JAMESTOWN SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEETING
Lawn Avenue School
November 1, 2007
Present: Catherine Kaiser, Chairperson
Present: Dr. Marcia Lukon, Superintendent
Dr. Robert Fricklas, Director of Pupil Services
Maria Alfred, Business Manager
Kathleen Alamanzor, Principal
Call to Order: Ms. Kaiser called the work session to order at 7:10 p.m. and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Ms. Kaiser called the Roll Call.
Members present: Kaiser, Brennan, Held, Kallfelz.
Members absent: Dolce.
Public Forum: None.
Discussion of 8th Grade Washington, D.C. Trip:
Consensus of the Committee was to move this topic up on the Agenda.
Mrs. Alamanzor called attention to a handout on the 8th Grade Washington, D. C. tour on June 14-17, 2007. She explained details of the trip and costs. Students will visit Jack Reed’s office and will tour the White House. Ms. Held asked why the per-person costs are higher when there are more people going. Mrs. Alamanzor said she would get the answer to this question. Ms. Held asked about chaperones. Mrs. Alamanzor said that three teachers are going, and there are already parent chaperones; she will assure that the ratio is appropriate. Dr. Lukon asked what would happen if more parents wanted to go on the trip. Mrs. Alamanzor said that, so far, she had not had to turn anyone away.
Ms. Held asked whether there were arrangements for people who could not afford the trip, and Mrs. Alamanzor said yes. Mrs. Kallfelz asked whether this was a school-sponsored trip. Mrs. Alamanzor said that the trip is for the entire class and is school-sanctioned. Mrs. Kallfelz asked whether any cost could come from the school budget. Mrs. Alamanzor said that money for the trip will come from the Jamestown Education Foundation, PTO, Rotary Club, a target grant, and a small grant from the state. She added that parents are very organized. Dr. Lukon asked about plans for students who opt not to go on the trip. Mrs. Alamanzor said that students would come to school, and there would be alternate activities; however, she hoped that all students would go. The trip is being held during graduation week, so the students will not be losing school time. Mr. Brennan asked about a rider for liability coverage. Mrs. Alamanzor did not know, but she will get the answer.
Consensus of the committee was that the trip be approved contingent on approval of insurance.
2008-09 Budget Format, Schedule, Process:
Dr. Lukon called attention to a schedule that the leadership team created. She added that the budget report form has been revised and will be submitted electronically by staff in order to save time. She said that she tried to start the budget process earlier this year; however, by January/February 2008, the schedule will be about the same as last year. Ms. Kaiser said the budget would probably come for a vote on February 14. She suggested removing the February 21 meeting date because of school vacation.
Dr. Lukon asked whether or not the committee was satisfied with the past budget format and process. Ms. Held said that she liked North Kingstown’s process that showed what the budget would be if nothing changed. Mrs. Alfred said she has figures for current staff costs. Dr. Lukon said that she could show figures for “level service”. She said she would not know about changes for special education and IEPs, but she could give figures for services that the district knew it had, and she could show how changes would affect the bottom line. Ms. Kaiser added that the only extra step would be for an explanation of the changes. Dr. Lukon added that she would pull out figures related to mandates.
Mrs. Kallfelz said that it the past, there had been a line-by-line narrative of the budget, and she thought this was both important and helpful. Ms. Held added that it would be good to show the Town Council the figures related to mandates. Mrs. Kallfelz asked whether administration was looking at significant difference in any budget lines. Dr. Lukon explained that Mr. Kitts thinks the district should budget fuel at $4.00 per gallon.
Mr. Brennan said that in the past, the budget has been broken down into special education accounts for each school, and he likes to see these figures. He suggested figures could be shown in a pie chart. Mrs. Kallfelz said she has always found budget presentations to be clear in the past. Dr. Lukon added that she will provide at least as much information as in the past and will give possible breakdowns in addition.
Draft Policy on Building Use:
Ms. Kaiser asked how and why this draft policy on building use is different from the present policy. Mrs. Kallfelz added that she thought this draft was to include use of the building by teachers, and it is not in this revision. Ms. Held explained that this policy was all the subcommittee had, and it was not detailed enough to serve school needs. She explained that the subcommittee looked at lots of model policies, thought it was better to separate policy from procedure, and removed the procedural pieces from this draft. She explained that building use forms will be redone and said that there have been questions about which groups take priority. Ms. Held explained that alternate wordings from different policies have been included in parentheses in this draft so that school committee members could compare them. She thanked Dr. Lukon and Janette for their work in completing this draft. Ms. Held said that requests for use of the building have been increasing. She explained that there is a need to consider building use costs; custodial costs are covered by the current policy, but there are also costs, for example, for heat and lights on the weekend.
Mr. Brennan said that the original policy was for non-school-based organizations. Mrs. Alfred added that there is not a fee schedule, but the school has charged a rental feel. Ms. Held explained that Mr. Kitts does not feel that the present fee covers the cost of building use. Ms. Kaiser said that the fee schedule should reflect costs. Mr. Brennan said the policy talked about the procedure for a fee schedule, but that didn’t happen; he said this is not the fault of the policy. Mr. Brennan said his problem is that this draft is a whole different policy from the present policy. He added that there had been a big discussion about the policy book and explained that the revised policies were to have strike-throughs so that committee members could see the changes. He thought the committee should start with the present policy and then make changes to it. Ms. Kaiser added that this question was valid and asked whether the old and new policies needed to be melded.
Ms. Held questioned whether there should be a different fee schedule and priority list for groups who use the school. Mrs. Kallfelz explained that this policy lays out the procedure for non-school based policy. Ms. Held added that some of the information in the present policy is procedural. Dr. Lukon suggested that the language of the policy be changed to “...proper liability insurance...” rather than listing a specific fee that might change over time.
Mr. Brennan asked whether this policy came up because there is no fee schedule. Ms. Held explained that Mr. Kitts is receiving many more requests for use of the school; he wanted to set up a window so that higher-priority groups were not blocked from school use for the whole year. Mr. Brennan added that it is difficult to prioritize groups. Mrs. Kallfelz said that the priority list of organizations on the second page of the draft made sense to her. Ms. Kaiser added that her only question about the priority list was about the types of organizations and what happened in places where the district saw a profit, for example, from renting the facility for a weekend conference. She suggested that there be something in the policy regarding discretion of the district. Dr. Lukon added that in on of her previous districts, a church rented the school every Sunday morning. Ms. Held explained that Mr. Kitts hoped to get requests for a shorter period of time such as three months rather than a full year. Mrs. Kallfelz suggested that there should be a caveat regarding administration making changes as needed.
School committee members went through the draft policy line by line and made suggestions for changes in wording. Administration will incorporate these changes into the policy in time for the first reading at the next meeting.
Ms. Kaiser explained that North Kingstown’s business manager looked at the funding formula found it reasonable and fair for both sides. She added that there are three parts to the formula. 1) Per-capita percentage of total administrative costs - These were renegotiated because the high school does not benefit from these administrative services as much as the other schools. 2) Per-pupil InSite figures - This the major portion of the formula. However, InSite figures are two years behind. When the formula was renegotiated and in order to compensate for InSite figures, Jamestown agreed to front-load tuition the tuition agreement and to continue to pay the old formula for the first year. 3) Per-pupil bond costs -Originally, Jamestown had agreed to pay its percentage of the bond; however, the state was reimbursing North Kingstown 30% of the bond payment every year, but Jamestown was not getting credit for this reimbursement. When this issue was brought up and the formula was renegotiated, North Kingstown agreed to reduce Jamestown’s bond payment by 30%.
Ms. Kaiser explained that, for the new administrative costs, the new formula is based on a common way of assessing office overhead. Jamestown agreed to pay half of the indirect costs. This is an arbitrary figure that was agreed upon by both school committees. In the past, there have been major complaints about Jamestown not doing its part regarding tuition. Ms. Kaiser said she thought that the North Kingstown business manager had proved that the amount Jamestown was paying was fair and, in addition, had pointed out how much North Kingstown would lose if students left the district. Ms. Kaiser explained that the original contract was for ten years and ran through 2011; however, North Kingstown’s business manager recommended a procedure for having this be a rolling date.
Mr. Brennan explained that North Kingstown’s business manager pointed out that Jamestown comprises 13-15% of high school students and pays 13-15% of the costs. Dr. Lukon added that when she met with North Kingstown’s superintendent, she was told that there is a small but vocal group; however, most people are satisfied with Jamestown’s tuition.
Ms. Held explained that there has been a complaint regarding high school visitation. The fall of 8th Grade is a time when parents have an interest in choosing which high school their students will attend. She said that two parents had asked whether they could attend North Kingstown’s Open House and were told that it was for parents of current students only. She suggested how this could be changed. Dr. Lukon suggested that the better way to address this issue is by discussion between superintendents; she will call Dr. Feir tomorrow.
Public Forum: None.
Ms. Kaiser noted that the following topics will be discussed on the agenda of November 15: retreat update, school committee goals, and the first reading of the building policy. Please send an email to Ms. Kaiser will any additional topics.
Adjourned: Mrs. Kallfelz moved and Mr. Brennan seconded a motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:40 p.m. All approved. So moved.
THE AFOREMENTIONED MINUTES ARE HEREBY APPROVED:
Chairperson, Jamestown School Committee Date