Present Members: Jenny Emery, Melissa Migliaccio, David Peling, Sarah Thrall, Rosemarie Weber, Brandon Webster, and Jack DeGray and Dwaritha Ramesh (Student Representatives). Absent Member: Mark Fiorentino
Welcome to our guest legislators, Senator Kissel, Senator Witkos and Representative Simanski.
Hired an Interim Assistant Superintendent, Marian Hourigan, and will communicate to staff tomorrow. Hourigan is a retired Assistant Superintendent in charge of Instruction and Curriculum from Rocky Hill Public Schools. She will begin her interim position on March 11. Christopher Tranberg’s last day is March 13.
Toured Ecology Center with the Emergency Management Director to assess using the facility as a shelter for animals in the event of a town-wide emergency.
NEASC is continuing the high school’s accreditation.
Received approximately 50 applications for the middle school principal position. Ten candidates have been selected for interviews starting in early March. Thank you, Mark Fiorentino, for being on the committee. The BOE will meet the candidate at the April 1 meeting.
Student Representative Reports
Boys’ basketball is 13-6 after beating Simsbury on Saturday, which was Granby’s first win since 2013. The team will be celebrating their senior night tomorrow against Weaver. Girls’ basketball is 12-8 and lost last Friday against Canton on their senior night. Teams are now preparing for the NCCC Championship that begins on Friday.
Lauren Roy tied for second in the long jump and Connor Hennessey, Lauren Roy and Tristian Hugabook qualified for State Opens.
Senator John Kissel, Senator Kevin Witkos and Representative William Simanski discussed legislative issues related to education with the board. Simanski sits on the Education Committee and stated two meetings have been held to raise concepts and only 35 were raised, some of which are personal and financial management curriculum, teacher retention, school start times, special education cost cooperative, agricultural science education center, including Native American studies in the social studies curriculum, school district policies that discriminate against natural hair styles, and climate change in public school curriculum.
Witkos commented that it was a great choice on selecting Dr. Grossman, stating he was on the Board of Education in Canton when he was hired in Canton and that he will do great things for Granby. Witkos spoke about a concern he had with a potential act of removing a BOE member who had a felony record. He said there is no way to remove a BOE member until the next election. He also said there would not be any draconian cuts to education funding and that the bipartisan budget has incorporated many good practices.
Melissa Migliaccio inquired about regionalization and the legislators said it is not moving forward at the moment. She asked them to please follow the bill for captive special education funding and that ECS funding would play into this. She said Connecticut is one of only four states in the country that puts the burden of proof back on the school district. With regard to the curriculum proposals, she stated all or many of these are good ideas but to leave it up to the local BOEs as they know their districts best with regard to curriculum and that it takes local control away. She also asked them not to support a bill to remove BOE members as this is done by the voters.
Jenny Emery commented on the special education cost coop and that it is an intriguing idea. She stated her experience so far is there is a lot of cost management on the BOE and she would like relief from the volatility that happens now and there has to be an element of adjusting the funding. Simanski said he will let Grossman know when a public hearing comes up so BOE members can send written testimony. Witkos stated that, on average, the cost remains relatively consistent at $490M statewide. Emery said she would be interested in commenting via testimony.
Emery also commented on Granby’s plan to build a solar array which has dissolved. Connecticut-required hurdles that Granby needed to jump through are immense. It is on the district’s radar to identify additional energy and solar opportunities. Granby will try again to tackle the fixed cost of $600K for electricity that is a burden to tax payers.
Peling commented he has been an educator for 27 years getting up at 5:30 in the morning. He stated last year, more than 100 of his students were not supportive of late start times. He suggested getting student input if this topic gets to the legislature. With regard to agriculture curriculum, he stated this is an important idea and that many students are not on the path for a four-year school. He also commented in regard to forcing out BOE members who are felons. This is a slippery slope and the same rules should apply for all government bodies.
Thrall commented that the personal financial management curriculum is incredibly important for young people.
Student Representative Jack DeGray said he is against starting school late and Dwaritha Ramesh stated she is vehemently against it also for a variety of reasons and is glad the decision was postponed.
Brandon Webster inquired if special education was brought up in prior sessions and Simanski stated these things do not happen in one session and he does not think it will be acted on this year.
Witkos informed the board of a group that developed the ECS formula that the legislature adopted.This group will not be part of captive special education funding. It will be solely owned by member towns. He said that it will take a lot of time for something like this to be digested and he would send information to Grossman for the board to review.
They presented a state proclamation for the girls’ field hockey and soccer teams to the board to acknowledge the championship teams’ accomplishments.
Schools in the Spotlight
Michael Dunn, principal of Granby Memorial High School, and a few students showcased the high school’s College Connections partnership with Asnuntuck Community College. Dunn stated a record 21 students are attending this year and there are three different tracks for the program (manufacturing, electronic and welding).
Jaleel Aldridge stated he has been in the Asnuntuck program for two years and shared a couple of his welding projects with the board. He stated he would like to go back to Asnuntuck to get his certificate in welding and would like to go into aerospace tig welding (repairing airplane parts) as a career.
Connor Fairchild also shared his experiences and informed the board that the amount of information and success he has received from this program is incredible.
Conrad Ginz shared his Capstone presentation on why career education is a better choice than traditional college due to lower costs for learning, more direct training and more money to be made.
Grossman commented that the students have shared their pride about the program with him. He is very proud of the students and what they are doing, and that they share the program’s opportunities with younger students.
Business Manager’s Report
Business Manager Anna Robbins presented the January 2020 statement of accounts and stated that the BOE has a negative forecast of approximately $160K and that special education expenditures are unfavorable by $290K with regular education favorable $131K. The overall forecast is slightly favorable over the previous month. Salaries and benefits are favorable $144K. At this mid-year point the district is looking at quite a few adjustments in accounts. S&B favorable $73K. Additional adjustments include a negative forecast in instructional purchased services, including an over-budget condition in special education evaluations, contracted services and outsourced districtwide substitute account. Other over-budget conditions exist in transportation and utility accounts. Movement in these accounts will continue as we continue the year. Revenue to the town of about $40K, overall forecast revenue just under budget by $10K—major driver being lower cost. Emery said this was reviewed in Finance Subcommittee this evening. The big picture focus is to continue tightening the belt as much as possible without affecting the classroom. Two areas over-budget are Asnuntuck and the new way of filling subs requiring a budget adjustment.
A motion was made by Rosemarie Weber and seconded by Thrall that the Granby Board of Education adopt the consent agenda. This motion passed unanimously at 8:16 p.m.
Approval of Educational Specifications for the Granby Memorial Middle School
Low-Slope Roof Replacement Project
The board discussed the approval of the educational specifications for the low-slope roof replacement project for Granby Memorial Middle School. A motion was made by Emery and seconded by Peling that the Granby Board of Education approve the educational specifications for the low-slope roof replacement project for Granby Memorial Middle School as recommended by the Finance/Personnel/Facilities Subcommittee. Emery stated part of the middle school roof was replaced by insurance, which was included in the bond referendum. If the specifications are approved with the minutes stating so, the project will be put into the queue at the state level. This motion passed unanimously at 8:21 p.m.
Board Standing Committee Reports
The subcommittee met this evening to discuss a leave-of-absence for next year, which was endorsed. Hartford Public Schools has requested the burden of proof of residency be the receiving district’s responsibility. This has been tabled for one year.
Granby Education Foundation
Emery did not attend. Grossman attended and the GEF discussed the Gran-Bee. He volunteered to be a judge. The Gran-Bee will be held on April 24 in the high school auditorium. BOE members will sponsor a team or two. Emery inquired if vendor sponsorships will be sent out again this year on behalf of the BOE. Grossman said, yes.
Rosemarie Weber Secretary