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School Board Minutes 03/11/2013

LAKE REGION SCHOOL DISTRICT
BUDGET WORKSHOP
March 11, 2013


There was a Budget Workshop on Monday, March 11, 2013 at 6:00 p.m. in the Great Room at Lake Region Vocational Center.

Board members present were:  Jody Gray, Chairperson, Janice Barter, Beth Chaplin, Karen Eller, Cindy LeBlanc, Josephy McMahon, Richard Merritt, Peter Morrison, Erica Pond Green, Philip Shane, and Karla Swanson-Murphy arrived late.  Elaine Heuiser was excused and Donna Norton was absent.

Administrators present were:  Tonya Arnold, Carrie Castonguay, Lisa Caron, Deborah Howard, Joshua Sturk, and Kathleen Beecher, Superintendent of Schools.

Others present were:  Barry Johnson, Julie Johnson, and Bernie King.

The Board continued its discussion of additional positions included in the budget as follows:

Special Services Department – Lisa Caron

The educational technician lines will increase by 4 educational technicians due to incoming kindergarten students from CDS who are in need of services.  

There will be one additional student included in the Out-of-District Placement line.  The Department of Education is requiring “seed money” for out-of-district placements for a portion of the day treatment programs at Spurwink and NFI North or Dodge House.  A presentation to the Board on what “seed money” will be made at a later date.

The budget has not been altered this year.  Last year an evaluator and a secretary was cut from the budget.

Questions from the Board:

  • How many students were identified as needing services last year?  352
  • This year?  There were 334 students on the December 1 Child Count.
  • Next year there will be 20 students coming in from CDC, 7 of the 20 are high need students.  These students will be in a Day Treatment program.  
  • There are not a lot of existing students who will be aging out at age 20.  The calendar for the Department of Education for determining who is eligible for special services goes from July 1 through June 30.  If a student has a birthday in July and turns 20, they are entitled to attend school the following year.
  • Is it a State law that Districts have to provide special services to students until age 20?  Yes, Massachusetts is 21 and other states are 22.
  • There are adult services.  Parents work in collaboration with the District to set up secondary transition plans.
Lisa was thanked for the information.  

Adult Education - Carrie Castonguay

  • The budget is $24,000 less than this year.
  • There has been a shift in instructional salaries in the high school diploma line to Lake Region Vocational Center due to a transfer of the Career Pathways position.
  • Vocational classes being held include:  Certified Nurse Assistant Class, Phlebotomy Class, CNA Medical Technician Class, CPR, and Firefighting trainings.
  • Are there rooms at Crooked River not being used?  Depends on the day.  
  • What happens if pre-kindergarten is located at Crooked River?  It will be a scheduling issue, a class can be shifted to afternoon or evening.
Lake Region Middle School - Tonya Arnold
    
The Middle School budget is down by $1,800.  Increases are in maintenance, sports, and MLTI.

  • There is an addition of 5 additional days for guidance.  These are not really new, the amounts are just separated out on a second line.
  • Salary lines are down by $16,000.
  • Ferry Beach is included in the budget for Team Kineo, the following year both teams will be included in the budget.
  • $14,000 was added to the budget for items requested by the teachers.
  • The end result is under last year’s budget.
Superintendent Beecher explained that they are listing any additional days for staff beyond the 182 days separately so that it will be transparent.

Sherrie Small mentioned that 3 days for the guidance counselors has been  included in the budget.  

  • The Instructional Technology line includes laptops for grade 6 teachers.  Also, math interactive tools such as 7 ceiling-mounted projectors, and mimeos are included in this line.  There is one for each Team and one for common space.  
  • This line includes money for part of the lease-purchase to buy one-to-one computers for grade 6 students.  Grade 6 teachers are not included in the MLTI Program.
  • Currently MLTI supplies laptops for teachers in grades 7-12.  Next year, the program will only cover the cost of Grades 7 and 8.  The proposal is for the  District to supply grades 7-12 with laptops.
  • Scantron, MEA, and NECAP tests are being administered on-line.  With Grade 6 students having laptops, it will make the process smoother.
  • Budget Breakdown for line:
  • $15,500 - 7 projectors
  • 7,500  - Supply grade 6 students with new laptops
  • The District has purchased old MLTI laptops and given them to the K-5 teachers.


Intervention Specialist/Instructional Coach Position

  • This position would help to close the instruction gap.  The specialist/coach would be trained for intervention.  
  • The Middle School is the only level that doesn’t have any intervention support.
  • 75% of grade 5 students are meeting standards when they go on to the Middle School as Grade 6 students.  During Grade 6, students score approximately 5% less during both the Grade 6 and Grade 7 school years.  An Interventionist can help staff to use some of the new research practices to improve student outcomes.  
  • 94 students were failing one or more subjects at the end of the first trimester.
Math
  • 84 students (22%) are currently “Substantially Below” grade level in Math.
  • 76 students (20%) are close to a grade level below
  • 42 % are below standards.
Reading
  • 41 students (11%) are currently “Substantially Below” grade level in reading.
  • 82 students (21%) are close to a grade level below in reading.
  • 32% are below standards.
Writing   
  • 52% of 8th graders are below grade level in Writing
Research shows the following:
  • To get the best results on closing the achievement gap, you need to make sure all students are instructed at grade level expectations.
  • Those behind should also get additional research-based instruction to fill the gaps.  This combination is best achieved by using the interventionist/coach model.  This will be done by using the student’s foreign language period to have an additional math or reading class.
  • The instructional coach/interventionist can coach teachers on research-based instruction practices – The Federal Government recognizes this as an important component in improving student achievement. The NAEP survey specifically asks if the school has reading and math specialist and coaches.
  • The Coach/Interventionist would help staff learn research-based intervention options.
  • Teachers will learn how to identify the specific need to target.
  • Teachers will learn how to match the appropriate research-based intervention to the learning need.
  • Progress of students progress is tracked.
  • Provide a feedback loop for teachers that maximizes teacher learning and skill development, which is the most influential factor on learning.
Florida State University research findings include:
  • There was a small but significant relationship between the frequency with which coaches reviewed assessment data with reading teachers and higher reading and mathematics scores.


Florida State University research findings include: (continued)

  • The number of years a school had a coach position was significantly related to higher reading test scores, which suggests that “the benefits of having a coach accrue over time”.
  • Having a coach was associated with “small but significant improvement in average annual gains in reading”.
  • The Middle School currently has no specialized support for regular education staff or students who are performing below grade level.
  • The Elementary schools have Title I, Interventionist, and staff well-trained in the components that help students who struggle with the fundamentals of reading, writing, and math.  
  • The High School has teacher leaders, a student advocate, student elected course levels, and other research-based supports advocated/provided through the SIG grant.
  • Last year, 45 students went to the 8th grade summer academy.  This is helpful but more needs to be done all year.
  • The District has made great gains to only have 25% of the students struggling when they get to middle school.
  • The number of students meeting the standards goes up every year.  When they reach the middle school their scores start going down.
  • Parents were notified at the end of the first Trimester and again in February,  that their child was not meeting standards.     
  • Schools who reach the 80% mark have an Intervention Specialist/Instructional Coach position - $67,000 is budgeted for this position.  This salary is projected higher than a starting teacher, as the teacher would need experience to work in this position.
  • The intervention process will be a focus in the teacher evaluation process.
  • Teachers will be able to collaborate and hear from other teachers.  The Coach will be able to go into the classroom and model how to teach certain topics to help teachers improve student outcomes.
  • The Interventionist/Coach will also collect data.  
  • The Summer Academy is planned for the summer.  Last year there were 5 teachers and it was funded by the SIG grant.  This Academy is for 8th graders going into the high school.  The purpose of the Academy is to focus on aspirations.  They visit Hancock Lumber, Bath Iron Works, and look at jobs in Maine.  They learn what they need to learn in high school to do these jobs.  The teachers track the students once they begin 9th grade to be sure they are making the changes they committed to during the summer.
Technology – Joshua Sturk

  • The MLTI program pays for laptops for students in grades 7-8 and teachers in grades 7-8 and 9-12.
  • The District pays for the hardware for laptops in grades 9-12, the 4-year warranty support, and the network and servers to support those, a firewall and a content builder.  
  • Mr. Sturk attended a meeting and the bids were awarded to 5 vendors with Apple being one of them.  There is a proposal to purchase the same level of service at the elementary level.  Eight year old computers would be replaced with 4-year old machines.  The cost will be $47.00 each.


Technology – Joshua Sturk  (continued)

  • Carts are used at each of the elementary schools.  It is proposed to maintain the one-to-one computers for students in grades 6-12.
  • The State will still cover the cost of the high school teachers’ laptops.  If the District doesn’t buy laptops for the students, they will not pay for the laptops for the teachers.
  • In hopes to get new equipment for teachers in grades K-6 so everyone in the District will have the same machines.  (This includes teachers, guidance counselors, nurses, and special education teachers.)  If doable, it will save time, as all the machines will be able to be imaged the same way.  
  • How much are new machines for instructors?  In the past they were $1,000 per machine.  With a 4-year lease, they are $249 per machine per instructor.  This year the cost will be $1,200 per machine.  With the lease, you also get the 4-year warranty, wireless connection and server.
  • What grades are having Scantron assessments?  Grades 5 – 10.  Next year, it is planned to move it to grades 3 through 11.  This computer program assesses the student’s current ability and is a good estimate of the student’s knowledge.
  • The middle school uses the Scantron assessment in 4 subjects.  At the elementary level, students are assessed in reading and math.  The program can compare the student’s learning over their entire career.  There has been a dramatic improvement at the high school using this tool.
  • The middle school is losing ground.  Scantron shows where the gaps are but it does not address teaching practices.  It shows the areas where students need help.
  • Superintendent Beecher mentioned that the District has raised its standards.  The NECAPs are given during the first week in October.  Students were not meeting the standards due to summer loss.  Students were given a developmental reading assessment.  If students are not meeting their grade level, parents are notified so they can have their child reading over the summer.
  • Grade 7 and 8 students are required to take a foreign language.  At the high school it is not mandatory to take a foreign language.  With the number of students failing at the end of the first trimester in reading and math should we set aside foreign language??
Curriculum Budget – Deborah Howard

Mrs. Howard asked Board members if they had any questions.  She mentioned the following:

Technology – Mrs. Howard supported what Mr. Sturk mentioned.  Mathematics representatives have been sharing math curriculum with no textbooks.  Computer and a screen can support the curriculum.  This is the way instruction is going.

In grades 3 and 4, students will be able to communicate with their teachers on Iphones.

Mrs. Howard supports the Middle School’s Intervention Specialist/Instructional Coach.  There were Literacy Interventionists and Mathematics Interventionists at her previous school.  Middle school students are different.  A lot happens in middle school.  They do get on track, however, they do need the support.

Resource Officer – Mrs. Howard supports the Resource Officer at the high school for the following reasons:
  • Meet and greet students.
  • If someone needs to come to their home, more of a friendly face.
  • We will not know for another month if we will get the grant.    
  • Concern was expressed if Cumberland County would be supplying the officer.
  • If awarded the grant, the District has the option of participating or not.  The contract would give the specifics and that will need to be reviewed carefully.
  • The grant pays for the initial placement of the officer.  If the officer has additional years of service the District would need to cover that cost.
  • There is financial support available.
Community Gardens

  • Students and staff have to be healthy to have a healthy community and a healthy economy.  
  • Children need good nutrition and physical activity for brain development.
  • The District needs a Health Coordinator to continue the work that
Courtney Kennedy did.  The District is missing out on grants.
  • Grants to purchase cross country skis and snow shoes were received to get students outside in physical education.
  • Student attendance is very important.  If a child is ill and not in school, they are not learning.
  • We are in the business of education, students first need to be healthy and then we can educate them.
  • If staff are healthy, there is consistent teaching of students, learning happens for students.  
  • How much did the District receive in grants from Courtney Kennedy?  We will have to do some research and will bring back the information.
  • The District is requesting a half-time position budgeted at $20,000, with $5,000 for benefits.  
Standards Interventionists

The District has had this position in the past.  The Interventionists work part-time throughout the school year, beginning approximately October 15 through Memorial Day.  This was taken out of the general fund budget 2 years ago and funded with Rural Low Income.  This position needs to be included in the general fund budget for 2013-14.  This is for students who do not qualify for Title I funds.  They mostly service students in grades 4 and 5.

ELL (English Language Learners   

More and more students are coming into the District with English as their second language.  The District is required to give these students an assessment to see where they are in speaking English.  These funds pay for tutoring for the students.  There are approximately 8 students identified.  The District is also required to test the Foreign Exchange students.  The LAU Plan requires the District to hire an ELL Teacher if approximately 10 students or higher are enrolled.  The District currently has a fully certified teacher working in the District.  She does tutoring and testing of students.



Extended Studies

There is a proposal to add an additional two days per week to the Extended Studies Consultant position at Lake Region High School.  The consultant is new this year.  Approximately 5% of the population is identified of every grade.  The consultant works with 35 students for one day a week.  The District is loosing many of the students as they are enrolling in various private schools.  How do we keep our students here?  We need to educate our students to be competitive with anyone.

Finance Committee

Superintendent Beecher asked the Finance Committee if they would stay after the meeting on March 14 to make a recommendation on the budget to present to the full Board.  Finance Committee members agreed.  An agenda will be sent out on
March 12.

ADJOURNMENT

The meeting adjourned at 8:15 p.m.

                                                                        _____________________________
                                                                                   Secretary

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                                                                              Date Approved