Lake Region School District
February 17, 2011
There was a Budget Workshop on Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 6:00 p.m. at Lake Region High School.
CALL TO ORDER AND ROLL CALL
Chairperson Warner called the meeting to order. The following Board members were present: Janice Barter, Beth Chaplin, Jean Clancy, Jody Gray, Richard Merritt, Laurie Mondville, Lesley Niemy, Donna Norton, Laura Ordway, Philip Shane, and Karla Swanson-Murphy.
Ken Brown was absent.
Administrators present were: Kathleen Beecher, Zane Clement,
Kirsten Goff, Lisa Caron, Theodore Finn, Andrew Madura, Peter Mortenson, Roseanne Schacht, Joshua Sturk, Paul True, Cheryl Turpin, Sherrie Small, and Patrick Phillips, Superintendent of Schools.
Many staff members were present including: Sandra Arris,
Carmel Collins, Rosemarie Dyer, Scott Dyer, Rick Fox, Patti Grenda, Barry Johnson, Eugene Long, Steve Mercer, Darlene Perry, Kurt Peterson, Jamie Riel, Kathy Terhune, Kathleen Tragert, Donna Vaughn,
Bonnie Wetmore, and Cindy Worcester.
Others present included: Kevin Hancock and David Morton.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
A motion was made by Jody Gray, seconded by Laurie Mondville, to approve the agenda with the following change:
Move the Executive Session to the end of the meeting.
Motion carried unanimously.
BOARD BUDGET WORKSHOP
Chairperson Warner mentioned the following:
- The Board adopted a policy that will not allow a regular meeting to extend beyond two hours if there is an Executive Session scheduled. If all the business is not attended to, another meeting date will be set.
- Superintendent Phillips will give a brief presentation regarding the budget.
- Board members should limit their comments/questions to a minute. Roberts Rules allows a person to talk twice on the same topic.
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Superintendent Phillips shared the following:
- Sherrie Small and Janice Barter were thanked for leading the budget discussion on Tuesday, February 15 as Mr. Warner and Mr. Phillips were in Denver, Colorado at a U.S. Department of Education Conference.
- The following steps were taken in building the budget:
- Administrators developed the proposed budget.
- The budget was reviewed by the Finance Committee.
- The Finance Committee then submitted the budget to the full Board for discussion and for its approval.
- This is a difficult time to build a budget.
- M.S.A.D. #61 has received the least amount in State subsidy over the years.
- The District has reached the bottom of the subsidy ladder. This reflects a loss of subsidy and reduces the subsidy line.
- The addition of the new debt service for the Educational Services Building and renovation to Lake Region High School and Vocational Center increases the budget by $705,000.
- The Administrators and the Finance Committee have been working to find a balance between students and taxpayers. They reviewed how deep cuts could go before there was irreparable damage to the programs and how much the towns could afford.
- There is no way there can be a $0 increase to the towns.
Janice Barter reported that the Finance Committee had asked the Administrators to give the Committee a list of what $1.1 million in cuts would look like. The Committee reviewed the list and voted to recommend cutting $400,000 from the budget.
The budget includes a reduction of 7.5 positions from the High School which includes the following: a clerk position, an educational technician, a Fine Arts position (the Family Consumer Science program), and part-time positions being paid through the SIG Grant, and a full-time position that was not filled. The Finance Committee asked the Administrators to go back and find more cuts.
The following positions were included on the list for reductions: a half-time chorus position due to enrollment numbers, the elimination of the Alternative Education program, In-School Suspension Monitor and $12,000 from Athletic and Co-Curricular activities.
The Consumer and Fine Arts position may not be totally eliminated. The teacher originally had a .6 contract. Based on enrollments and the availability of SIG funds, it was possible to make the position a full-time position. There are 32 to 36 fine arts classes for students to select from.
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Superintendent Phillips mentioned that the original staff reductions were not based on budget analysis. They were based on the program and the number of students. The second request was due to budget reductions.
Mr. Finn reported that the number of students at the high school has declined. In reviewing data over the last 4 to 6 years, there was an enrollment of over 700. The projected enrollment for next year is 565 students. If the proposed middle school transition program (alternative education program) is approved the school may be serving 500 students.
A question was asked as to how the in-school position and the Attendance Clerk position would by handled. As there are six secretaries at the high school, the job descriptions will be reworked to be sure attendance is taken care of. Data was reviewed for the In-school Suspension program with regard to how often the space was used. Over 222 students were sent to in-school suspension in one quarter and students did not have their homework done. The current behavior plan and discipline code will be reviewed.
High school classes will be broken up into teams and academies next year. There should be better relationships between the teachers and the students. The teams should be doing more managing of behaviors and not sending students out. Also, next year, study halls and specials will not be built into the day. Monitoring of the halls will be revisited to determine how this coverage will be handled.
The Pre-K program was a one-year program as it was paid with ARRA funds. At the Leadership Team, the top 6 items were prioritized and this made the list to bring forward to the Board. With the $400,000 reduction, the Leadership Team cannot justify keeping the program.
ARRA funds which were given to Districts for a two-year period, have been spent on items that would not carry into the budget.
Kathy Beecher mentioned the items which have been paid through the Title grants as follows:
- 2 reading programs for grades K-5
- Reading program for grades 6-8
- Leveled Literacy Intervention Program and Training – Trained the trainer
- Pre-K Program for 2010-11
- Extended Day Program – this year there are 7 teachers – the grant covers the cost of the tutors and the transportation
- The Key Math Assessment – This is done on-line. Students can be tracked everyday and progress can be graphed. One program was purchased a couple of years ago, now every school has the program.
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- As Carole Carey has retired, Carisa Miner’s salary (recently hired) and a portion of Evelyn Abrams’ salary is being paid out of ARRA funds to use the money as none will be able to be carried forward into the budget for next year.
In Special Services, ARRA funds were used as follows:
Technology – 151 IMacs
For the laptop initiative at the high school, 66 computers were purchased for the special services students - $66,000
Lindamood-Bell Training - $125,000 – This is a 6-12 specialized reading program
PBIS Initiative – K-12
Additional training for autism – trained teachers and educational technicians
IEP Transition – Summer work
Paid for a Social Worker/Day Treatment Consultant position – Had advertised for a 2 day/week social worker position and there were no candidates. Also, have been trying to hire a Day Treatment Consultant for five years, this had not been filled – hired one person to do both positions. This saved local money for two years.
Sherrie Small gave an overview of the Stimulus bill. As mentioned above, the funds were directed towards Special Education and Title I. It also included State Stabilization funds to offset revenue shortfalls and was used as follows:
- The remainder of the MLTI program (high school computer purchase)
- K-8 Literacy Program - $200,000
- Minor capital improvements – roof at the high school, replacement of an old boiler at the high school and a room for the new boiler, a new well and filtration system at Songo Locks School, windows at Sebago Elementary School, paving around the District and early engineering costs, and literacy at the middle school including the purchase of 5 LCD projectors
A question was asked if it was a legal requirement or a school regulation that students have one credit of physical education? Can this credit be earned by participating in after school sports? Mr. True responded that he doesn’t know of any other high school that does that, but that he would check into that. Superintendent Phillips will also follow-up with the State on that question.
PUBLIC COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS
Kathleen Vachon, a parent from Casco, read a statement supporting the Creative and Fine Arts programs at the middle school and high school. These courses are a respite for students and help to make them well-rounded students.
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Carmel Collins read a statement in support of the Fine Arts at Lake Region High School. It helps students have a deeper awareness of self and others. Students need a well-balanced curriculum to be successful.
The Fine Arts program provides learning opportunities for students in grades K-12. It needs continuity and consistency.
Crystal Farrington, a student, spoke in support of the music program at the High School.
Lee Martell, a music teacher at the Middle School, is teaching 436 students this year. Next year, the enrollments are anticipated to be 424 students. She asked, What is a full-time job?
Superintendent Phillips explained, for the benefit of the Board, the difference between staff enrollments and possible program reductions. He is a big supporter of the arts.
The following cuts were made based on enrollment numbers:
- 7.5 positions at Lake Region High School
- A Team at Lake Region Middle School
- When looking at staff reductions and program losses, need to make sure there is access to programming.
- The Fine Arts reductions at the elementary school were based on the student/teacher ratio.
- The half-time music teacher at the high school was recommended as a budget reduction.
Mr. Finn explained that band will not be affected by the reduction. Students need to earn one fine arts credits. Four and one-half fine arts positions are being budgeted to be sure all students get one credit. English requires 4 credits – 8 teachers are needed to achieve the 4 credits. Chorus will still be offered, it will be funded by a half-time position. Eleven positions are being eliminated including content areas and support staff. The high school will offer the students as many programs as possible. At the current time, there will be 98 electives, 32 to 36 are in the arts. The arts are not being targeted. All areas were based on student enrollment numbers to allow for balance and to ease the burden on the taxpayers.
A motion was made by Jody Gray, seconded by Janice Barter, to reinstate the music teacher at Lake Region High School to full time.
There was a discussion on the motion.
Vote: 8-Yes, 4-No. Motion carried.
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Steve Mercer, a Health Teacher at the Middle School, asked what constitutes a full-time teacher. Previously the CFA teachers taught 350 students, now they teach 425 students and their time is being reduced to two-thirds. There will be an impact on students. He will see students
20 days out of a year for 55 minutes. This will be magnified throughout the team. The teachers give everything they have to the students, the students will be losing out. The teachers will also need to evaluate if they can afford to stay in the District.
Peter Mortenson explained that previously there were 4 teams of 80 students – each went to 7 CFA classes. There were low #’s in these classes. The 6th grade came in and there were 5 CFA classes - #’s went up significantly. This year, CFA staff teach 20 classes.
Next year, there is a reduction in the # of teams. CFA classes will have between 19 and 21 students. Home Economics and Woodworking Technology will have lower class sizes (between 9 and 10 students) due to the
Grade 6 enrollment numbers.
Paul Greenstone was asked to talk about the expansion of the Band program. Ms. Rucci’s position was cut two years ago. The Board voted to put back a half-time position. This was not reinstated.
Mr. Forbes was hired last year as a part-time instrumental teacher at the middle school. Forty students are in the band. A summer band program was held which included 50 to 60 students. Sixth graders are playing in the 7th grade band.
David Morton, Town Manager in Casco, spoke not representing any official position. He mentioned that both of his children graduated from the District and he hopes that future students have the same opportunities that his children did. He also mentioned that the Town of Casco had an increase of $600,000 last year and is anticipating an increase of $800,000 this year. He asked what the steps are for adopting the budget?
The schedule was shared as follows:
- March 21 – Public Hearing – Public questions regarding the Board’s tentative budget
- April 4 – Final budget vote, sign warrants
- May 17 – District Budget Meeting
- May 21 – District Referendum Meeting
Mr. Morton asked what the best source was for updated material.
Mr. Phillips told him the best thing to do would be to call the office. We are anticipating that State subsidy numbers should be available soon.
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Kathy Terhune, a Middle School Physical Education Teacher, expressed concern regarding the scheduling of CFA classes. The staff has not been involved with the scheduling. At the elementary level, students get health once a week – 27 classes for 36 to 40 minutes. At the middle school, students will be having health 20 times for 55 minutes. They will be getting less time than the elementary students.
Rick Fox an 8th grade teacher mentioned that the middle school originally had 300 grade 7/8 students. The 6th grade was added and now the fine arts are going to be cut by one-third. Is the Board cutting administration or athletics by 1/3 – programs that don’t affect kids in the classroom?
A motion was made by Jody Gray, seconded by Beth Chaplin, to keep the $100,000 for the Middle School CFA positions in the budget.
There was a discussion on the motion.
Mr. Merritt asked if the CFA programs at the middle school were being hit harder than the rest of the programs.
Mr. Phillips explained that class size is important when you start going over into curriculum policy.
The school day x minutes long - run the program without reducing access to the arts = less time for staff time.
The CFA team is taking a disproportionate amount of the cut.
Four teachers from the 7th and 8th grade team are being cut.
One-third time of 7 CFA teachers is being proposed to be reduced.
Janice Barter raised concern regarding the amount of time middle school students will have for accessing CFA programs.
Vote on the motion: 9-Yes, 1-No. The motion carried.
A motion was made by Janice Barter, seconded by Jody Gray, to schedule an additional budget meeting for February 23 at 7:00 p.m. at Lake Region High School. Vote: 6-Yes, 4-No. Motion carried.
A motion was made by Karla Swanson-Murphy, seconded by Janice Barter, to go into Executive Session to discuss a student matter, pursuant to M.R.S.A. 405. 6.B. Motion carried unanimously.
The Board went into Executive Session at 8:12 p.m. Mr. Stickney, the student and the student’s parent were invited to attend. Donna Norton and Richard Merritt were excluded from the Executive Session.
The Board returned to public session at 9:00 p.m.
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A motion was made by Wayne Warner, seconded by Janice Barter, to expel this student from school pursuant to 20-A M.R.S.A. Section 1001(9) on the grounds that such expulsion is necessary for the peace and usefulness of the school and to direct the Superintendent to provide the student and his/her parents written notice of this action and the reasons therefor. Vote: 10-Yes, 1-No. Motion carried.
A motion was made by Karla Swanson-Murphy, seconded by Laurie Mondville, to go into Executive Session to discuss a student matter, pursuant to M.R.S.A. 405 6.B. Motion carried unanimously.
The Board went into Executive Session at 9:03 p.m. Ms. Schacht,
Mr. Stickney, Ms. Vanidestine, Mr. Kobell, the student and the student’s parent were invited to attend.
The Board returned to Public Session at 9:20 p.m.
A motion was made by Janice Barter, seconded by Jean Clancy, to allow the student to return to Lake Region High School with the stipulation that she completes her community service. Motion carried unanimously.
A motion was made and seconded to adjourn. The meeting adjourned at 9:21 p.m.