December 6, 2023
Present: Superintendent Cheri Burke, Liz Barlow, Heather Lombardo, Monica Logan, Donna Nolan, David Peling, Whitney Sanzo, Rosemarie Weber, and student representatives Chase Alexander and Katie O’Neill.
Election of Officers
Superintendent Burke took nominations for the new Board Chair. Whitney Sanzo nominated Monica Logan, and with no other nominations, Monica Logan was unanimously elected Board Chair. Logan asked for nominations for Vice Chair. Heather Lombard was unanimously elected Vice Chair. Liz Barlow received all 7 votes for the position of Secretary.
Burke shared that Granby submitted a reading waiver to the state last February and met with consultants from the state. However, on Dec. 1, the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) notified Burke that Granby’s waiver request was not approved. Burke said there is more work to do; however, nothing will change for students in the classrooms. The decision was based solely on the program choices in our waiver and not on student achievement. There is time to create a plan, gather additional information and make the best decision for Granby students. Unfortunately, a costly unfunded mandate is the result of this decision.
Burke said this is a final decision. The CSDE hired a consulting firm to evaluate requests and the Commissioner did not overturn its decisions. Weber asked about an appeal process, and Burke said discussion at a superintendents’ meeting included legal counsel to advise on next steps. She has not yet decided in this regard but would consult with the Board as well as Assistant Superintendent Jennifer Parsons.
First Reading of District Communications Plan
The Board discussed the draft 2024-2027 District Communications Plan. Two-way communication is at the forefront of the plan with the goal of supporting trust and this is the roadmap for the work ahead. It is not a strategic plan. Burke said to keep in mind that all items will not be done at the same time and some may take longer to implement. In essence, this plan contains two goals:
Goal #1: Provide information that audiences are seeking in an easy-to-find, engaging, concise, and understandable format. Some items under this goal include improve the website; increase readability of all communications; share school successes; prepare audiences for emergencies; and publicize important BOE decisions. An Instagram account (@superintendent_burke) has been created to share district and student successes.
Goal #2: Increase opportunities for audiences to express concerns, share suggestions, participate in decision-making, and be a meaningful part of the school community. Under this goal, items of note are to publicize a process for getting concerns addressed; increase opportunities to address questions; engage parents and community members; and connect district leaders and superintendent with families and the community. Burke shared that AskGPS@granbyschools.org was launched. Questions can be emailed and will be answered by Central Office staff.
December 20, 2023
Present Board Members: Liz Barlow, Heather Lombardo, Monica Logan, Donna Nolan, David Peling, Whitney Sanzo, Rosemarie Weber, and student representatives Chase Alexander and Katie O’Neill.
Call to Order and Welcome
Logan shared a change to the agenda format that beginning this evening, public comment will move to the beginning of the agenda.
Debbie Reelitz, 24 Silkey Road, North Granby. expressed her support for diversity and kindness efforts in the Granby Public Schools. She has homeschooled for 12 years and she has been amazed to see her son’s journey that included socialization by a diverse range of people, enabling her son to relate to people now that he is attending GMHS. She hopes Granby Public Schools continues supporting diverse experiences for students.
Beth Carroll, Quail Lane, stated that she has been engaged with the communication project, has reviewed all of the school website documentation and participated in community input. She said that if she had viewed Superintendent Burke’s presentation of the plan on Dec. 6 as a non-school participant, in a business environment, she would have asked how is it known that this is just a three-year plan. In three years’ time, community participants may no longer live in Granby and students may no longer attend school here. She would like the board to consider prioritizing categories in the plan with the need to address cost/risk/time/quality.
Business Manager’s Report
Business Manager Anna Robbins presented the November statement of accounts and stated the general fund shows an unfavorable forecast of $265K which is $3K better than the previous month. Regular education is projected to be over budget $7K which is $20K less than last month. Salaries and substitute services continue to fluctuate and are offset by a favorable variance in regular education transportation. The special education forecast is over budget $190K which is $16K worse than the previous month. (For more information see BOE minutes on the Granby town page).
FY25 Plus One Budget Presentation
Superintendent Burke presented the FY25 Plus One Budget to the Board, stating it is a sneak peak into the administrative budget. One of the goals is to share the Plus One Budget to offer timely information to the community and to the Board of Finance (BOF) as well as the BOE to make the decisions that lie ahead. (A detailed explanation and costs can be found in the Dec. 20 BOE minutes found on the Granby town page.)
Approval of District Communications Plan
A motion was made by Rosemarie Weber and seconded by Liz Barlow that the Granby Board of Education approve the District Communications Plan for the 2024-2027 school years. Burke said that this was a collective effort with more than 1,000 people participating. The Board will continue to have input and oversight for this plan.
Approval of Connecticut Primary Mental Health Grant Program
The Board discussed the approval to submit a grant proposal for the Connecticut Primary Mental Health Grant Program. Assistant Superintendent Parsons said an application has been submitted and the grant provides $20K for use over two years for students in Grades K-3.
Elizabeth Barlow, Board Secretary
To read the full board minutes, visit: granby.k12.ct.us/page/meeting-dates-agendas-and-minutes