JULY 24, 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 (7:25 p.m.); Mr. Minichiello, Vice-Chair; Mr. Gormley, Ms. Plant, Ms. Sullivan, Mr. Sullivan, Superintendent Smith
Absent: Ms. Asack, Mr. D'Agostino
Also Present: Executive Team Members
Mr. Minichiello called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. followed by a salute to the flag. He announced that he will chair the meeting until the arrival of Mayor Carpenter.
Mr. Minichiello explained the purpose of the Consent Agenda and asked members if they would like to remove any items for further discussion, there were no requests.
Ms. Plant moved the Superintendent's recommendation to approve the Consent Agenda in its entirety; the motion was seconded by Mr. Gormley.
- Approval of Minutes of the June 19, 2018 Regular School Committee Meeting
- Approval of Minutes of the June 19, 2018 Public Hearing on the FY19 Budget
- Approval of the June 19, 2018 Finance Subcommittee Meeting Report
- Acceptance of Notification of Non-Certified Personnel Appointments
- Acceptance of Notification of Personnel Actions: Leaves of Absence, Resignations, Retirements
Voted: to approve the motion, unanimous
FY19 Budget and Advocacy
The Superintendent gave the following update:
- The House and Senate submitted a budget to Governor Baker last week; he has ten working days from the date of receipt to make changes
- An equity in education meeting was hosted by Brockton on June 22nd which included educational consultants, attorneys, and a number of people working on our coalition; during the meeting foundation budget recommendations were looked at and the process going forward was discussed
- While attending the M.A.S.S. Leadership Conference she was approached by a number of people expressing interest in joining the coalition; they are looking for Brockton to take the lead
- Holyoke Public Schools and elected officials have asked representatives from Brockton to come to Holyoke and talk about putting together support for the lawsuit
Mr. Petronio prepared two handouts for the Committee, an updated Budget Barometer and an FY2019 Local Aid Estimates. He reported that the Conference Committee budget is on the governor's desk and, if approved, Brockton will receive 3.2 million over the governor's proposed budget, which was the figure the Mayor used to set our budget. After the cuts and reductions made to the budget, this leaves the district with a $969,000 surplus. Mr. Petronio stated that the Superintendent's priority is to put teachers back into classrooms.
The Superintendent said she expects there will be some additional funds from state hurricane reimbursement for FYI 8, calculations for poverty and ELL are still being reviewed. She acknowledged the hard work and advocacy on behalf of the school district by Brockton's legislative delegation, but said she is still frustrated with a proposal by the House to study foundation budget review recommendations on poverty and English Language Learners, the study should be completed by December 31st. Estimates for federal grants indicate a decrease in Title 1 and Title IIA funds, and an increase in Title IV funds.
The Superintendent asked the Committee to authorize the call back of up to 20 of the 46 RIF' d certified positions using the above surplus figure; she said she would like to move on this as soon as possible. She talked about the priority positions needed to open the schools and said there are still other unfilled positions that she would like to bring back.
Mr. Gormley said there is a need for school adjustment counselors and asked whether Title IV funds could be used, the Superintendent responded "yes" and added she would look into these funds. He said he believes there is also money in the governor's budget for school safety that could be used, Mr. Petronio explained that these are FYI 8 surplus funds that will be turned in grants for which communities can apply.
A discussion followed about priority positions, Mr. Sullivan offered to make the motion to call back 20 teachers: Mr. Minichiello suggested a motion to recess as the Mayor had just arrived; so moved by Mr. Sullivan, properly seconded and voted unanimous; the committee recessed at 7:25 p.m.
Mayor Carpenter reconvened the meeting at 7:30 p.m. and explained that he was at the opening of the Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Exhibit at the library. He continued the discussion on the Superintendent's request to bring back 20 teaching positions.
Mayor Carpenter asked Mr. Petronio for an update on MTA and paraprofessional positions; he said there is a need for extra help in classrooms and he is concerned about the sustainability of calling back teachers only to lay them off next year. Following the discussion, Mr. Minichiello suggested reducing the number of certified staff call backs to 14 and setting aside the remaining money to look at district needs at the next school committee meeting, at which time there should be a final budget figure. The Superintendent said she can work with that and will look at MTAs in the meantime.
Mr. Sullivan moved to bring back 14 teachers/professional staff; the motion was seconded by Mr. Minichiello.
On the motion: Mayor Carpenter asked if any of these positions were school adjustment counselors, the Superintendent responded that two guidance counselor positions were counted in. Mr. Gormley commented that perhaps school adjustment counselors can be hired with the Title IV money and/or governor's money for school safety.
Mayor Carpenter restated the motion for a vote, he said based on the discussion it appears that the 14 positions would be 12 teachers and two guidance counselors.
Voted: To approve the motion, unanimous.
Update on Gradual Closing of North Middle School for Renovations
Deputy Superintendent Thomas reported that he has received 32 transfer requests as a result of the closing of grade six at North Middle School; he has granted 18 of them based on 1) siblings, 2) space, and 3) distance to home. Parents have been told that this will continue into at least the 2nd and 3rd weeks of August while the numbers settle. The Superintendent said this has been upheaval but she believes we are headed in the right direction. The Mayor agreed and reminded the Committee that the transportation budget is still not yet fully funded, the district's plan to go back to neighborhood schools will help to reduce this expense. Ms. Plant asked if transfers will be granted if parents are willing to transport a child to a school that has space; Mr. Thomas said "yes". The Superintendent said she is pleased that this fall we will file an application with the MSBA for renovations at North. Mr. Sullivan asked the Superintendent to remind the public that grades 7 and 8 are open at North; some people have the impression that is not the case. Mr. Thomas said he will follow up on that.
Strategic Plan Update
The Superintendent reported that the strategic plan has been in draft form for several months, a districtwide curriculum audit will be done this year, new frameworks are in place based on Common Core and MCAS 2.0, she will bring this to school committee in the near future. Additionally, a support group from the Department of Education will work with the Arnone School this year and we are hopeful that our grant application for that work will be accepted.
Renaissance Advisory Board Request
The Superintendent said she has been invited to extend her participation on the Renaissance Advisory Board through September of 2019. She is seeking school committee approval.
Mr. Minichiello moved to approve the Superintendent's continued participation on the Renaissance Advisory Board for an additional year; seconded by Mr. Sullivan.
Voted: to approve the motion, unanimous.
- International Baccalaureate Program (IB) -High School IB program supervisor Todd Erickson reported that three students were awarded full IB diplomas, and 112 scores of 4 or higher on honors level subjects were achieved, these students will receive 6-8 credits in the UMASS system. The Superintendent said districts receive credit for advanced programs in the new accountability system, she said we have been discussing creating TAG programs at all of our middle schools and even expanding to the elementary level.
- The Superintendent said she will prepare a slide show and report on her superintendent's trip to Portugal.
- Congratulations to Edison Principal Dr. Cobbs and the 265 students who graduated from Edison Academy; kudos from Mayor Carpenter, Superintendent Smith and members of the school committee who attended the graduation. They praised the program for making a high school diploma available to many people who are unable to attend conventional high school.
- Congratulations to Joyce Voorhis, BHS biology teacher, who received one of the Brockton Rotary Club Outstanding Public Service awards.
- A great parent resource, the Citywide Summer Resource Guide, is available at the Brockton Public Schools office.
- We have been contacted by the office of Commissioner of Education Jeffrey Riley, notifying us that he plans to visit Brockton schools at the beginning of the school year, possibly on Opening Day.
Items to Refer to Subcommittee
The Superintendent referred a policy manual subcommittee meeting to review Human Resources policies, along with the student assignment policy; she referred a Superintendent's contract subcommittee meeting for her end-of-year evaluation. She suggested that the committee schedule a Facilities subcommittee meeting early in the fall with respect to building use.
Gilmore School Mural Project
Deputy Superintendent Thomas said he received a request in late June to have a mural painted on the Gilmore School; artist Laura DeDonato, who has done several other murals in prior years with our Summer of Work and Learning students, will oversee the project. He said this request requires the approval of the school committee because it will be on the outside of the building (to the right of the Main Office facing the ballfield).
Mr. Gormley moved to approve the mural with a start date of tomorrow; the motion was seconded by Mr. Sullivan.
Voted: to approve the motion, unanimous.
Mr. Sullivan congratulated Principal Nessralla on a successful student trip to Philadelphia where students visited museums and historical sites. The Superintendent shared postcards from the students expressing their appreciation for school committee support.
Mr. Sullivan announced that the D.W. Field Association, together with the Mayor's Office, will host a free showing of the movie " The Lion King" on Friday, July 27th at dark (somewhere around 7:30 p.m.). The movie will be shown at the gazebo, popcorn will be provided, water and soda will be sold at reasonable prices.
Seeing no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:25 p.m.
Kathleen A. Smith, JD