Lake Region School District
December 19, 2011
Dale Douglass, Executive Director, and Sandra McArthur, Deputy Executive Director, from Maine School Management Association had a working session with the School Board from 6:00 p.m to 7:30 p.m. Highlights included the following:
The purpose of the workshop is to review the roles and responsibilities of the Board and the Superintendent.
- Maine School Management Association was established 40 years ago as a service organization to Boards and Superintendents. It began right after bargaining groups came into being.
- There were originally 290 school boards. The Department of Education now has 164 school administrative units; Maine School Management Association counts all the School Boards which equals 246.
- There were 152 Superintendents in Maine and now there are currently 94.
- The number of Board members varies depending on the school administrative unit from 3 to 22 members. Some Boards use sub-committees to do much of their work.
School Board Powers and Duties
- The School Board is an elected governance.
- The Board is responsible for hiring the Superintendent.
- The Superintendent is responsible for hiring all other staff.
- The Board’s most important function is adopting policies. These become the local law of the District.
- The Board gives direction to the Superintendent who gives direction to the District.
- As an individual, a Board member has no authority.
- Board members should know the policies of the District.
- If someone has a complaint, the Board member can refer the person to the complaint policy which gives direction on how to handle an issue.
- When adopting a new policy, it is recommended that it is reviewed by all groups it affects prior to being adopted.
- Policies should be updated on a regular basis.
- The Board is responsible for monitoring, evaluating, and reporting the results of the educational program which includes:
- MEA Testing that changed to NECAP’s
- Grade 11 – SAT Tests and the augmented test
- Maine Learning Results – still being worked on
- Local Assessment System – some districts are still using these
- Now moving to standards based – proficiency-based learning
- Response to Intervention (RTI)
- Common Core – National Standards in Math and English
- Graduation Requirements
- Board’s are reminded not to forget celebrating the good things that are happening in the District
- As the assessment system has changed several times, it is difficult to review assessments to see how well things are working.
“The Superintendent shall employ, subject to the final approval of the Board (or as specified by policy) the staff necessary for carrying out the instructional and support programs.”
“The Board is responsible for establishing salaries, other terms and conditions of employment, as well as for system-wide personnel policies.”
“The Board is responsible for adopting policies for establishing evaluation systems in order to appraise the effectiveness of school department staff.”
- Every school district has to have a Superintendent who has to be certified and is elected to the position by the majority of the Board. The Superintendent can be given a contract for not longer than 5 years.
- Supervising Principals are nominated by the Superintendent and elected by the school board. Their contract cannot be longer than 3 years.
- Teachers will be going from a 2-year probationary period to a 3-year probationary period this year. They are nominated by the Superintendent, elected by the majority of the school board. It is the right of the Superintendent to not issue a contract to a teacher if an issue comes up after the approval of the Board.
- With a 3-year probationary period for teachers, the Board will require an evaluation during the second year of probation.
- Board members were reminded to read collective bargaining agreements so they will know what is in place. An agreement cannot be longer than 3 years.
- To non-renew a continuing contract teacher:
- The Board is the jury
- An employee has to have a 6 month notice and reasons
- Just cause – make a decision – subject to an arbitrator from outside
- To Dismiss a teacher there are 2 reason – unprofitability and unfit to teach
- If a staff member is put on a leave of absence with pay to conduct an investigation, the Board should be made aware, but not given any information as they may need to be the jury later on in Executive Session.
- Board members should not engage in conversations that may be a possible confidential matter regarding the issue with the public.
“The board is responsible for acting as a court of appeal as required by the state statues and when appropriate for personnel, students, and the public when issues involve board policy and its fair implementation.”
- Expulsion hearings
- Confidential personnel issues:
- Board reminded not to discuss Board business regarding students/personnel
- Board reminded to be aware of where a meeting is held if in Executive Session – open windows/people being able to see the Board
- If a Board member hears something in the community, they should give the Superintendent a call. She will assign an administrator to look into the concern.
- Board members are not empowered to act on an issue.
“The Board is responsible for preparing and presenting a budget that will provide the financial basis for staff, buildings, equipment and materials which will enable the school system to carry out the educational and support programs.”
- The EPS formula is difficult to understand and doesn’t fit this District
- The Superintendent passes a budget on to the Board.
- The Board members need to support the school system in presenting the budget to the public.
- Voters pass the amounts of the articles at a budget meeting, followed by a validation referendum vote
School facilities are important to keep up.
People who don’t have students in school, sometimes make a judgment based on the condition of the facilities.
- How do you reach the people who do not have students in the schools?
- How are the buildings used? If many are used, get the word out.
- Include articles in newspapers and mailings. Put copies in town offices, businesses.
- Community concerts - having clean buildings, restrooms, sends a message.
- Agenda available to public – clearly stated.
- Board meetings are televised – look at the tape and see how people are treating each other. Look at body language and tone.
- The Board sets the tone – The Board should be respectful to each other, the Superintendent and the administrators.
- Board members should read their Board packet prior to the meeting. If they have any questions or need more information, call the Superintendent so s/he can get the information out to all the Board members prior to the meeting so an item will not need to be tabled.
- Use emails for times, dates for meetings and arranging transportation.
- Confidentiality – no employee names or student names can be in an email.
- Do not use the email to conduct school business.
- Freedom of Access – all emails can be requested, they are not personal.
“Formal” versus “Informal”
- It is much easier to be formal and to enforce the policies at every meeting.
- Everyone has the same information.
- The Board is judged by how it operates.
- Many people watch Board meetings on television.
- The Board/Superintendent should give a bit of background information prior to voting on an issue.
Maine School Management Association provides a 2-day Fall Conference every October. They offer approximately 50 clinics, 15 by a Board attorney. Board members were urged to attend these sessions to get valuable information and meet other Board members from all over the State.
A clarifying question was asked with regard to approving stipends. The Board is only approving the person who will be performing the duty. The stipend and the stipend amount has been determined through the collective bargaining agreement.
Mr. Douglass and Ms. McArthur were thanked for coming to the meeting.
Regular Meeting – Call to Order and Roll Call
Jody Gray called the Regular meeting of the Lake Region School Board to order at 7:30 p.m. Board members present were: Janice Barter, Beth Chaplin, Cindy LeBlanc, Richard Merritt, Sherry Miller, Donna Norton, Erica Pond Green, Trina Sanborn, Philip Shane, and Karla Swanson-Murphy. Laura Ordway was excused. Laurie Mondville was absent.
Administrators present were: Tonya Arnold, Kathleen Beecher,
Carrie Castonguay, June Conley, Lisa Caron, Ted Finn, Deborah Howard,
Andrew Madura, Rosie Schacht, Joshua Sturk, Cheryl Turpin, and Sherrie Small.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA
A motion was made by Janice Barter, seconded by Karla Swanson-Murphy, to approve the agenda with the deletion of Item 8.F.(2) Purchasing and Contracting: Procurement Staff Code of Conduct, FC-DJH, First Reading. Motion carried unanimously.
A motion was made by Janice Barter, seconded by Karla Swanson-Murphy, to approve the Minutes of December 5, 2011. Motion carried unanimously.
PUBLIC COMMENTS ON AGENDA ITEMS
Ted Finn, Lake Region High School
- The first trimester ended on December 2, 2011. Students who had completed all their work were allowed to participate in several Education Learning Opportunities. Students in need of completing work were given 3 days to complete their work and bring their grades up to a passing level. Report cards were posted as of December 6.
- The Tree Lighting sponsored by the Liaison Committee was a successful event.
- The Lake Region High School Band and Choral Concert was very good.
- Twenty students applied to St. Joseph’s College. Once student received an acceptance letter to take a course, however, did not take the class as it was not a course they needed.
Ted Finn, Lake Region High School
- Winter sports are in full swing.
- The first trimester awards ceremony will be on Thursday, December 22 at 1:00 p.m., followed by the Chorus singing some holiday songs.
Tonya Arnold, Lake Region Middle School
- Parent/Teacher Conferences went well.
- The music concert went very well.
- The Parent/Teacher Partnership will meet on January 30.
- Brian Baldwin presented to staff on the late arrival day regarding bias and harassment. He discussed what staff can do to teach students about harassment.
Lake Region Vocatioanl Center, Rosie Schacht
- Students went to local shopping centers to pack a pickup – three pickups full of food were taken to “Crosswalk” in Naples.
- The Vocational Advisory Committee is working on expanding their programs to grade 8.
- There is also proposed legislation expanding vocational programs to grade 8.
Adult and Community Education - Carrie Castonguay
- Six high school diplomas were earned during the Fall semester.
- One student passed the GED test.
- The Spring brochure is out.
- The next CNA class starts on February 2.
- Medical terminology will also be offered.
Lisa Caron, Special Services Director
Betsy McGettigan has been hired to replace John Fitzgerald as a Social Worker. She previously was employed at Tri-County Mental Health Services. She will be working with John Fitzgerald for about four weeks to transition with students and families.
Emergency Revolving Renovation Fund Application
A motion was made by Janice Barter, seconded by Karla Swanson-Murphy, to approve submitting an Emergency Revolving Renovation Fund Application for PCB’s at Lake Region High School.
Mr. Madura explained that last year the application was not approved as the District did not meet the criteria. This year the wording has been changed to be “all hazardous” so the District should meet the criteria. If the application is approved, the State would pay 30% and the District would pay 70% of the loan. The application would be for on-going PCB work. The Facilities Committee recommended that the application be submitted for an amount up to $500,000.
Motion carried unanimously.
“East Wing” Modular at Lake Region High School
A motion was made by Janice Barter, seconded by Karla Swanson-Murphy, to keep the “East Wing” modular at Lake Region High School for needed space until after the school construction project is complete.
Mr. Madura reported that the original plan was to remove the Vocational wing and the “East wing” modular and try to sell them at the same time. As there is a need for additional space, it was recommended that the District continue using the East wing modular until the construction project is completed. The modular is a couple of years newer than the vocational modular, it is more structurally sound, will not require a lot of repairs, and is owned by the District. Marketing for the vocational wing is in process as the building needs to be removed for the next phase of the construction project.
Mr. Finn added that the East wing has 9 classroom spaces. The new addition upstairs adds 6 classrooms, so they are short 3 classrooms. One program is being housed off campus, one is on campus. The programs require a different type of space.
Ms. Schacht mentioned that the original proposal for new construction included plans for expansion of 3 more vocational programs. To keep costs down, they are one space short. Through negotiations, Mr. Finn found a space for the Law Enforcement class within the high school classroom space. This takes space away from the high school program.
Motion carried unanimously.
A motion was made by Janice Barter, seconded by Karla Swanson-Murphy, to accept a grant of $700 from Target for a Pineland Farms field trip for Kindergarten students. Jill Flagg, a Kindergarten Teacher at Songo Locks School wrote the grant.
Job Descriptions, Second Readings
A motion was made by Janice Barter, seconded by Karla Swanson-Murphy, to approve the revisions to the Director of Transportation, Maintenance and Food Service’s job description as a second reading. Motion carried unanimously.
A motion was made by Janice Barter, seconded by Karla Swanson-Murphy, to approve the revisions to the Director of Adult and Community Education’s job description as a second reading. Motion carried unanimously.
Use of Facilities - Fee Schedule
A motion was made by Janice Barter, seconded by Karla Swanson-Murphy, to approve the Use of Facilities Fee Schedule as a second reading. Vote: 10-Yes, 1-No. Motion carried.
A motion was made by Janice Barter, seconded by Karla Swanson-Murphy, to approve the Board Goals as a first reading.
Dr. Beecher mentioned that the Chairs of the Sub-Committees met to discuss the goals. The Committee changed “post-secondary” to “career education” goals and changed ‘as early as “middle” to “elementary” school’.
The original goals to “Annual set the year’s post-secondary education goal …” was deleted and the following goal was added:
Identify critical activities that lead to measurable data regarding post-secondary education/training.
The guidance counselors will take this year to review what the District is doing and what can be measured. Next year a goal can be included regarding specifics that can be measured if desired.
Motion carried unanimously.
A motion was made by Janice Barter, seconded by Karla Swanson-Murphy, to approve Jan Keiper as the District’s Homeless Liaison for 2011-12. This is paid with Title I funds.
Jody Gray explained that the Board requested that she seek legal council regarding appointing Dr. Beecher as the Superintendent as it went against the District’s Administrative hiring policy. The District’s attorney reviewed the policy and told Ms. Gray that the Board could add some language to the policy if the Board chose not to advertise to fill the position. The Board can approve the Superintendent and then look at the policy, or look at the policy and then hire the Superintendent.
A motion was made by Janice Barter, seconded by Erica Pond Green, to move the Superintendent’s Search to an Action Item. Motion carried unanimously.
A motion was made by Janice Barter, seconded by Erica Pond Green, to approve the following: The Board finds as follows: the Board has worked extensively with Kathleen Beecher in her previous capacity as Assistant Superintendent of M.S.A.D. #61 and in her current capacity as Interim Superintendent; based on the Board’s knowledge of her performance and skills, the Board believes it is not necessary to fully implement GCFB-R – Recruiting and Hiring of Administrative Staff Procedures because Ms. Beecher has demonstrated that she is exceptionally well qualified to fill the position of Superintendent of Schools; and the decision to forego the recruitment and screening process will not detract from the goals of Board Policy GCFB and GCFB-R. Therefore, the Board hereby elects Kathleen Beecher Superintendent
of Schools beginning January 1, 2012 and subject to agreement on an employment contract setting forth the terms and conditions of her employment to be determined in January 2012.
Motion carried unanimously.
Phil Shane reported that the next meeting will be on January 9 at the Crooked River Adult and Community Education Center.
Donna Norton reported that the Committee will meet on January 23 at 6:00 p.m. at Stevens Brook Elementary School.
Janice Barter reported that the Committee will meet on Wednesday, December 21 at 3:30 p.m. at the Central Office.
Richard Merritt reported that the Finance Committee met on December 13. The following was discussed:
- The Audit report was reviewed. The only concern was the decrease in the fund balance. The Committee will decide on the amount to bring forward.
- There was a discussion regarding signing bills, meal reimbursements, and tuition reimbursements.
- The Purchasing and Contracting: Procurement Staff Code of Conduct policy was reviewed and is required for NCLB requirements. The Personnel Committee will review the policy also before it comes to the full Board.
Donna Norton reported that the Committee met prior to the meeting. Discussion included the following:
- A potential plan for a maternity leave.
- An Evaluation form for the Educational Support Personnel group.
- The Superintendent’s Evaluation will be included as an Executive Session on the January 23 School Board agenda.
The next meeting will be on January 23 at 5:30 p.m.
The Liaison Committee will meet on Tuesday, January 10 at 4:00 p.m. at the Central Office.
- Dr. Beecher thanked the Board for their vote of confidence. She promised to work her hardest and hoped that her work would be acceptable to the Board. She is enjoying working as a Superintendent.
- Dr. Beecher has attended several of the concerts at the schools. She is impressed at how well all the students are singing along with the Chorus and Band. The Middle School Concert was very impressive. She commended the staff for their efforts.
- A holiday letter will be sent to all staff members thanking them for their hard work and letting them know that they are appreciated. She wished everyone a restful holiday with family and friends.
- James Thombs has transferred from a District Delivery Technician to a Custodian (4 hours per day) at Stevens Brook Elementary School and a District-wide Maintenance Technician (4 hours per day on school days, 8 hours a day on school vacations and during the summer).
PUBLIC COMMENTS ON NON-AGENDA ITEMS
A motion was made by Janice Barter, seconded by Karla Swanson-Murphy, to adjourn. Motion carried unanimously.
The meeting adjourned at 8:10 p.m.