Wednesday, August 8, 2012

CTES Board Meeting Minutes 7/17/12

Board Present: Gene Bont – Chair, Sharon Huntley, Stuart Lindberg

Administration Present: Linda Waite – Superintendent, George Thomson – Principal, Sherri Nichols-Buckley – WSWSU Curriculum Coordinator

Public Present: Peggy Svec, Connie Kendall, Christine Balch, K.P. Whaley –LPCTV, Joe Vulo, Jen Leak, Deb O’Brien, Brian Benoit, Janet Currier – Recording Secretary

Call to Order: Gene called meeting to order at 5:38 p.m. while waiting for a quorum to arrive.

While waiting for board member to arrive, Stuart read aloud an article about change in school governance that was written by Steven Dale the Executive Director of Vermont School Boards Association. In 2013 the Department of Education will become the Agency of Education. The Commissioner of Education will become the Secretary of Education. These will then fall under the administration of the Governor. Gene Bont said the board will try to keep the public informed on progress in this area.

Comments From the Community: None.

Linda Waite then introduced Sherri Nichols-Buckley to those present. Sherri has taken over as the new Curriculum Coordinator for the Supervisory Union. She has a Masters Degree and is working on her Doctorate. She has been a middle school teacher and the Assistant Principal at Flood Brook Union School for several years. Sherri said she hopes to make Cavendish Town Elementary School stronger with the Literacy Project. She will be working with Peggy Svec tomorrow on Literacy.

Sharon Huntley arrived so there is now a quorum of the Board.


  • Hiring of Food Service Personnel: George said there is a position open in the food service area. He is recommending that they hire Lori Jones back. She took a one year leave of absence.
  • Hiring of Para-Professional: George said he is not prepared to do this as of this meeting. This is not a new position, it was a shared position and they would like to hire one person to do this job.

Update on Professional Development for FANS Unit: George said they would like to have David Levin come back to Cavendish to do Literacy Workshops with Cavendish teachers Peggy Svec, Connie Kendall, and Beth Walker. Peggy has been communicating with David to schedule a time. David has been looking at materials we are using and will be making some recommendations. Peggy will be working with Sherri and also Donna Bonang. David Levin will work with the school during the school year to develop a good solid reading program. Christine Balch asked if one day will be sufficient for Peggy to work with David. George said he is not sure, but Peggy can have more help if she needs it and will have other sources of resources as well. Sherri showed the programs they will be working with and said she will be at the teacher’s beck and call. Joe Vulo said he thought that the parents were under the assumption that there would be several weeks of interaction with David Levin over the summer, not just one day. Linda said David Levin said he would help construct a program for the FANS unit to teach reading. He is going to guide us with his expertise developing this reading program. Linda said there will also be webinars on the computer and conferences Peggy can attend. This is Sherri’s area of expertise as well. Christine Balch asked if Peggy would avail herself of the webinars and conferences and Peggy said yes for some of them. Christine said she is just concerned about the time frame of only a few weeks until school starts again. Linda said we are going to move forward with this as it is in the best interest of students.

Update on 7th Grade Math Program: George said he has talked to the parents of the student they are concerned about for a transitional math program. They are looking at the Vermont Virtual Learning Consortium. Green Mountain is using this program this summer. He said a definite decision on this issue has not been made to date. Green Mountain is considering this course when school starts instead of a textbook. He is trying to collaborate with parents to keep them involved. Linda said George has been doing an incredible amount of research on this issue and he is going to go to Green Mountain to observe this program. Jen Leak asked how home work is handled with the use of I-Pads. George said that is one of the questions he has asked but no answers yet. Peggy said that she felt parents should get data on the virtual classes for their own information and to help make a decision.

Joint S.U. Merger/Consolidation Update: Gene said it is actually happening! One meeting has been held and another will be held tomorrow afternoon from 2:00 TIL 5:00 p.m. at Green Mountain in the Library. Each school has a representative. He said the “baby was born without a name”, and he feels the Transitional Board wants to name it soon. Linda said the new S.U. began on July 11, 2012, with a board of 23 members and the Transitional Board members were elected. The Internal Planning Team will meet tomorrow, July 18th. The Co-Chairs are Alison DesLauriers of WSWSU and Bob Herbst of RWSU. Steve Dale of VSBA will be hired to work with the Transitional Board. The new S.U. Board will meet the third Thursday of each month and the locations will rotate. The next meeting will be held on August 16th at Black River High School. They are looking for suggestions for a new S.U. name to choose from. If anyone has ideas please send it to the Chair of your school board. Stuart read the Board goals for the new Transition Board. He said there is a lot of energy in this board. He said the Board said they need to be financially responsible to the taxpayers. He feels this is all good for our kids. Gene said we only have one year to get this new S.U. in shape.

Principal Report: George said he has submitted about 20 e-mails to a Canadian Company regarding our roof. He finally reached them by phone to find out that all the documents and pictures he e-mailed did not go into their files. He said they are having a problem getting a copy of the Invoice from HP Cummings that the shingle company wants. HP Cummings is looking into getting this invoice for us. George said that Disability Rights Vermont visited CTES to make sure we are in compliance with regulations for Vermont. One thing they were checking for is if we are in compliance for being a voting location and the second item is to see if CTES is in compliance as an emergency shelter. George said he will be receiving a report and then it will be up to the school or town to make the improvements if they want to. One item is to get a generator installed. George said he and Irene are working to get their budget set up. Since the S.U. decided not to have the Special Education costs come out of the S.U. budget this year they have a chunk of money that has to be re-distributed in the CTES budget. He said the CTES summer services are taking place and 12 students are involved. The teachers are involved in attending conferences, workshops and responsive school training. The teacher I-pads are in and teacher training is to start tomorrow. George said they are busy getting ready for the opening of school – August 27th for staff and August 29th for students. George will be at a conference on Friday then away for a week. He will attend a Principal’s Conference and a Leadership Academy. He and Irene have been in and out of the school, so please e-mail or call first to make sure they are in if anyone needs to see them.

Superintendent Report: Linda reported that the Vermont Department of Education will release the Annual Yearly Progress report on August 6th for the public. She said there are several new S.U. employees. Sherri Nichols-Buckley – Curriculum Coordinator for the Supervisory Union, Christopher Adams – Business Manager replacing Meredith Austin and Linda is replacing David Adams. She said there have been family medical emergencies and family deaths for two of the central office employees and these two have been out of the office for a few weeks. She thanked Janet Currier for filling in at the office and for taking board minutes during their absence. Linda said she will be away next week. She brought an article for the board members titled “School Administrators in the Crossfire”. She said all Vermont Superintendents received this today from Jeff Francis – Executive Director of the Vermont Superintendent Association. Linda felt this was important reading for the board members. Christine Balch asked if the Annual Yearly Progress results would be discussed at the August meeting and she was told yes. Gene said after reading the newspaper articles he feels that Cavendish Elementary School and the board are very fortunate to have had George as our Principal for so many years. He thanked George for all his years of service.

Other Business: Stuart said that he is concerned about chaos in the financial services at CTES during the merger process. He asked for a one year waiver to keep CTES financial services at CTES. Sharon said she would like to discuss this further as she feels asking to do this would be counter-productive to the merger. Stuart said his concern is what it will cost CTES for the financial services, and we don’t have direct control over the financial services. He wants to be convinced that it will be more efficient to move our finances to the Supervisory Union central office. Linda said a waiver would have to be submitted by the Supervisory Union to the Vermont Department of Education to have the financial services remain at CTES. She said that earlier meetings of the two Supervisory Unions developed a footprint for what costs will be. She realizes that as a new board member, Stuart was not at these meetings. The savings to WSWSU will be in the area of $300,000.00. She also said that you cannot have a motion now for a Supervisory Union that won’t come into being until July 1, 2013. Discussion ensued.

Executive Session: None.

Adjournment: Sharon moved adjournment, Stuart seconded. Meeting adjourned at 7:20 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Janet Currier, Recording Secretary

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