Brockton, Massachusetts Regular Meeting March 21, 2017

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 Carpenter, Chair (6:15 p.m.); Mr. Minichiello, Vice-Chair; Ms. Asack, Mr. D'Agostino, Mr. Gormley, Ms. Plant, Mr. Sullivan, Mrs. Sullivan, Superintendent Smith

Also Present: Executive Team

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

Hearing of Visitors Mr. Minichiello announced that due to time constraints he would ask speakers to keep comments to 3 minutes. The following is a list of speakers:
1) Amanda Carlson, speaking again against moving the Gilmore school;
2) Elizabeth Kahn, speaking again against moving the Gilmore School;
3) Aricelia Lombay, Huntington parent, speaking in the best interest of all children;
4) Keith Lawson, questioning the Gilmore move as a temporary fix.

Superintendent Smith gave a brief response with respect to concerns about the proposed south side school transitions and district plans moving forward.

Consent Agenda Mayor Carpenter explained the purpose of the Consent Agenda and asked members if there were any requests to remove items for further discussion; Mr. Minichiello removed Item B, the March 7, 2017 Facilities Usage and Planning Report.

Ms. Plant moved the Superintendent's recommendation to approve the following remaining items on the Consent Agenda, Mr. Gormley seconded the motion.

• March 7, 2017 Regular School Committee Meeting Minutes
• Out-of-State Field Trip: Ashfield School to Canobie Lake Park, Salem, NH
• Notification of Personnel Appointments: Non-Certified
• Notification of Personnel Actions: Leaves of Absence, Resignations Retirements

Voted: to approve the motion, unanimous.

With respect to the Item B, the report of the March 7th Facilities Subcommittee meeting, Mr. Minichiello went over the report and said that school committee took the discussion under advisement and two open houses were held at the Barrett Russell for parents to view the school, Saturday and Monday, March 18 and 20.

Mr. Minichiello moved to accept the report; Mr. Gormley seconded the motion, the vote was unanimous.

Mayor Carpenter asked if there would be any motion based on the report.

Mr. Minichiello made a motion to approve the Superintendent's recommendation to make the south side transitions as presented—Goddard to the Huntington, Huntington to the Gilmore, Gilmore to the Barrett Russell and integrate the Barrett Russell to neighborhood kindergartens; Ms. Sullivan seconded the motion.

During the discussion on the motion, Mr. Sullivan stated several times that no vote was taken at the facilities subcommittee meeting and he felt this matter should go back to subcommittee. He said it is normal procedure that a vote is taken at subcommittee then voted on by the school committee. Mr. Minichiello said with respect to whether school committee could vote on the issue tonight, procedurally nothing would prevent a vote tonight. Mayor Carpenter agreed, stating that subcommittees can vote to make a recommendation but it is not mandatory and those recommendations are not binding on the full school committee. He added that, at the subcommittee meeting, six out of the seven members of school committee were present so everyone was fully informed.

Ms. Plant said she echoed Mr. Sullivan's comments, citing from the report "it was agreed that more discussion is needed on the facility moves", and said that discussion has not happened. Mr. Minichiello replied that the discussion is going on now. She said she misunderstood that to mean there would be more communication at subcommittee, Ms. Asack said she also misunderstood. Mayor Carpenter said he did not think this was a basis for not taking a vote, members can vote no on the motion. Mr. Sullivan stated he wanted it to be clear that the facilities subcommittee did not give a recommendation with respect to the moves.

Ms. Sullivan spoke to the individuals from the involved schools, saying that she has heard all of the concerns and her vote will be for all schools in the district. She explained that moving the Goddard to the Huntington would allow that program to expand, the Gilmore was built as an elementary school and is suited for the Huntington students, and the Barrett Russell is already set up for our youngest learners. She said the committee must take into consideration how all students will benefit from this plan and school committee will certainly work with parents to help if needed.

Mr. Sullivan said when this was started it was agreed that any vote taken would put the kids first. He said that this plan will move over 1200 students to benefit 54 and he did not think it was right. He reiterated his feeling that this should be moved back to subcommittee, adding that if it goes forward he will not vote for the moves.

Mayor Carpenter said we are looking at the worst budget in his seven years of serving on the school committee, the governor's budget is decimating districts like Brockton. He said we are working very hard and very closely with our legislative delegation, this move probably saves about $1 million a year if enacted, it is a fraction of the cuts that are coming. He said the conversations that will be coming will be about laying off hundreds of employees and closing additional schools, these are the types of decisions the committee is facing trying to save a school system that is under financial siege from the state. He felt that regardless of which way the vote goes, we should not question the intent of the committee, there can be differences of opinion with all having the best interests of the children in mind. There was no further discussion.

Voted: to approve the motion, 4 -3
In favor - Minichiello, D'Agostino, Gormley, J. Sullivan
Opposed - Plant, Asack, T. Sullivan

Mayor Carpenter called a one-minute recess to allow the audience to exit.

Superintendent's Student representative Somto Onobogu gave the following report:
Report Parent teacher conferences were well attended last Thursday, ELA MCAS started today, the spring choral concert will be held this evening at 7 p.m.; spring sports tryouts have started and auditions for the spring musical begin tomorrow. She thanked Save our Sports for funding the remodel of the weight room. Mr. Gormley said he is happy to see our athletes have a state-of-the-art training room and also thanked Save our Sports.

Budget Update/Advocacy – The Superintendent reported on advocacy efforts at the state level; she said there are seven districts that are the hardest hit and she is pleased that discussions are defining the problem and also solving the problem.

Diversity Commission – The Superintendent reported that the district's action plan is still in draft form. She was pleased to report that a Grow Your Own video has been completed and she will present it at the next school committee meeting. She thanked Lynne Tartaglia from the BHS studio for producing the video and is looking for a place to unveil this to the community. The video will be used to encourage Brockton students to go into the teaching profession and bring their talents back to Brockton.

Monitor Site Visits – The Superintendent reported that this process is now completed at the Baker and Arnone Schools, the district is currently working with the Arnone School with respect to the evaluation that was done and is in the process of writing a grant that could provide additional resources at the Arnone. She is hopeful that the Baker School will see something similar.

Facilities Master Plan – The Superintendent reported that she was pleased to attend the first "think tank" meeting for the facilities master plan. She also recently spoke with a representative from the MSBA who is very interested in the high school and partnering with us as a city.

EOS Healthy Breakfast Awards – The Superintendent reported that twelve schools were awarded $500 for meeting certain criteria: Angelo, Arnone, Ashfield, Baker, Barrett Russell, Brookfield, Davis, Downey, George, Hancock, Huntington and Raymond.

Superintendent Smith also attended the following events:
• George School Clean Energy Day, in partnership with the Mass Clean Energy Center
• Daughters of the America Revolution awards, where she was given a plaque recognizing M. Sylvia Donaldson as a "woman in history." Ms. Donaldson was a teacher and principal in the Brockton schools in the 1920's, at 73 she became a member of the state legislature, and was Speaker of the House for one day.
• Community Schools basketball finals, she thanked George Louis for overseeing the programs as well as the many people who are part of the program.

Unfinished Mayor Carpenter asked the committee if there were any questions before a vote
Business would be taken to approve the 2017-18 school calendars.

Ms. Plant asked the Superintendent if the MCAS testing dates can be included on the calendar as in past years; the Superintendent responded that last year the dates were not provided in time for print, she will include them this year if possible.

Mr. Sullivan moved to approve the 2017-18 academic calendar and supplemental calendar as printed; Mr. D'Agostino seconded. The vote was unanimous.


New Business Report of the March 16, 2017 Finance Subcommittee Meeting
Mr. Minichiello gave the following report of the March 16th Finance meeting:
The Finance subcommittee met on March 16th at 7:30 p.m. at the Arnone School. Discussed at the meeting was the state of the budget. Three motions were approved - a motion to close the FY17 budget, a motion to implement a hiring freeze with the Superintendent's discretion effective immediately, and a motion to offer the following early retirement incentives (BEA $25,000, administrative assistants $20,000, custodians $20,000, MTAs $15,000, paraprofessionals $14,000, non-union is negotiable).

There was also discussion about cost savings and the overall budget implications with regard to the south side transition, the Superintendent talked to the committee about budget implications with respect to the different areas in a pie chart and the committee discussed the consequences of not making changes to the structure of the BPS and how that would have negative implications with regard to actual teaching positions and staff members with regard to potential layoffs for the upcoming year.

Mr. Minichiello moved to approve the report; the motion was seconded by Mr. Sullivan; the vote was unanimous.

Mr. Minichiello asked the committee to approve the following recommendations from the meeting in one block; there were no objections.

Mr. Minichiello made the following motions:
1) To close the FY17 school department budget to all discretionary spending
2) To approve a hiring freeze, with the Superintendent's discretion, effective immediately
3) To approve retirement incentives with a due date of April 14, 2017, in the following amounts: BEA - $25,000, Administrative Assistants - $20,000, Custodians - $20,000, MTAs - $15,000, Paraprofessional - $14,000, Non-Union – negotiable.

Mr. Sullivan seconded the motions, the vote was unanimous.

• Mr. Minichiello shared a note of thanks from Donna Migdal.
• Ms. Sullivan announced that Ainsley Rose Wilson was born to former school committee member Allisha Clark Wilson on March 16th.
• Mr. D'Agostino thanked Huntington Principal Marybeth O'Brien for the creative efforts to attract more parent involvement; she has moved the times of PTO meetings and the results have been very positive.

There being no other New Business, the meeting adjourned at 7:06 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Kathleen A. Smith, JD
Superintendent/ Secretary