Brockton, Massachusetts
Regular School Committee Meeting
July 11, 2017 -- MINUTES

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; Mr. Minichiello, Vice-Chair; Ms. Asack,
Mr. D'Agostino, Mr. Gormley, Ms. Plant, Mrs. Sullivan, Mr. Sullivan,
Superintendent Smith

Also Present: A. Petronio, Chief Budget Officer

Mayor Carpenter called the meeting to order at 7:06 p.m. followed by a salute to the flag.

Hearing of Visitors Lizete Baptista, SEI Davis, Gitana Blaufelder, SEI Baker, Katie Panock, SEI Baker, all teachers who teach combined grade level SEI classes, addressed the committee with their concerns about the budget cuts, specifically the loss of SEI native language classroom paraprofessionals.

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; there were no requests.

Mr. Minichiello moved the Superintendent's recommendation to approve the Consent Agenda in its entirety; the motion was seconded by Mr. D'Agostino and the vote was unanimous.

Superintendent's The Superintendent opened her report with an update on advocacy. She said she is
Report very cognizant of the feeling in the district as a result of the budget deficit and advocacy is essential, we need to look at every avenue we can. She reported that at the school committee retreat held last night the committee heard from an attorney about a proposition 2 ½ override vote, and she is in discussion with other urban superintendents with respect to going forward with an equity in education lawsuit.

FY18 Budget Update
The Superintendent invited Mr. Petronio to give an update on the budget.

Mr. Petronio reported that the state has finalized its budget and it is now on the governor's desk, who has ten days to make changes before the figures are final. Earlier this evening, the Department of Revenue posted cherry sheet figures that include Chapter 70 and it appears that Brockton will only receive $178,000 over the governor's budget, he is still trying to get answers on why Brockton is not receiving more funds.

Mr. Petronio reported that as he wraps up the FY17 budget, looking at grants, there is $300,000 that he can use to increase the pre-pay of next year's SPED tuitions from $1.5 million from $1.8 million. This will free up $300,000 in the FY18 budget that the Superintendent has recommended to go into reserve funds to bring back teaching positions.

Mr. Minichiello asked Mr. Petronio for clarification on the total of FY18 reserve funds, Mr. Petronio responded that there will be about $600,000 including the $300,000 and the $178,000 he just spoke of. Mr. Minichiello asked whether the federal funds (Title I, II, III and IV) will offset some of the budget deficit, Mr. Petronio responded that they are supposed to be non-supplanting; the funds are separate from our local budget and will not affect the current budget problems.

Mr. Minichiello moved to authorize increasing the SPED prepay by $300,000, to $1.8 million from $1.5 million, Ms. Plant seconded the motion.

Voted: to approve the motion, unanimous.

Mayor Carpenter announced that the city has identified $280,000 that he will ask city council to appropriate to the schools; he asked school committee to discuss and make a recommendation about what the money will be used for that he can bring to city council. He said he does not disagree with anything that he has heard this evening, he has also heard from constituents who are looking for programs and transportation and he is hoping the committee will use the funds in these areas. He said in transportation there is currently a $500,000 deficit and without relief we will be talking about pushing out the walk zones.

Mr. Minichiello recommended splitting the funds between programs and transportation, seeing that the reserve funds will be used for instruction and he felt there may be some flexibility with First Student. He recommended that $100,000 be put toward transportation and, because middle schools have been hit very hard, he would like to bring back the middle school Empower Yourself program at a cost of $45,000 and use the remaining funds to bring back middle school sports. Mr. Thomas said intramurals at all level costs $137,000 and the middle school hybrid sports program is $135,000. Mr. Minichiello clarified that he was recommending middle school sports.

Ms. Plant suggested that the committee discuss how it would like to use these funds at a finance subcommittee meeting and asked the Mayor whether there would be time for that. Mayor Carpenter responded that he would like to bring this before city council by next Tuesday and explained that there were no real figures from the state to work with for a finance meeting tonight; for that reason the proposed date for the next finance subcommittee meeting is not until July 25th. Mr. D'Agostino asked whether a motion was needed this evening stating what the school committee would use the money for, the Mayor responded that it would be helpful to bring that to city council. Mr. Minichiello felt the school committee needed a motion in order to advocate for the funding.

Mr. Minichiello made a motion to request a $280,000 appropriation to be used $100,000 toward the transportation deficit, $45,000 to reinstate the Empower Yourself program, and $135,000 towards the middle school sports program. The motion was seconded by Mr. D'Agostino.

On the motion: Mr. Gormley suggested putting the middle school sports program on the back burner and intramurals forward because it serves children at all levels and there is greater flexibility to do more. Mayor Carpenter asked about the level of participation in both programs, Dr. Murray responded. Mayor Carpenter suggested the motion could be amended to change "middle school sports program" to "athletic programming", which could then be discussed further at the July 25th finance meeting. Mr. Minichiello said he was focusing on middle schools from an equity standpoint, Mayor Carpenter said he also has heard from parents concerned about the middle school program, he has not heard from anyone advocating for intramurals. Ms. Plant inquired about cuts to music and band instruction at elementary and middle schools; the Superintendent responded that grade 4 instrumental instruction could be impacted. Ms. Plant said she was frustrated with the cancellation of this evening's finance meeting where she felt this discussion should have happened.

Mayor Carpenter restated the motion on the floor and asked the committee to take a vote.

Voted: to approve the motion 5 – 3
In favor: Carpenter, D'Agostino, Minichiello, Ms. Sullivan, Mr. Sullivan
Opposed: Asack, Gormley, Plant

The committee agreed to schedule a finance subcommittee meeting on Tuesday, July 25th, the Superintendent said she will schedule finance meetings on every Tuesday going forward.

Kindergarten Start Date
The Superintendent reported that she would like to begin the roll back of the kindergarten start age in school year 2018-19. She talked briefly about the disadvantages to children who start at age 4 and said this is something that has been under discussion in the district for several years. She is recommending a two-year approach to the roll back that will allow parents advance notice and the district time to properly prepare for expansion of Brockton's pre-school program.

Mr. D'Agostino and Ms. Plant expressed their wholehearted support for this initiative and the two-step approach the district is taking, and said that it is good that we are offering an educational opportunity to four-year-olds with the hopes of expanding the program further in the future. Mayor Carpenter also expressed his full support of the plan.

Ms. Plant moved to approve the recommendation to adopt a two-year phase-in to roll back the kindergarten entrance age so that children must turn 5 by November 1, 2018 in the 2018-2019 school year and by September 1, 2019 in the 2019-20 school year. Mr. Sullivan seconded the motion.

Voted: to approve the motion, 8 – 0 (Mayor Carpenter cast his vote in favor)

Enrollment /Registration/Transportation Update
The Superintendent reported that she is still waiting for final budget figures with respect to buses, at this point the district is reviewing the registration policy and assigning students to neighborhood schools as we deal with a struggling transportation budget. With respect to "red zone" areas where class sizes are already high, students are being assigned at schools with lower class sizes as we try to place students equitably across the district, and added that administration will be very strategic as far as looking at where we need to bring back teachers.

She added that one issue that has come to light when reviewing registration procedures is that we need to ensure we are educating our students who live in Brockton.

With respect to transportation, she said that the goal was to be able to notify parents in the beginning of August of changes to walk-out zones and what the busing situation will be; we are still awaiting final figures.

Executive Team Changes
The Superintendent clarified some of the administrative title changes and changes to responsibilities. She also said no new administrative positions have been created.

Mr. D'Agostino inquired about the delay on calling back the 52 teaching positions; the Superintendent responded that it is a matter of strategically identifying every position before moving forward; she responded that she expects this to be completed by Friday. S

New Business Mr. Sullivan announced that he is in the process of arranging a free backpack giveaway for needy children with the assistance of Patricia Jackson. The event is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, August 26 and 27, at 10 a.m. at the Raymond School, backpacks will be given on a first come, first served basis, he estimated there will be about 200 backpacks.

Seeing no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:21 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Kathleen A. Smith, JD
Superintendent/ Secretary