November 2011

November 22, 2011

The regular meeting of the Chester Board of Education was held on Thursday, September 22, 2011.

In attendance Peg Reyer, Dave Fitzgibbons, Nicole Sypher, Lianne Rutty, Laurie Rubinow, Amy Safran(7:42 arrival), Wendy King, and Ashley Marsh.
Also in attendance were Dr. Ruth Levy, Superintendent, Ian Neviaser, Assistant Superintendent, Michael Barile, Principal, Mr. Garth Sawyer and Kelley Frazier, Clerk.
Absent: Carol Johnson

Ms. King called the meeting to order at 7:00pm.
Ms. King asked David Fitzgibbons and Nicole Sypher who are new Board members to introduce themselves.

Dr. Levy opened the floor for the nominations for the office of chairman.

A motion was made by Peg Reyer to nominate Wendy King as Chairman of the Chester Elementary Board of Education. Laurie Rubinow seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Chairman King opened the floor for the following nominations:

Peg Reyer moved to nominate Laurie Rubinow as the Vice Chair of the Chester Elementary Board of Education. Lianne Rutty seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Laurie Rubinow nominated Amy Safran as Secretary of the Chester Elementary Board of Education. Lianne Rutty seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Special Committees:
Ms. King asked for volunteers for the following Special Committees:

Supervision District: Peg Reyer
Policy: Lianne Rutty, Peg Reyer will consider if opening is not filled
School Calendar: Wendy King and Nicole Sypher
Curriculum: David Fitzgibbons and Laurie Rubinow
Cafeteria: Wendy King
Negotiations: Wendy King and David Fitzgibbons
Finance: Amy Safran and Nicole Sypher
LEARN: Lianne Rutty

Student Presentation
Mr. Barile introduced Sam Paulson, Brandon Amara, Imani Shortz and Olivia Fetter who gave the school update by grade. Mrs. Reyer thanked the students for their presentation.

Dr. Levy also thanked the students for their Veteran’s Day presentation.

Laurie Rubinow made a motion to approve the minutes from the September 22, 2011 meeting as amended and the Accounts Payable report. Lianne Rutty seconded the motion. The motion carried by a unanimous vote.

No Comment

Update on CES Cafeteria Operations and Budget – T. Peterlik
Mr. Peterlik noted that his first year was very interesting. He had much to learn in understanding how public school cafeterias operate. He noted that there are some challenges at Chester. He has separated the elementary schools from the Jr. High and High school to make it more manageable. He has included the cafeteria managers as well as the students and Mr. Barile in the menu planning. He has reduced the processing costs and now the options are healthier. He also has local product on the menu. The salad bar concept has increased the participation. The salad bar project allowed us to be part of the Let’s Move Program with the White House. There is also a vegetarian option available to students. There are changes on the horizon which will bring healthier choices and new ideas. He is currently working on internal protocol and policies to be more effective and faster in receiving the reimbursement from the state. In Chester, there are three lunch waves. Recess is before lunch. We are now complying with federal guidelines which changed in September. Expenses are a little higher because of the change in the guidelines. He was able to refocus the processed foods to fresh foods. He noted that last year we used $15,000 for fresh produce and he has now been able to increase this to $23,000. We now track our inventory. He would like to create a website to communicate with parents. He is rotating staff through John Winthrop which is the training hub. Ms King asked why students are not buying lunch. He is working on presentation and communication to get the students to eat school lunch. Ms. Reyer asked if the meals are prepared on site. They currently are prepared at each school. The cafeteria is a service to the school. Ms. King hopes that all of the good things he is doing will decrease the board subsidy. Mr. Peterlik noted that they are hoping to get Powerschool to include information on the student’s accounts which would make easier access for parents.

Financial Status Report – Mr. Garth Sawyer
Mr. Sawyer gave a brief update of the financial status for Chester Elementary School. There are some long term leave of absences which will have a negative effect on the substitute teaching account. Out of District Tuition will have a surplus based on a reduction of the services needed. Equipment will have a deficit due to an unexpected repair the back stairwell. Chester is projecting a small surplus.

Cafeteria Report – Mr. Sawyer
Mr. Sawyer gave an update on the status of the Cafeteria Budget Updates. Expenses did increase due to the employee benefit costs. There are fewer kids due to declining enrollment. They are still projecting a board subsidy.

Joint PK-12 Policy Committee – W. King
Policy reviewed five policies. Bullying is a focused topic. Acceptable student and employee use policy for internet technology is also being discussed. Dr. Levy noted that staff and student computers can be monitored at all times.

Supervision District – W. King
Enrollment and student needs have increased a staffing need. This is not an increase that Supervision District will pass on this year but will need to be out looked in next year’s budget.

This committee approved a new Algebra II book. FLES, if funded, will come back next year. The new guidelines for math are that students will have to do a quick review of math facts each night. This is similar to the reading guidelines which students currently do. These new guidelines were sent to parents in a letter. Because of the new requirements, Ms. Safran is concerned about making sure parents are able to get books to families that may not be able to get to the library easily. This would be a PTO sponsored activity. Ms. King suggested talking to the classroom teacher who can help with this. A book swap may be beneficial. Teachers may be able to get books from Scholastic for parents to use.

Ms. Safran attended a CABE conference. World Language lists Spanish as the language to learn. It is close to impossible to find other language teachers.

Ms. King went to a CABE conference regarding how to get students to succeed and felt it was very interesting.

Mr. Neviaser reported meeting with all curriculum groups. They are focusing on the new CT standards. The focus is on literacy across multiple curriculums. Non-fiction text is also being focused on. FLES will be evaluated internally. The Math consultants have been meeting with grade level teams before each unit to develop consistency across our schools. Our goal is to make sure every student going to John Winthrop has the same skills and abilities. He noted that internal assessment is K-6. The current guideline is to have students read for 20 minutes and parents sign off. Math will have a similar guideline. All teachers in all grade levels will practice math facts for fluency at home as well. By the time they leave 4th grade, students should be fluent in all math facts. Fifth and Sixth grade will also do this, but will also apply the rules of math for advanced work. The feedback is good so far. The CBASE is wrapping up. The students take an online test. The supplemental testing which is a practice test is going to be online this year. The TEAM program will meet next week. The fifth module will involve technology and connecting with students in the classroom as to what is appropriate and what is not appropriate. This will be a pilot program. The all day Kindergarten presentations went well and were well attended. The December meeting will be the kickoff to inform people. Chester is in very good shape to have all day Kindergarten.

District Update
Dr. Levy discussed a meeting with the lead attorney regarding the Cooperative Agreement and the details to unite our three towns. They also discussed the pitfalls and wording from a statutory standpoint. Dr. Levy noted that regional efficiency will be looked at positively by the Commissioner. We hope to make headway this year.

Dr. Levy said that all schools will be on the website and that each school will have individual links. Ms. Murphy has been working very hard to make navigation through the web page much easier. Dr. Levy would like feedback. They are looking at technology for the high school and giving hardware to the students in Grade 9 which they will keep through out their high school career. Textbooks will be loaded on this equipment. Dr. Levy noted that students need technology.

Recess before lunch is being piloted in Chester and will be brought to the other elementary schools next year. We are eliminating recess in Sixth grade next year. There is a preliminary committee to have the middle school accommodate sixth, seventh and eighth. This is a few years down the road.

Superintendent’s Presentation of Major CES Budget Drivers 2012-12
Dr. Levy presented a high level helicopter view of the Chester Elementary School budget for next year. Chester’s total enrollment for 2011-12 has decreased to 259 students. It is anticipated that the decline will continue by 20-25 students to a low of 208 students in 2021-22. This will enable us to have full day kindergarten without additional expense to the budget. There is a contractual step movement with the teacher and other increases in other union positions. Health insurance may increase 12% which is an industry estimate. Heating costs will increase, but we are unsure at this time because prices have not been set. Supervision District will need to fund a .2 position for a social worker. The elementary budgets are looking at full day Kindergarten. A possible FLES teacher may be required depending on the recommendations that are finalized later this year. There will be normal maintenance of the building and classrooms. A paraprofessional position and a special education paraprofessional will be placed in this budget. Technology will be reviewed so that classrooms are 21st century ready.

Board and Community Input on 2012-13 CES Budget
None given

The Supervision District meeting will be 6:30 and Joint Board of Education is at 7:00 on December 1, 2011.

Ms. Divis asked about the new guidelines and the policy 6154 and the amount of homework for a 3rd grade student. This states no more than 30 minutes a night. Mr. Neviaser noted that the expectation is that the math fluency should not take more than five minutes. She noted that certain teachers may have over an hour for an 8 or 9 year old. Mr. Neviaser will discuss these comments with his staff and review the guidelines for homework.

8.1 Next regular Chester BOE Meeting (January 26, 2012 @ 7:00pm)
8.2 Presentation of Draft CES Budget for 2012-13 (Jan) R. Levy
8.3 Review Strategic School Profile (if available from State) (Jan)-I. Neviaser
8.4 CES BOE 2012 Budget Workshops (Feb 8th, March 16th, March 19th)
8.5 Vote to adopt CES Budget for 2012-13
8.6 Vote on Staff non-renewals (Mar)
8.7 Present CES 2012-13 Budget Town Meeting (TBD)

On motion duly made and seconded, the Board unanimously VOTED to adjourn at 9:04pm.

Respectfully Submitted,

Kelley Frazier, Board Clerk

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