article titled “Do Your Job” was handed out to all. The article addresses the Education Reform Act of 1993 which was intended to address funding inequities across the Commonwealth and create a “level educational playing field” between affluent and poor communities. Brockton was the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit that spawned ed reform and the resulting foundation budget and is acutely aware of the benefits associated with improved funding in the years following the passage of the Ed Reform Act. As we continue to move forward it is completely reasonable to expect our governor and legislature to work together to revise an outdated funding formula and implement longoverdue recommendations to ensure equity in education.
The retreat adjourned at 12:15 p.m.
Kathleen A. Smith, JD