Windham's BFUHS Board Minutes 3/9/20 page

BFUHS Board Minutes 3/9/20

BFUHS Board Minutes for March 9, 2020
Posted on 03/16/2020
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Reorganizational & Regular Board Meeting

Monday, March 9, 2020 @ 6:30 P.M.

Bellows Falls Union High School

(Minutes, Draft, Subject to Approval)


Members in Attendance:  Molly Banik, Colin James, Steve Fine, David Clark, Deborah Wright, Margo Ghia, Jack Bryar, Priscilla Lambert


Others in Attendance:  Chris Pratt, Chris Hodsden, John Broadley, Fact TV,  


1.  Call to Order: Chris Pratt called the meeting to order at 6:39 pm.


2.  Adjustments to Agenda: 


            a.  Possible Executive Session to discuss Business office personnel


3.  Communications and Public Comments:  None


4.  Reorganization of the Board:  


            a.  Election of Chairperson:


Jack Bryar nominated Molly Banik for Chairperson.

Margo Ghia seconded.

Molly Banik accepted.

David Clark moved the nominations be closed and to request that the superintendent cast one ballot for Molly Banik as Chairperson.

Jack Bryar seconded.

The motion passed and Molly Banik was elected Chairperson of the Union District #27 School Board.


            b.  Election of Vice Chairperson:


Colin James nominated Deborah Wright for Vice Chairperson.

David Clark seconded.

Deborah Wright accepted.

David Clark moved that nominations be closed and to direct the board chair to cast one ballot for Deborah Wright as Vice Chairperson.

Jack Bryar seconded.

The motion passed and Deborah Wright was elected Vice Chairperson of the Union District #27 School Board.


            c.  Election of Clerk:


Deborah Wright Nominated Priscilla Lambert as Clerk.

Margo Ghia seconded.

Priscilla Lambert accepted.

David Clark moved that nominations be closed and to direct the board chair to cast one ballot for Priscilla Lambert as board clerk.

Deborah Wright seconded.

The motion passed and Priscilla Lambert was elected as Clerk of the Union District #27 School Board.


            d.  Election of Assistant Treasurer:


Colin James nominated Jack Bryar as Assistant Treasurer.

Deborah Wright seconded.

Jack Bryar accepted.

David Clark moved that nomination be closed and to direct the Clerk to cast one ballot for Jack Bryar as Assistant Treasurer.  

Deborah Wright seconded.

The motion passed and Jack Bryar was elected Assistant Treasurer of the Union District #27 School Board.


            e.  Appoint Voting Members to the WNESU Board:


David Clark volunteered.

Deborah Wright volunteered.

David Clark suggested reappointing Brenda Farkas as a voting member and appointing a temporary for one month. 

Molly Banik appointed herself as a temporary alternate.

Molly Banik appointed David Clark, Deborah Wright, and Brenda Farkas as voting members to the WNESU board.


            f.   Appoint Truant Officer:


Colin James moved to appoint the Bellows Falls Police Department as Truant Officer.

David Clark seconded.

The motion passed.


            g.  Appoint Representatives to the Technical Centers’ Advisory Councils


Molly Banik appointed David Clark as representative to the River Valley Technical Center Advisory Council and Margo Ghia as representative to the Windham Regional Career Center Advisory Council.


David Clark: stated for the record that superintendent Chris Pratt has attended more meeting at RVTC than all of the other superintendents combined.


            h.  Appoint Warrant Signer(s):


David Clark moved that any two members of the BFUHS may sign on behalf of the board and that the chair make those appointments.

Deborah Wright seconded.

The motion passed.


            i.   Set Time, Date and Location of Regular Monthly Meetings:


The board established the second and fourth Monday of the month at 6:30 pm at the BFUHS library as the regular meeting time, date and location of monthly meetings with the fourth Monday being reserved for board and committee business only if needed.


            j.   Establish the Newspaper to be used to Announce School Board Functions and Activities:   


Colin James moved to establish the Eagle Times and the Brattleboro Reformer to be used to announce school board functions and activities.

Jack Bryar seconded.

The motion passed.


            k.  Committee Assignments


Educational Effectiveness: 

Priscilla Lambert

Jack Bryar
Brenda Farkas





Building and Grounds

Molly Banik  

Colin James

Jack Bryar

Margo Ghia



Molly Banik

Jack Bryar

Colin James

(Note: any member of the board is able to attend budget committee meetings.)


Teacher Negotiations

Deborah Wright


Support Staff Negotiations

Deborah Wright


Continued Improvement Plan Team Representative

Colin James



Molly Banik



Molly Banik


Business Systems Analysis and Audit Committee

Deborah Wright

Priscilla Lambert

Jack Bryar


            i.   Adopt Robert's Rules for Small Boards           


Deborah Wright moved that the Union District #27 School Board adopt Robert’s Rules for Small Boards.

David Clark seconded.

The motion passed.      


5.  Review and Approve Board Minutes of February 19, 2020:                          


David Clark moved to accept the minutes of February 19, 2020 as presented.

The motion passed.

Colin James abstained.


6.  Reports:


            a.  Superintendent/Assistant Superintendent:  Chris Pratt gave a report and distributed a packet of information for school board members.  The board updated the board contact sheet.  Chris Pratt gave an update about COVID-19 saying that we are keeping a close eye on things and following all recommendations from state and CDC.  We are staying as proactive as possible.  Daily updates and resources are available on the website.  Students were sent home with information and steps to help prevent the spread of the virus.


Jack Bryar: urged all parties that the biggest thing we can do is clean surfaces such as doorknobs and desktops.  Community events should be sanitized prior to the event.  This is an extra step but with people that are older and vulnerable it is very important.  Mr. Bryar said that he is asking for himself and everyone else over 65.


Chris Pratt:  there is a meeting planned with nurses about additional protocols that we may need to put in place taking place.


            b.  Principal:  Chris Hodsden distributed and read a written report.  Mr. Hodsden echoed Mr. Pratt’s statements saying that the high school is watching and prepping for COVID-19.  Mr. Hodsden gave an update on the driveway/parking lot replacement project reporting that there will be a delay until 2021 due to a clerical error at the town office.  Mr. Hodsden said that we could go out to bid on the engineering process and have them in hand on the day we wanted to contract for the work. Mr. Hodsden also reported on a very successful winter sports season and the upcoming student performance of ‘Mama Mia!’


            c.  Committees:  none


            d.  WNESU Board Meeting Review: David Clark gave an update.  The WNESU board has decided that we need outside to help to understand some of the issues that have affected payroll.  In that regard the WNESU ultimately decided last Wednesday to hire the law firm we have on retainer to conduct interviews in the business office to see if we can understand what caused the failures that occurred so that they do not happen again.  Mr. Pratt has been extremely proactive in addressing the issues that are taking place.  RHR Smith consultants have been assisting with some of the ongoing operation in the business office.  Mr. Clark said that he believes that the payroll issues are in the rearview mirror and said that the new issues to be looked at will likely be around the security of our technological infrastructure. 


7.   Unfinished Business for Discussion/Action: none


8.   New Business for Discussion/Action: none


9.  Appointments, if any: none


10.  Director's Comments:


Deborah Wright: Wash hands.


Margo Ghia: echoed Deb’s comment.


Steve Fine:  asked, at what time the interviews with business office personnel will take place?


Chris Pratt:  answered that times will be set up tomorrow.


Steve Fine:  asked, will the process will end in a report?


David Clark:  it will end in a report.  There may be information that will be provided to the board.  We do not have complete understanding of the dynamic and this will help us find that.


Steve Fine: does this undercut the firing of Ronda Williams?


David Clark:  said that he is not in a position to make a direct connection between the current investigation and the firing of individuals at the business office. We are missing 9-years of payroll data.  Is it in our system and we can’t access it?  We have had many problems with the E-finance software that has had 15 revisions.  It could be a multitude of different issues or a combination of issues.  We simply don’t know but it is incumbent on us to find out the answers.


Steve Fine: said that is seems that everything that is being said undercuts completely the fact that all of the blame was put on Ronda and all of the sudden we are finding there are other problems. Now we need an investigation? Perhaps the investigation should have been done before.


Jack Bryar: in numerous public sessions of the board we did speak to the fact that the problems we were dealing with were multipoint.  There were staffing questions and it was known way back that there were issues with the software. Our superintendent who has been living up in the accounting office has done some of the esoteric work that has been done to pull this together.  Chris Pratt has been becoming familiar with the accounting practices that normally are only understood by business managers.  This should be recognized and we should commend that.  Mr. Bryar added, when is Brenda coming back?  We miss you.


David Clark:  said that he appreciates Steve Fine asking the hard questions as it help him understand things a little bit better.


Colin James: said that it is a new year of 2020 and he is looking forward to working with everyone, congrats to winter sports!


Priscilla Lambert:  thinks the restructuring of the business office is making progress forward.  It will help us to know more about the problems with the business office.  We should appreciate that Mr. Pratt has been doing this; it will give us more insight.


Deborah Wright:  made point of order sating that when a member is on the phone and we are voting on a motion each member should state there name and there vote out loud.


11. Executive Session:


Colin James moved to enter into executive session to discuss a personnel matter the premature public knowledge of which would place the board and any individuals concerned at a substantial disadvantage and invited the appropriate administration to attend.

The motion passed.

The board entered into executive session at 7:34.

The board came out of executive session at 8:00 pm.


11.  Date of Next Meeting:  April 6, 2020, 6:30 pm, @ BFUHS library.


12.  Adjournment:  The meeting adjourned at 8:00 pm.


Respectfully Submitted,

Josh Aberman



Board Clerk,   ____________________________________








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