100 Noble Way, North Berwick 03906
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Minutes of March 10, 2016




A regular meeting of the Board of Directors was held at the Noble High School in North Berwick, Maine on March 10, 2016 at 7:12 pm with all members present except Ms. Rose. The student representative was absent and the press was absent.  There were 15 in the audience.

Ms. Potter made the motion and it was seconded by Mr. Cowan to go into Executive Session Pursuant to 1M.R.S.A. §405(6)(A) Employment of Employee. All members voted in favor and the motion passed. In at 6:06 pm.  Out at 7:12 pm.

Ms. Wheeler  made the motion and it was seconded by Mr. Cowan  to approve the minutes of March 3, 2016.  All members voted in favor except Ms. Wheeler and Ms. Manley who abstained  and the motion passed.

Ms. Wheeler made the motion and it was seconded by Mr. Smith to move the  Budget Workshop to March 17th after a comprehensive second draft is shared. All members voted in favor and the motion passed.

Public Input:

Ms. Martha Couture, Reading Recovery teacher at the Hussey School introduced herself to the board and also introduced two Reading Recovery teachers from North Berwick.

Mr. Dan Croteau of Berwick shared with the board his experience with the Reading Recovery program with his son Jacob.  He felt that there has been a significant improvement in the past three weeks under Ms. Couture and he and his wife would like to make sure that it is noted and that the program continues.

Ms. Couture shared with the board an overview of her passion for the program and for the continuation of it going forward. She shared a variety of suggestions to support increased reading opportunities in the elementary classrooms (i.e., more substitutes so literacy ed techs are not pulled from intervention groups, teachers pulled from Guided Reading groups to do assessments is a challenge).

Ms. Nicole Riley, a parent from Berwick, spoke on the improvements in her daughter’s reading since she’s been in the Reading Recovery program with Mrs. Couture.  She shared the joy that her daughter has now found in reading and the positive impact on her schooling.

Ms. Heather Smith, of Berwick, shared her child’s experiences with the program since moving from NH to Berwick and the positive impact that Reading Recovery has for him.

Ms. Wheeler also shared with the board her positive experience with the Reading Recovery program in its earlier years.

Ms. Kathleen Campbell, Reading Recovery teacher in North Berwick, shared her feelings about the program and the positive influence Reading Recovery training has had on her teaching and intervention strategies.

Ms. Jen Sprague, Reading Recovery teacher in North Berwick, shared positive feelings as well about the program and the professional development opportunities that are provided through the Reading Recovery program.

The board then reviewed the Program Review Template which focused on the  Reading Recovery Program. There was a variety of data used to determine strengths and weaknesses of the program and the cost effectiveness. The flexibility of the program is a primary concern as well as the durability of the learning of the program (i.e., students needing other interventions in grades two or three).   Program Review

The board had a lengthy conversation regarding the program efficacy.  The question of cost for continued training was posed. The possibility of a “train the trainer” process was discussed and administration stated that they would look into the options available.  There was dialogue with the elementary administrative team regarding interventions; what the impacts of the reduction of the program would be for students who are in need of services. There was a general feeling that the program, if done as intended, has pluses and minuses. It provides one on one support for the students with the greatest needs, but it also limits the amount of children served (8 per semester per trained staff member).  There was some question about the cost effectiveness of continuing to utilize the program to the letter and not allowing the flexibility necessary to meet the changing needs of the students. The board had difficulty entertaining reducing the program as it appears to be very effective for some students.  A board member did note, after reviewing the data in the program template, that the average number of students who were successfully discontinued from the program was often well below 50%, sometimes as low as 11%, and asked about the efficacy.

Fund Balance information was shared.  

On the revenue side, a significant fund balance mistake was discovered last week in the draft one budget.  Originally, a $2,248,730 fund balance was put forward to Board and community.  In reality, the fund balance is $1,018,730.  The error was in overlooking $1,230,000 that is being used in the 2015-2016 budget.  The Superintendent apologized for the mistake and noted the original CIP projection was impacted; however, No jobs or programs were impacted, only planned one-time expenses would need to be reduced.

The new CIP recommendation is $378,000.  Sample changes in one-time only expenditures are:

  • univents $354,000, now we will lease/purchase
  • NMS – three year project (unspent $40,000 from 15-16; recommend $90,000 for 16-17, finish project in 17-18
  • roofing and fascia  – remains a priority
  • Add two filtered water fountains at Hanson instead of spending $80,000 on a water filtration project
  • Hanson repaving but not Lebanon Elementary
  • HVAC NHS – $40,000 (software available)
  • Routine maintenance included – painting, wood chips, tree removal, NB storage shed & bathroom stalls, stair treads at Hanson, etc.

The Superintendent shared two strategies to prevent the recurrence of this error: using a state website formula that supports periodic fund balance checks, and the  addition of two-year column comparison on revenue sheet.

Ms. Van Campen shared the Capital Improvement Project Lists, the stipend lists, items that have changed budget categories, lease purchase agreements, second draft budget projected revenue, and the second draft budget.

The Assistant Superintendent shared with the board an update on the potential weekly early releases for the elementary schools. The conversation regarding the early release format was initiated on November 19, 2015 when Ms. Heidi Early Hersey, Director of Teaching and Learning, brought the proposal forward.  The teacher’s union was also brought into the conversation to address the concerns that might come forward. The Y Care program, which provides before and after school care, has also been involved in the conversation. The transportation department has been double checking schedules to be sure that this can successfully be accomplished. The following document, School Calendar FAQ, will  go out to families regarding the proposal and asking for feedback tomorrow, Friday, March 11th.  It will go home in student backpacks. Follow up parent meetings in each of the towns will occur the week of March 21st.  The plan to provide after school support will be discussed with the board on March 17th and we will follow up with input from the parent nights on March 24th.

The Superintendent shared with the board a letter from Ms. Mary Delahanty, a third grade teacher in Berwick, who is currently on a leave of absence, but is requesting to move to half time upon her return for the 16/17 school year. The Superintendent also shared a letter from Ms. Lee Perkins, 3rd grade teacher in Lebanon who is requesting to go half time beginning in the 16/17 school year.

Ms. Potter made the motion and it was seconded by Mr. Cowan to approve the requests for half time positions of Ms. Delehanty and Ms. Perkins. All members voted in favor and the motion passed.

Coaches summit update on March 26th. 2016 Youth in Sports Coaching Summit

Superintendent Report:

None at this time

Other Business

Ms.Alwin asked about the prom night being on a Friday this year.  In past years, Friday’s worked because of the SAT testing exchange date.  The SATs are slated for a school day this year and therefore the exchange will not be offered. The administration will follow up on this.

Ms. Alwin  made the motion and it was seconded by Ms. Potter to adjourn at 8:40 pm.  All members voted in favor and the motion passed.

Respectfully Submitted,

Steve Connolly,