January 2, 2019
• Roof replacement at the HS is complete
• Construction of the HS mantrap does not need to be overseen by a building committee project.
Teaching and Learning
Chuck Hershon, assistant principal at the middle school, updated how STEAM Committee work is making its way into classrooms across the district. Last year a shift was made to create collaborative action teams (CATs) that worked on several projects last year: the development of an AP Computer Science program, a re-design of the media center at Wells Road, the implementation of iPad carts at Kelly Lane and Steam Day at the middle school. This year, CAT goals are to create a STEAM database of activities that teachers can draw from within the district, expand Computer Science offerings, and grow Google and teacher technologies by exploring how to apply these tools. Google representatives will be coming to the Jan. 15 professional development day to work with teachers.
Students from the middle school and high school have joined the CATs this year. Steam Day at the middle school this year will be an entire day of STEAM-based activities and a steam career fair has also been incorporated to share steam related career pathways with students.
A motion was made by Jenny Emery and seconded by Sarah Thrall to adopt the consent agenda. This motion passed with one abstention (Melissa Migliaccio).
A motion was made by Rosemarie Weber and seconded by Mark Fiorentino that the board approve the following courses: Chemistry of Art; General Portfolio I and II; 3D Studio III; and, 3D Studio IV. Mr. Tranberg stated the new course in this list is Chemistry of Art that was previously a club that demanded a lot of student and teacher time and had a high level of rigor. Ms. Hecht and Ms. Paton saw this as an opportunity for a new course. Other changes are in course level from academic to honors trying to create the appropriate pathway for students to take AP level courses. Dwaritha Ramesh inquired if honors credit could be given to students who take courses at Asnuntuck Community College. Currently they only receive academic credit for a college level course. This motion passed unanimously at 7:25 p.m.
FY20 Plus One Budget
Dr. Addley presented the FY20 Plus One Budget to the board. The Plus One plans five years ahead and includes operating and quality and diversity (Q&D) budgets as well as small/large capital projects. This document should be used as a framework to set the budget discussion.
Q&D is essentially done in this document but is presented as a separate agenda item in February for more detail. There has been an average of a 3.77 percent increase over the years. This Plus One comes in at 4.83 percent. The base budget is at +2.47 percent; new programs (not including special education positions) is at +0.95 percent; Special Education +0.76 percent; Q&D +0.58 percent; +.40 all other line items, a negative from retirement savings of -0.33 percent, and a 0 percent savings in enrollment. Dr. Addley stated assumptions are made from transportation to health to salaries (built in a Master’s step 5). The special education number listed in the memo is typically a very high number due to outplacements. The overall 0.76 percent increase includes positions needed for next year as well as outplacements. District enrollment is down 44 students for FY20. The Q&D budget numbers do not include the possibility of adding preschool students. This cannot be included in the budget until the Board decides to do so.
January 15, 2019
Business Manager’s Report
Dr. Addley presented the December statement of accounts. General education realized a savings of $175K and although the forecast for special education continues to be unfavorable, the change from last month is favorable due to savings in out-of-district transportation and special education teaching assistants. There were additional savings of $100K in employee benefits on the general education side as well as a realized savings in HSA deposits and retirements. An additional $839K in revenue for the town is due to unanticipated funding from ECS that is basically a $400K difference to the good.
Schools in the Spotlight
Kristin LaFlamme and Caroline Martin, fifth grade teachers, and Meredith Kamis, third grade teacher, at Wells Road Intermediate School, and some of their students presented Celebrations of Writing to the board. Celebrations are different for each grade level with 5th graders writing memoirs, 3rd graders writing short stories and sharing with 5th grade and 4th graders writing narrative stories.
Annual High School Athletic Presentation
Brian Maltese, High School Athletic Director, presented the Annual High School Athletic Report to the board. Maltese stated the 2018-19 year has been very successful thus far and 73 percent of athletes have achieved honor roll status. In the fall, six out of seven varsity teams participated in the state finals.
He reviewed the 15 different sports offered for girls and 14 sports offered for boys. This year two girls participated on the football team and two girls on the wrestling team. Participation numbers have remained steady over the past three years and 320 students participate in at least one sport. He stated 19 of 22 students from the Choice Program are participating in a sport this year.
He reviewed the athletic budget over the past four years and stated there is about a $12K increase for next year, which consists mostly of coaching salary increases, officials and transportation costs. He recommended continuation of the $5K contribution toward the football program. Maltese informed the board he was recently contacted by the CIAC regarding a co-op with Canton High School as their football numbers have been decreasing over the past few years and they may not be able to field a program in the future. He stated he had an initial discussion with Canton administration and the football league voted not to support a co-op program.
Jenny Emery inquired what percent of the student population is on the honor roll. She stated she is also interested in knowing how much would it cost if Granby paid for all athletic volunteers. Sarah Thrall inquired about opportunities for girls to compete on a girls’ team or co-op girls’ team for swimming. Maltese stated he would like to survey the current girl swimmers to see what they would like to do if offered the option.
Plus One Budget
The board continued to discuss the FY20 Plus One Budget. A motion was made by Jenny Emery and seconded by Brandon Webster that the Granby Board of Education approve the FY20 Plus One Budget and move it forward to the Three-Board Meeting on January 22, 2019. Lynn Guelzow stated she is concerned the district is compromising general education by scrutinizing purchase orders for the sake of the special education deficit. Addley stated there have been no budget cuts but rather scrutinizing all expenses including special education. Guelzow inquired how confident is the district that enrollment will decrease 4.9 percent over the next five years. Addley stated the numbers were adjusted accordingly.
New Course Proposals and Changes
The board discussed the approval of new courses and course changes.
Motion #1: A motion was made by Rosemarie Weber and seconded by Sarah Thrall that the Granby Board of Education adopt the following courses: Pre-AP Algebra I, Pre-AP English and Pre-AP Visual Arts. Rosemarie Weber stated Granby was selected by the College Board to take part in the pilot program for Pre-AP courses. These courses would be opened up to all students and supports a pathway to take AP courses in their high school career. The subcommittee agreed to do this for three courses but it is a package deal. Pre-AP Visual Arts–College Board would present the district with a framework that will enhance the current color and design art course. Pre-AP Algebra I replaces Algebra 1A in 8th and Algebra 1B in 9th and the Algebra I course currently being offered at GMHS. This is a two-year pilot program offered in 9th grade the first year and will likely expand to middle school students the second year.
Christopher Tranberg stated one of the goals of the program is to better position students to take AP courses. Weber stated the subcommittee asked a lot of questions about the program and the benefit to Granby students. She stated the subcommittee felt that having the College Board work with us increases the rigor for all students, which is in line with the district’s equity goals.
Guelzow stated her biggest concern of the three courses is the Pre-AP English course. Migliaccio stated this program is attractive to her because 1) College Board AP is the gold standard; one of 100 schools selected; benchmarks are provided for the courses throughout the year. She stated it also fits perfectly with the charge given to the board by the Equity Taskforce.
Mark Fiorentino inquired about the budgetary impact going forward. Christopher Tranberg stated it is $4K per course with an additional $2K for training and course materials. Addley stated this amount will be in the base going forward. Jenny Emery expressed her concern regarding English and stated she would not like to see the same thing happen to English that happened to Big History but stated she is comfortable going forward as College Board supplies the curriculum, assessments and benchmarks. Fiorentino stated he would like to see a flowchart in how students progress through courses. This motion passed unanimously at 8:38 p.m.
MOTION #2: A motion was made by Rosemarie Weber and seconded by Lynn Guelzow that the Granby Board of Education approve the elimination of the course English 11 Honors. Weber stated she remembers, as the longest sitting member of the board, when the English 11H was eliminated from the program of studies and caused considerable angst among parents and students.
This course has not run the last seven years due to the low number of students enrolled in the course. As a result of that, English Honors has not been looked at for a curriculum revision. If it were to run in the future, it would require a complete revision. Concerns in subcommittee are that a lot of students take AP or an academic course in their senior year if there is no honors course to choose from. Emery stated she would like to see the course stay to see what happens with the new model and if students would even be taking academic English necessarily after taking Pre-AP English. Migliaccio stated she is generally not in favor of eliminating this course and feels this can be revisited next year. Sarah Thrall stated she is in favor of keeping the course for students who may want to stretch themselves in their junior year and take an honors course. Guelzow is in favor of eliminating the course as she does not feel re-creating the course is a good use of the district’s resources. Dr. Addley stated he feels leaving the course the way it is currently is fine. This motion did not pass with two votes (Lynn Guelzow, Melissa Migliaccio) to five votes (Jenny Emery, Mark Fiorentino, Sarah Thrall, Rosemarie Weber, Brandon Webster).
MOTION #3: A motion was made by Rosemarie Weber and seconded by Sarah Thrall that the Granby Board of Education approve the course level change in Calculus from academic to honors level. Weber stated the calculus course on the books as an academic course has been a mischaracterization for years; hence, the change from academic to honors. Guelzow stated she is opposed to this change as nothing is being done to improve the rigor of this course. It is important to have senior level academic math and she feels changing the course to honors will decimate the AP calculus course. Jenny Emery inquired if the high school would change the curriculum if this course were left as is. Fifty-three percent of seniors are taking calculus this year and looking at the rigor in the class it covers the basics. This motion passed five votes (Jenny Emery, Mark Fiorentino, Sarah Thrall, Rosemarie Weber, Brandon Webster) to two votes (Lynn Guelzow, Melissa Migliaccio).
Jenny Emery reported that most of the meeting was spent discussing the solar project. The timeline has been adjusted and there are many implications that include a $24K performance bond payment to Eversource due by January 22 to keep the project alive. It will be very challenging to bring this home but the payoff could be big.
There is an upcoming CPPAC and, ideally, it will be deciding what to bond. However, there is no certainty if the committee will feel this project should be off to the side because it will pay for itself. Emery and Fiorentino are in agreement that if the solar project is viewed as paying for itself, then the board needs to decide if a check should be cut for $24K.
More will be known after the CPPAC meets. If the message from CPPAC is that this project will not affect other items in the large cap and the board is comfortable in getting it done, Emery stated she is comfortable in putting in the funds. The board decided to have Emery and Fiorentino go to the CPPAC meeting and inform Addley how the meeting went. Addley will decide where to take the project from there.
February 6, 2019
• The guideline for the budget has been set for 4 percent. The Plus One Budget came in at 4.83 percent, which means approximately $250K will need to be cut.
• The Administrative Budget will be presented on March 6 and a budget workshop on March 13.
• Two emergency days have been used thus far. June 12 is currently the graduation date.
Senator John Kissel, Senator Kevin Witkos and Representative William Simanski discussed education related legislative issues with the board.
Representative Simanski, a member of the Education Committee, discussed some items of interest: regionalization of educational services, expelled students and the mandates, education mandate relief—currently 77 mandates on the list, technical training for students after graduation, Education Cost Sharing (ECS) formula and special education program and service centers and hopes of getting the burden of proof for services into the conversation.
Senator Kevin Witkos stated on February 20 the Governor will make his budget address and it will be interesting to see how he anticipates funding issues such as retirement for teachers and how to fully fund it. Witkos serves on the Finance Committee, stating 60-70 bills have been raised for public hearing and some of those will impact education.
Senator John Kissel congratulated Dr. Addley on his selection as Superintendent of the Year. He said that with the new administration a lot of things are in flux. Kissel is on three committees: Judiciary, Law and Transportation. He spoke about regionalization and, although he does not sit on the Education Committee, stated one would have to know how boards of education could work together and that can be a very complicated process. He believes Governor Lamont wants to make a positive change in Connecticut; he is optimistic about the future but hesitant with the reality of budget decisions for current programs.
Brandon Webster was curious about specifics with regard to ECS. Witkos stated the days of individual legislators bringing money back to their district are over. Districts were frozen in 2011-2012 at one level and a formula devised based on a town’s poverty level and number of students. If a district was getting more than it should, the dollars received were phased out. He does not see the legislature changing this formula now. Granby is slated to receive $5,391,340, $600K increase.
Kissel spoke about the issue of Minimum Budget Requirement where a lot of municipalities should not be penalized for being efficient. A holistic approach to ECS would be terrific. Simanski said Granby suffered when funds were re-distributed to less wealthy districts. Webster also inquired about the hiring of minority teachers. Simanski said this issue has been raised in the Education Committee every single year and there is a big initiative especially in the younger grades. Kissel stated we need to hire minorities but we also need to ensure that they can advance their careers.
Lynn Guelzow commented on the state budget and declining enrollment with increasing costs in the schools and how this will require really tough decisions. She said regionalization is the only way to save the state from collapsing unless we can come up with millions of dollars. She asked the legislators if they are willing to make hard decisions for things that might hurt the towns they represent. Simanski stated absolutely, and everyone is aware that regionalization has to occur and that incentivizing regionalization may help. Witkos favors incentivization and perhaps the state should pay a superintendent for a three-year period to start integrating schools which will be a cost savings to the municipality. Kissel felt back-office functions should be looked at, i.e., IT services for town/schools. If towns are pushed to regionalize or share services, they will not do it. He used an example of a chart of accounts so there can be one finance person for the schools/town and for that matter, other towns.
Mark Fiorentino inquired about how board members can help make their job easier. Simanski said testimony at public hearings by individuals with personal stories is very persuasive. Witkos stated vaping, marijuana, tolls, casinos, and sports betting are big topics. Vaccination has also become a topic and how it will impact the health of public education.
Addley commented on the school safety bill and how it continues to violate students’ rights. There are rising social/emotional issues for many students and those students would suffer with this bill. He also commented on superintendents and administrators being arrested for DCF issues and how it is an unhealthy environment currently for teachers and administrators and impacting all school systems. Witkos stated he would be happy to arrange a meeting with CAPSS and new Commissioner of DCF. He stated she has the full support of her staff and is willing to make changes. She would be happy to meet as this is a dialogue that needs to happen. Rep. Simanski stated the disruptive behavior bill made it through the legislature but the Governor vetoed it but it is on the list again.
Tom McGuire, 110 West Granby Road, a parent of two kids who graduated from Granby, expressed concern that school nurses should carry Narcan because kids are using opioids. He looked up data and in 2014 overdose deaths in Connecticut were 17 percent/100,00. Dr. Addley said that our nurses have Narcan available and he is glad Granby is doing this now.
A motion was made by Rosemarie Weber and seconded by Brandon Webster to adopt the consent agenda. This motion passed unanimously.
Secondary School Improvement Plan Updates
Sue Henneberry, middle school principal, and Michael Dunn, high school principal, shared updates on their School Improvement Plans with the Board. Henneberry’s mid-year plan shows progress since the beginning of the year. Vision, Mission and District Achievement Goal: student intervention teams meet once a week and Administrators and guidance counselors attend them as well. Improvement is being seen in student behaviors. PLC teams were tweaked to focus on student work. Professional development is focusing on Collaborative and Proactive Solutions, google suite and equity. Student Achievement Goal: SBAC interim assessments were added so to better prepare students in 8th grade. Instruction Goal: Instruction is becoming more personalized, which is getting results. Students will present on the Ecology Center at the next PAC meeting on 2/13.
Dunn presented an update on his School Improvement Plan. Vision, Mission, District Achievement Goal is tied to closing achievement gaps and widening opportunities for students to take college-level offerings. Teams are looking specifically at the AP potential report to identify students with the ability to take these higher-level courses. The Student Achievement Goal continues to align with learning expectations that are tightly aligned with district goals. Instruction Goal: The just-received NEAS and C report from the visiting team identified continuing the alignment with learning expectations. This is the second year of providing effective feedback to students through building-based walkthroughs and sharing of strategies. Collaborative action team establishment has not yet occurred. Dunn said the letter from NEAS and C regarding accreditation is due in a few weeks. Thereafter, two-year and five-year plans will need to be put together. Addley commended Dunn on the NEASC report and said the board will receive a copy shortly.
FY20 Quality and Diversity Budget
Dr. Addley presented the FY20 Quality and Diversity Budget to the board. This is a preliminary look of what the Q&D budget will look like. The Q&D fund is held by the town and funded by revenue received from Open Choice. It helps Granby meet the state requirement of increasing opportunities for students. Open Choice is a point of pride for the district and Granby has led the way for many years. Addley reviewed the revenue received and compared revenue from last year to this year. He stated Q&D typically includes magnet school tuition, clubs, etc. He highlighted some items that are new for next year: Two kindergarten teachers will be moved to the operating budget as well as two kindergarten teaching assistants; four iPad carts for the primary school; equity taskforce (funding ran out and this is a one-year placeholder); transfer of 11 clubs from Q&D to the operating budget except the Bridges Program that will be a new club for this year in Q&D. Addley reviewed the Open Choice enrollment, stating it is imperative that Granby gets a 4 percent enrollment rate and has an attrition rate of 4-5 students per year. Magnet school enrollment was reviewed. From 2007 to 2012, 50-plus students attended magnet school and currently there are 23. Tuition for magnet schools was discussed. A 3 percent increase is built in for the budget; however, Addley stated it may be higher than 3 percent.
VI.A. Board Standing Committee Reports
Rosemarie Weber reported the subcommittee met to discuss the assistant superintendent’s report. International technology standards are being embedded into classroom work or library/technology time. Plans for four raised beds by the tennis courts at the high school starting this summer with funds from the farm-to-school grant. The start-time study will come to the board at the end of March. What summer will look like if opportunities are opened up at the high school for college career readiness.
Mark Fiorentino reported the Finance Subcommittee had a special meeting on January 23 that focused on the solar project expectations and costs as well as potential savings to prepare for the upcoming CPPAC Meeting. The schedule is still very tight. The most significant piece of news is the deadline is not a final deadline.
Start Time Study
Lynn Guelzow reported the Start Time Study Taskforce recently held video conferences with Guilford and Wilton. Wilton changed two years ago and Guilford just last year. Brian Maltese, Athletic Director, attended, so many athletic questions were asked. There are two or three issues that seem to cause districts to stop discussions about this topic. A lot of different options are available. The board can take as long as it wants to for a decision. Hoping to get decisions this year but will not implement until 2020.