Posted on 08 May 2010.
[Article updated to clarify the discussion surrounding 1. Old Business, 3. 2010-2011 Â school calendar discussion; 10:30 p.m., Sunday, May 9.]
By: Maria Moore
PTO Appreciates Teachers With Breakfast And Luncheon
During this past week, National Teacher Appreciation Week, New Hartford Schools teachers definitely felt appreciated: they were treated to both breakfast and lunch by the schools’ Parent Teacher Organization (PTO). Students also brought to their teachers notes of appreciation on Monday, May 3, and something sweet on Thursday, May 6. The PTO also gifted a new picnic table to the Antolini School and new art for the halls of New Hartford Elementary and Bakerville in honor of the schools’ staff. “The teachers and staff were so appreciative!” Debbie Ventre emailed us. Debbie also included photos of both the luncheon and the breakfast at Bakerville School.
Note: The PTO would like to thank all the families that provided items for the luncheons and breakfasts.
The teachers and staff at Bakerville School enjoy the luncheon arranged for them by the PTO as part of the Teacher Appreciation Week. Photo: Debbie Ventre
Teachers and staff at Bakerville School enjoyed breakfast on Wednesday, May 5 hosted by the PTO. Photo: Debbie Ventre
Many Thanks: To all the teachers in New Hartford Schools and in other schools who do so much for the students in their care.
Many Thanks: To all the members of the PTO for bringing together such a nice program to thank the teachers and staff in New Hartford schools.
Schools’ Board of Ed Members Look To Next School Year
The New Hartford Schools Board of Ed met this past Tuesday, May 4 at 7:00 p.m. at the Bakerville School, even as the Budget Referendum was entering its last hour. Following are some of the items discussed by the Board; the full agenda is posted at the end of this article; the official minutes of this meeting will be posted on the Meetings/Minutes section of the New Hartford Public Schools’ website.
C: Superintendent’s Report
2. Bus Ridership Data: Dr. Philip O’Reilly, Superintendent of New Hartford Schools, said that the data collected showed that there are buses with less than 50% occupancy, and that there are some that have just a few kids riding them. He said he will look at consolidating some of the routes, while keeping in mind that they don’t want to exceed the time students spend on the bus outlined by the Board. Some buses are stopping at every house he said, which is unnecessary.
4. Â Magnet School Enrollments: Philip reported to the Board that there are 6 children going to preschool at Magnet Schools. Â Board of Ed member Steve Tuxbury asked why they are paying for preschool, and fellow Board of Ed member Bryan Keilty asked what the requirement is for the Board to pay for preschool. Â Philip said that they are mandated by law to pay for it, that it is a way to integrate urban kids with suburban kids. Â Board member Kate Natale clarified that they pay for a portion of the cost. Â Steve said that they have to take a stand or they’ll be contributing to anyone who’s going to a private school. Â Philip said he would bring the bill in (to the next meeting) for the Board members.
F.Â Opportunity for Public Comment
A parent asked the Board and the Superintendent to use the ALERTNOW message system for all Board of Ed meetings, not just the budget meetings. Â The parent said that everyone could use a reminder for the meetings.
H. New Business
1. 2010 Â Boiler Project: There was an open bid for the boiler replacement at Antolini and 3 closed bids for engineering. Â Steve Tuxbury, who is on the Plant Facilities Subcommittee, Â recommended that because they were not doing anything new, Â they shouldn’t go with an engineer. Â The engineering bid for was $30,000 while one of the bids for the boiler was $95,600. Â The school has $75,000 in grants for the boiler. Â When it came to who would be overseeing the project, Philip said he had the name of a local contractor who could help them with it. Â The Board voted to bypass using an engineer for the boiler replacement.
2. Non Union Employee Raises: Kate Natale, Chair of the Negotiations Subcommittee, confirmed that they would like to do something for non-union employees who hadn’t had a raise in two years, but they were split on how much; 3% would be similar to what the town employees or 2% since many people in the community were not getting raises either. Â Kate added that next spring they would be going into negotiations with a tough economy. Â The issue was in respect to the inequity and concerns with setting precedents.
Pat Okrongly, a teacher at Antolini, had just informed the Board that she would be retiring and this gave the Board members a little leeway. Â Steve said that they had just come through a very tough budget that still hadn’t been passed. Â Board member Davis Hoffnagle said it shouldn’t be higher than 2%. Â Bryan Keilty said it was premature to discuss pay increases with the budget not yet passed. Â He said they should have done something with the original budget, not now. Â Bryan recommended that they table the matter until the next meeting, Davis seconded it and the rest of the Board agreed to table the item until they knew whether or not the budget had passed.
3. Â Director of Student Services: Philip recommended rehiring Connie Hovarth as the Director of Pupil Services for the coming school year. Â He said he had heard only positives about her work this past year. The Board passed a motion hiring Connie under the same conditions, i.e. 3 days per week at $680 per day, a portion of which, Philip said, went to Education Connection through whom Connie had been employed.
4. Last Day of School for Students: Philip recommended making Friday, June 18 the last day of school for students; this will allow him to hold teacher professional days on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (June 21, 22 and 23). Â This was approved by the Board.
Note: Following the meeting, on Thursday, May 6 the following ALERTNOW message was sent to parents and other interested parties from Philip’s office:
“On Tuesday evening, the Board of Education voted to move the last day of school to Friday, June 18, 2010 (barring any emergency closings). This will be a half day of school with a 1:00 dismissal time. AM and PM Kindergarten will both be attending school that day with abbreviated times to be determined later. Preschool’s last day of school will be June 11th.”
5. 2010-2011 Food Service Contract: The hot lunch program for the current year has been spoken of approvingly at previous Board of Ed meetings. Â At this meeting a hand-out showed that, through the end of April, the schools’ lunch program is Â operating in the black. Â The Board of Ed accepted Philip’s recommendation to sign a contract with Education Connection for food service for the upcoming 2010-2011 school year.
I. Old Business
1. 2010-2011 Budget: Philip said he wanted to begin the discussion of the possible reistatement of positions cut from the school budget (for the upcoming fiscal year 2010-2011). Â He’d like to see the following positions reinstated (in FTEs):
Psychology: .4; Paraprofessionals: 1.2; Special Ed teacher: 1; Gym: .1; Librarian (?FTEs); Spanish: (?FTEs).
Reinstating these positions would be made possible because of savings that will be realized; some of those savings are $40,000+ in medical insurance costs, $20,000 savings in heating oil savings, and extending the bus contract for 5 years. Â After some discussions about the positions and their reinstatement, Sue Lundin, Board of Ed Chairperson, said they would take the matter under advisement and, based on the outcome of the budget referendum, they would take action at the next meeting of the Board.
New Busing Contract With Dattco Approved: As part of the above discussion on reinstating staff cut from the budget, the Board discussed whether they should approve a new busing contract with Dattco, their present transportation company. Â Philip said that based on his research, he felt the price from Dattco was very decent, plus they were giving an additional $10,000 reduction in the coming year.
Bryan asked whether they had explored the possibility of collaborating with Regional #7 on busing. Â Philip said that always brings up a lot of questions, and right now they hadn’t done that, they were just trying to move forward. Â Kate Natale said that given Philip’s investigations and the type of people they were dealing with ~ referring to Dattco’s responsiveness that had been discussed earlier ~ she was in favor of accepting the proposed contract. Â Elaine Carmelich said that based on all that had been said recently about school bus safety, she didn’t think they would be changing bus companies next year. Â Steve emphasized that they were making a decision that would affect the next 6 years and he said he coudn’t remember when the busing contract had last gone out to bid. Â He wanted to put the contract out to bid.
A motion was made to approve Dattco’s proposed 5-year contract; 5 members of the Board voted to approve the new contract and 3 members ~ Steve, Bryan and Davis ~ voted against it. Â Dattco’s proposal for a new 5-year busing contract was approved.
2. Â School Security: Steve Tuxbury said that the members of the Facilities Subcommittee who had looked into whether to install a security system at the schools were split between whether to do it or not. Â He said that both he and Davis Hoffnagle felt they shouldn’t do it. Â Their reasons included the cost of even the minimum package and that a security system gives a false sense of Â security. The subcommittee’s recommendation was not to install a security system at this time. Â The matter was tabled by the Board members.
3. Â 2010-2011 School Calendar: Board members considered a proposed school calendar for the upcoming school year, 2010-2011. Â It eliminates half days during the school year, except for the last day of school and for conferences. Bryan Keilty asked whether it would be possible to hold the team planning sessions at the end of the day to cut down on the substitute line since a substitute would be required to cover the teacher’s classroom during the planning session; the team planning sessions are 2 hours every 6 weeks. Â Steve agreed with Bryan, saying that having to hire additional subs was a deal breaker. Â Steve made a motion not to approve the calendar with the half days and the motion was not approved; the Board members discussed approvingÂ the calendar and then pursuing the other issue separately. Â However, Kate Natale said she wasn’t sure if they would want to approve the calendar before sending out a letter to ask that they (the teachers) reconsider the use of the 20 mins per day to meet the Superintendent’s recommendation for professional development. Â The Board agreed to send a letter to the teachers’ association asking to reallocate the 20 minutes daily and to consolidate the 20 minutes into a 2-hour session every 6 weeks. Â Â No action was taken on the proposed school calendar until the issue was resolved.
At this point of the meeting, at a little after 8 p.m. our reporter left the Board of Ed meeting to pick up her coverage of the Budget Referendum since the voting had just ended. Â The budget was passed, withÂ 271 residents voting for the budget (“Yes”) and 118 voting against the budget (“No”); to read more about the results of the Budget Referendum, please see our May 4 article Both Budgets Approved…
New Hartford Public Schools
Board of Education Meeting
Bakerville Consolidated School
7:00 PM on Tuesday, May 4, 2010
A. Chair to Open Meeting
B.Chair to Select Order of Business
1. Connecticut Race to the Top
2. Bus Ridership Data
3. Green Energy Projects
4. Magnet School Enrollments
5. Asbestos Periodic Surveillance Sheets
6. Spring After School Enrichment
7. Health Care Legislation
D. Building Report
E. Routine Business
1. Approval of Minutes â€“March 16, 2010
2. Personnel Report –Retirement
3. Expenditure/Projection Report
F. Opportunity for Public Comment
H. New Business
1. 2010 Boiler Project
2. Non Union Employee Raises
3. Director of Student Services
4. Last Day of School for Students
5. 2010-2011 Food Service Contract
I. Old Business
1. 2010-2011 Budget
2. School Security
3. 2010-2011 School Calendar
4. Policy (Second Reading)
4118.51 Use of New Web Tools,
5141.27 First Aid/Emergency Medical Care
5144 Physical Restraint Report Forms
6141.321(a) Computers Acceptable Use of the Internetâ€¦..
K. Communications to the Board of Education