June 10, 2020 (Special Meeting)

Brockton, Massachusetts
Special School Committee Meeting
June 10, 2020
Live Stream

PDF VERSION

The Special School Meeting of the Brockton School Committee was held this evening, at six o'clock.  These minutes contain a summary of the meeting and list items that were under discussion.

Mayor Sullivan called the meeting to order at 6:01 p.m., followed by a salute to the flag.

Mayor Sullivan, Chair read the following information for the record.  

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic and State of Emergency, on March 12, 2020, Governor Baker issued an Executive Order Temporarily Suspending Certain Provisions of the Open Meeting Law, G.L. c. 30A sec. 20. Pursuant to the Order, public bodies are temporarily relieved from the Open Meeting Law’s requirement that meetings be held in public places, open and physically accessible to the public, so long as measures are taken to ensure public access to the bodies' deliberations "through adequate, alternative means."

This meeting will be held and will be accessible to the public via Brockton Community Access, Brockton Public Schools website, www.bpsma.org, YouTube and Comcast channel 12

The public can access this meeting via this link: www.youtube.TheBrocktonChannels

Mayor Sullivan, Chair took a roll call vote under the revised open meeting law.

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 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                                    
    
Also Present:  Executive Team Members, Kim Gibson BEA President, Richard Bath

Mayor Sullivan thanked Brockton Community Access for all their efforts in facilitating our zoom meetings and Malinda Campbell, Executive Assistant to the Superintendent and all her efforts it’s a daunting task and you do it so well.

Mayor Sullivan also acknowledged Superintendent Thomas, Kim Gibson BEA Representative and administrators.

Mayor Sullivan began with agenda #1 Report of the Finance budget.

#1 Report of the Finance Budget


Superintendent Thomas spoke briefly on the Finance Subcommittee meeting held on Tuesday, June 9, 2020.  He reported that the net school spending allocation is $165,927,020.  Mr. Petronio provided a non-net school spending figure of $11,553,365. This figure allows us to have a level funded budget minus 5%.  A lot of work and research was done by Mayor Sullivan, School Committee, Executive Team, City CFO Troy Clarkson, BPS CFO Aldo Petronio, BEA President Kim Gibson talking to people across the state to put this number together conservatively, not knowing exactly what the Chapter 70 allocation is. Some cities are going with a 10% cut, others are going with a 15% cut and we were able to get a 5% cut in level funding which required a lot of work to minimize the number of RIF’s notices that we need to send out.  We are not happy in having to do this especially when we had a Governor’s budget in January and we were expected to receive approximately $22 million dollars.  At that time the school committee already approved the hiring of 93 teaching and counseling positions and 6 paraprofessionals to fill in kindergarten classroom. Unfortunately, we had a pandemic and now we’re dealing with a budget where cuts will have to be made.


Vice-Chair Mr. D’Agostino gave a summary of the Finance Subcommittee meeting.  The committee discussed and deliberated the FY21 budget.  Two votes were taken, net school spending and non-net school spending (busing/transportation):  

•    Net school spending of $165,927,020 – vote:  unanimous  
•    Non-net school spending of $11,553,365 – vote:  1 no, 7 yes in favor   

Mayor Sullivan, Superintendent Thomas, City CFO Troy Clarkson and BPS CFO Aldo Petronio provided a summary and background information.  Members of the committee were given a chance to ask questions and comments.

A unanimous vote was taken on reduction in force:


•    Several do not fill positions (attrition or retirement) across several bargaining units
•    24 certified staff
•    15 paraprofessionals
•    6 MTA’s
•    4 Administrators (either retirement or RIF’s)

Comments and question on those measures as well and then the meeting concluded.

Superintendent Thomas went over some numbers and mentioned again after all the hard work the number of cuts could have been in the hundreds as we are seeing across the state.  The numbers mean a lot and he wants to make it clear that no one feels good about having to make cuts.  He is hopeful that this budget gets better when a Chapter 70 number is given, so that we can begin to bring people back.

•    20 certified retirement, 20 early certified retirements with the incentive
•    24 RIF notices, 5 BEA alternative career leave
•    30 paraprofessional positions eliminated
•    30 MTA positions eliminated
•    15 long term and permanent positions (some are BEA positions)

Comment

Mr. Minichiello reported that he was having technical difficulties during the Finance Subcommittee held yesterday and had to cast his vote on non-net school spending via text to Vice-Chair Mr. D’Agostino.  He wanted to explain his no vote.  He felt he just could not vote to decrease the busing budget.  He acknowledged that Mayor Sullivan is working extremely hard to find money to make the budget work and hopes that there will be money for busing in the future.  

Mr. D’Agostino commented that all members agree that we have safety concerns and hope money will come in and allow us to restore.  Unfortunately, in past years we have been in the same position having to initially have a shortage in the transportation budget and work through that.  It’s unfortunate we have no commitment on Chapter 70 funding and have to essentially make a decision between shorting transportation or sending out approximately 40/50 reduction in force notices.  This is the position that we are in with the information we have in front of us at this time and as that information changes we will be able to move forward and hopefully restore all the things that we’ve had to take out of this budget.  As a reminder what we do tonight is not the final number at all and we hope to be able to take care of concerns regarding the budget in the next coming weeks.   

#2 Approval of FY2021 Budget


Mr. D’Agostino moved to recommend the FY2021 NET School Spending budget request of $165,927,020 as proposed by the Finance Subcommittee of the School Committee and recommended that the Mayor consider this funding request in his preparation of the City of Brockton FY21 Mayor’s Recommend City Budget.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Minichiello.

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.

Mr. D’Agostino moved to recommend the FY21 NON-NET School Spending budget request of $11,553,365 as proposed by the Finance Subcommittee of the School Committee and recommended that the Mayor consider this funding request in his preparation of the City of Brockton FY21 Mayor’s Recommended City Budget.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Sullivan.

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 – no                        Mr. Rodrigues – yes
Ms. Sullivan – yes                        Mr. Sullivan – yes                    

                                    Voted:  to approve the motion, 7 – yes, 1 – no.

                            #3 Re-opening plan for September
Superintendent Thomas discussed the re-opening plans for September where he will present his powerpoint at the next School Committee meeting put together by the District Design Team that consists of 30 members of the school district:  teachers, administrators, guidance counselors, adjustment counselors, Kim Gibson BEA President, Executive Team Members. Superintendent Thomas will work with Vice-Chair Mr. D’Agostino to ask for two members of the School Committee to join this working group. It’s important that School Committee members have a voice on how we’re going to re-open to be able to report back to our parents and our other stakeholders, we will also add parents to the stakeholders working group.               
        
Superintendent Thomas reported that the Department of Education sent guidance on Friday regarding PPE (personal protective equipment) that is needed in the fall to re-open school. They also sent re-opening guidance that was related to open summer school classes.  

                            #4 Graduation dates for the class of 2020
Superintendent Thomas thanked school committee members and parents for their patience in making the decision to give our 2020 graduates from Brockton High, Edison Academy, Keith Center and Huntington giving the best graduation they deserve.  We have approximately 1500 students that will graduate. We will go forward with the virtual ceremony. We have several JROTC students that are leaving for the military.  

Superintendent Thomas, Mayor Sullivan, Dr. Rick Herman, Linda Cahill and Vice-Chair Mr. D’Agostino met at Marciano Stadium to look at and plan a physical ceremony. If numbers continue to tread down with COVID-19 cases we will move forward with a physical graduation ceremony July 24th, 25th and 26th following the guidelines. Superintendent Thomas thanked Dr. Murray, Dr. Cobbs, Principal Burns, Principal Lander and Ken Thompson for putting a lot of work into this.  He also thanked Mayor Sullivan and the School Committee members for continuing to have conversations to do what’s best for our students, keeping them at the forefront.


Questions/Answers


•    Do we know the building order for graduation?
Information will be available next week.

•    Will students receive their diploma that day?
Yes, we have ordered duplicate diplomas for virtual and in person ceremony.

•    What is the virtual graduation date and time?
Saturday, June 27 and the time is TBD.

•    Are the yearbooks ready?
The printing company should have them available in time for distribution.

•    Do we have a number of military students graduating and perhaps we can do something for those who are unable to attend the physical graduation in July?
There are 22 students joining the military.

Mr. D’Agostino motioned to have an in-person graduation ceremony date to July 24th, 25th and 26th, 2020 with proper social distancing graduation ceremony at Marciano Stadium, 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.
            
                            #5 New Business
Superintendent Thomas reminded all that tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m. is the virtual Senior Award ceremony and thanked Dr. Murray and the high school administration in planning this event.

Mr. Rodrigues asked if the Board of Health is providing the school department with address relative to
COVID-19 to cross reference students for the planning of school opening.  Superintendent Thomas said that we have not received information.  Mayor Sullivan confirmed the HIPPA that was recently ratified by Governor Baker only allows the Board of Health to provide “hot houses” that have positive confirmed cases.  This information will be given to police and fire departments.

Mayor Sullivan gave a COVID-19 update. To date we have over 4,000 total cases and lost 2 additional Brockton residents giving a total of 246 loss of lives to COVID-19.  Good news is that we are under 800 on current active cases, 2 ½ weeks ago active cases were 2,900 and the trend is going down.  Dr. Herman the pandemic medical consultant is concerned of a second surge. The peaceful protests may increase the numbers and maybe it won’t we don’t know.  COVID-19 testing at Brockton High school is down to three days a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, just this past Monday only 20 people had testing appointments this appears to be trending in the right direction.

Mr. D’Agostino apologized that during motion for the in-person graduation, that he left out some schools in error and looks forward to celebrating all our seniors.  

Mr. Sullivan asked Superintendent Thomas if we need to take a vote on the revised draft calendar?
No, it was done formally at the last school committee meeting and only September 14th date was changed due to Marathon Monday being cancelled.  

Mr. Sullivan asked about the Senior Award ceremony.
It is scheduled for tomorrow morning beginning at 9:30 a.m. zoom information will be sent to all members.

Mayor Sullivan thanked each one especially Mr. Rodrigues and Ms. Mendes as they are the two newest members of the school committee for having to endure the pandemic and financial uncertainty.  He thanked Superintendent Thomas and BPS CFO Aldo Petronio for being great partners working together diligently.  He shared his sentiments with Mr. Minichiello, having children that take the bus here at BPS.  He said we are not taking anything lightly, not any loss of jobs, we are hopeful that State House on Beacon Hill comes through with Chapter 70 funding that makes sense and helps us.  We will not hesitate to file the lawsuit as other municipalities will join us on that pledge.  Congressman Lynch shared information and strongly believes federal dollars will come to the City of Brockton.  Mayor Sullivan thanked everyone for their leadership, friendship and public service to Brockton.

Ms. Asack asked do we have a date for students to pick up their belongings?
Superintendent Thomas responded, all Principal’s will reach out directly to all families with pick up time information next week.    

 

Seeing no further business Ms. Sullivan motioned to adjourn, seconded by Ms. Asack.
                                
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                    

Meeting adjourned at 6:50 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
 Michael P. Thomas
Superintendent/Secretary   
 
                                    mdc