March 4, 2020
Present Board Members: Jenny Emery, Mark Fiorentino, Melissa Migliaccio, David Peling, Sarah Thrall, Rosemarie Weber, Brandon Webster, and Jack DeGray (Student Representative). Absent Board Members: Dwaritha Ramesh (Student Representative).
“Good evening and it is wonderful to have a great crowd on a special evening. March is Board Appreciation Month and I would like to extend a thank you to all of our board members for their service.”
Tonight is the last BOE meeting for Christopher Tranberg, our Assistant Superintendent. We wish Christopher best of luck in his new position in Darien.
Coronavirus: A letter was sent to parents last week. The district has been cooperating with all federal and state agencies. On Monday administrators met to discuss plans currently in place and met with teachers today at faculty meeting regarding any concerns. The district is monitoring a trip scheduled during the April break to Spain and Portugal.
Read Across America Day was held on Monday. Dr. Grossman shared that he had the pleasure of reading to all Kelly Lane students during their lunch waves.
Next week, first round interviews will begin for the middle school principal search.
Student Representative Reports
Wrestling State Opens were held this past Saturday and Devin Flagg represented Granby after placing second in the State Tournament.
Loren Roy went to Boston on Saturday for the Track and Field New England Competition.
Girls’ basketball Elsie Phillips and Samantha St. Pierre received All-Conference; Elsie Phillips also received All-State; and Jaira Paine received All-State Academic.
In boys’ basketball, Rowan Heinze and Jack DeGray received All-Conference. Rowan Heinze will represent Granby at the State All Star Game.
Revision to 2020-21 School Calendar
The board discussed the following revisions to the 2020-21 school calendar: To move the first day of school from Tuesday, August 25, to Thursday, August 27; move first semester conferences from Dec. 9-11, to Nov. 30–Dec. 2; add the Jewish Holiday Yom Kippur; and move the last day of school to Tuesday, June 8, 2021.
Grossman stated there were concerns on the early opening and closing of school. Additionally, it was felt that conferences for elementary and secondary were too late in December and will be brought forward to earlier in the month. An amended motion was made by Rosemarie Weber and seconded by David Peling that the Granby Board of Education adopt revisions to the 2020-21 school calendar moving the first day of school from Tuesday, August 25, to Thursday, August 27, add the Jewish Holiday Yom Kippur and move the last day of school to Tuesday, June 8. The motion passed unanimously.
Ali Zafar of Granby inquired if future religious holidays would be considered on the school calendar. Melissa Migliaccio said she appreciated this comment and stated it can certainly be discussed at a future meeting.
A motion was made by Brandon Webster and seconded by Jennie Emery to adopt the consent agenda. This motion passed with one abstention (Mark Fiorentino).
FY21 Administrative Budget Presentation
Dr. Grossman presented the FY21 Administrative Budget to the board. He thanked teachers and administrators in helping to guide him through the work for the budget. He reviewed the BOE Budget Goals as well as budget priorities for administration. Grossman presented district enrollment from FY21 through FY25 and noted a change in enrollment figures from the Plus One, stating Hartland students were not included in the NESDEC enrollment report. He also told board that he added one additional section of Kindergarten for FY21. He reviewed per pupil expenditure (PPE) for Granby. It will be $16,237 next year, which is lower than 126 other districts out of 166 districts in Connecticut. He discussed revenue and noted that revenue received by the BOE goes to the town and that the district is receiving more funds budget-to-budget. However, actually, the town will receive $50K less. He reviewed the decrease from the Plus One Budget of 3.69 percent to the proposed budget of 2.92 percent and listed some of the reductions: line item decreases in repairs and maintenance, curriculum presenters/writers, various clubs, supplies, conferences, and dues and fees. The budget includes additional personnel, for a net of +4.49 FTE, which accounts for 2.0 FTEs being moved from the Q & D budget to the operating budget. Also included is a 1.0 FTE Math Interventionist at Wells Road, an additional Kindergarten Teacher and Teaching Assistant. Some highlights and notables in the budget include Chinese instruction expanded to Grade 8 at the middle school and the Strings program expanding to fourth grade at Wells Road. Small Capital highlights were reviewed for Transportation (purchase of four pre-owned buses); Building Maintenance; Furniture and Equipment; and Technology.
Migliaccio stated the Plus One Budget is a high-level look and tonight was a first look at what will become the BOE budget. She appreciated that it is coming under the 3 percent guideline. Jenny Emery stated she will forward questions after reading the budget book but had a couple of questions tonight. She inquired if Grossman is comfortable with the BOE class guidelines. Grossman stated he is comfortable with the guidelines set forth and how they are compared to the DRG; however, he would not be comfortable with 20 students in a Kindergarten classroom. Emery inquired if the salary percentages in the presentation are actual percentages individuals are getting. Anna Robbins stated the percentages are impacts to the budget as opposed to individual increases. Emery also would have liked to know what is not in the budget. She is concerned that some items may be cut unnecessarily. This question will be answered at the Budget Workshop next week.
David Peling inquired what the Accountability Index is. Grossman stated the State of Connecticut measures the district on indicators from student performance, absenteeism, AP scores, etc. and that the state has a formula and points are given for each indicator.
Brandon Webster said he would like more info on the various clubs that were cut. There will be more details at the Budget Workshop.
Mark Fiorentino stated it is an incredible job that Granby achieves what we do with what we have, and he appreciates that line items were analyzed, e.g., the $36K in cuts to repairs and maintenance.
Board Member Announcements
Emery thanked Christopher Tranberg for his service and his fresh perspective and new initiatives which started in Granby due to his good work.
Fiorentino informed the board of the UConn Homer Babbidge Scholar Program that honors students who achieve a 4.0 for two semesters with a full load of courses for the 2019 calendar year. GMHS had seven graduates who attained this achievement.
A motion was made by Migliaccio and seconded by Dave Peling to enter into an Executive Session to discuss a student discipline matter. This motion passed unanimously.
The board entered into an Executive Session at 8:16 p.m., and returned to regular session at 8:25 p.m. A motion was made by Rosemarie Weber and seconded by Emery that the Granby Board of Education accept the recommendation of the Superintendent of Schools to expel Student “B12019-20” for 180 days from Granby Memorial High School, as well as all buildings and grounds and activities of the Granby Public Schools for violation of School Board Policies #5114, Student Discipline and #5131.6, Drug and Alcohol Use, for unauthorized possession, sale, distribution, use or consumption of tobacco, drugs, narcotics, or alcoholic beverages including being under the influence of any such substances. This motion passed unanimously.
Rosemarie Weber, Board Secretary
March 11, 2020
Budget Workshop Minutes
Board Members Present: Jenny Emery (via telephone), Mark Fiorentino, Melissa Migliaccio, David Peling, Sarah Thrall, Brandon Webster, and Dwaritha Ramesh (Student Representative). Absent Board Members: Rosemarie Weber and Jack DeGray (Student Representative)
FY21 Administrative Budget
The board continued discussion of the FY21 Administrative Budget presented on March 4. Dr. Grossman stated the FY21 Administrative Budget is going in at 2.92 percent. He stated just to roll over costs including contractual costs, the budget increase would be 1.77 percent and after adding in Q & D, and tuition and transportation for special education, the standing-still number is 2.75 percent.
Jenny Emery had a question regarding what is not in the budget; specifically, the Special Education Supervisor position. Grossman said it would be a valuable addition. The Director of Pupil Services manages and works with special education teachers and case workers. These employees and teaching assistants fall under the direction of the Director of Pupil Services. There are currently 275 special education students in the district and each one has an Individual Education Plan that we must ensure is being met. Grossman stated he feels as a board there need to be more conversations about this topic. The addition of the Special Education Supervisor position would put the budget at a 3.25 percent. Melissa Migliaccio inquired if adding the supervisor position would end up saving money on special education costs in the short term. Grossman stated he did not know the answer to that question if it would in this budget cycle; however, he feels it would save money in the years to come by offering programming in our own district to bring students back.
Emery stated if this is a priority, she wants to fully understand not funding this position before she votes on the budget. Mark Fiorentino said he supports doing what we need to do and the decision to set it aside. He would rather see Grossman have time to get things in place because it is a significant change. Emery asked if Grossman is comfortable that this budget provides the time and resources for the needed evaluation. Grossman replied that it allows him to work with the Director of Pupil Services to write a plan.
A motion was made by Fiorentino and seconded by Brandon Webster, to amend the agenda to add public comment on the budget. This motion passed unanimously.
Susan Patricelli Regan, Hungary Hill Road, Granby, had a couple of questions: With regard to the IDEA grant she inquired about the portion of salaries ($40K) that need to be assumed by the general fund. Grossman stated that was listed in the Plus One Budget document and is correct; Regarding Equipment and Maintenance purchases of $316K, specifically, three zero-turn lawnmowers for $48K, Regan inquired if the Public Works Department could give assistance to save money. Anna Robbins said the district collaborates with the Public Works Department but, unfortunately, to help the schools, PWD would need to add staff; Regan also inquired about the $91,077 for the replacement of existing technology and if the sale or exchange of old equipment would help fund the new equipment or has that been factored in. Migliaccio stated that by the time the district asks for replacements the devices are at the end of their life. Regan inquired if the devices can be donated to veterans, etc. Robbins said that is current practice and equipment is donated where there is a need.
Bill Regan, Hungary Hill Road, Granby, asked about the special education budget and revenue from other towns. Grossman said that tuition is received for students who live outside of Granby but get special education services in Granby. Regan also asked for an explanation of the Quality and Diversity (Q & D) Fund. Grossman explained that the district receives money from Hartford for Hartford students who attend Granby public schools. That money is held in the Q & D Fund. There is a formula used for 4 percent enrollment from Hartford, Granby receives $8K for students in grades 1–12 and $10K for Kindergarten students. Regan inquired if the district is looking to reduce the funds or that the funds may simply go away. Migliaccio said the funds got cut last year. The Q & D Fund is something the board would like to rely on but the financial factors that go into it are out of the board’s control.
Fiorentino said that he supports the budget and there is little in the budget beyond the standing-still number. He intends to pass the budget on to the Board of Finance.
Brandon Webster believes this is a good budget but would like some more time to reflect on the budget.
Dave Peling supports the budget.
Sarah Thrall appreciates that the budget is coming in under the guideline.
Emery said that she has concerns about the longer-term perspective in terms of scheduling salary changes,. She does not want to lose any opportunity as things may get tougher next year.
Migliaccio stated the Plus One Budget was presented at 3.69 percent, the BOF guideline is 3 percent and this budget comes in under that and does not cut services but addresses class sizes by adding a Kindergarten Teacher. Migliaccio stated she is impressed with Grossman hitting the ground running and being responsive to our vision and mission, teachers, class sizes, and technology—it’s a delicate balance.
Dwaritha Ramesh, Student Representative feels it is a very sensible budget and that the Math Interventionist at the middle school is especially important considering its test scores.
Linda Powell, Board Recorder
March 12, 2020
Board Members Present: Jenny Emery, Mark Fiorentino, Melissa Migliaccio, David Peling, Sarah Thrall, Rosemarie Weber, and Brandon Webster.
The Board of Education held an emergency meeting to discuss national concerns regarding public health. They discussed the closure of Granby Public Schools to coincide with the closure of West Hartford Public Schools and other school districts in the Farmington Valley. The board discussed closing schools at the close of business on Friday, March 13, for 14 calendar days and to re-open schools on Monday, March 30.
Issues discussed: Waiver of 180 days, Education loss, AP/SAT exams, Graduation date, Equity in learning, Maximum flexibility in order to adjust as new information becomes available.
A motion was made by David Peling and seconded by Rosemarie Weber to adjourn the meeting. This motion passed unanimously.
Rosemarie Weber, Board Secretary