This blog post is my interpretation and summary of discussions from meetings that I attend and are not official minutes.

There was a Budget & Finance Subcommittee Meeting on June 6th. However, all agenda items were also included in the SC Meeting on June 7, 2017.

In attendance was SC Members – Ryan McLane (remote), Peter Cronin, Jeff Kubick, Marlena Gilbert, Jennifer McKenzie, Angela Donahue, Brian LeBlanc, Director of Business & Finance – Michael Knight, Asst. Supt. Dr. Katie Novak, Interim Supt. – Bill Ryan and Interim Director of Business & Finance – Frank Antonelli.

  • Subcommittees
    • Policy – 2nd Reading for BDB, BDE, DD, IJNDC were reviewed and approved by the SC. The updates will be sent to MASC so they can update our policy manual on our website.
  • Groton-Dunstable Regional Agreement – DESE sent a letter to the District notifying us that they found the amended agreement approved at both Town Meetings to be in compliance with applicable law and regulation. It has been officially approved and will be in effect for our FY19 Budget.
  • Staff & SC Recognition – The SC recognized retiring staff & SC members for their years of service in our District.

Alisa Barton – MS Teacher – 17 years
Jan Banik – MS Speech Teacher – 10 years
Carol Case – HS Art Teacher – 14 years
Barbara Dodson – SU Teacher – 13 years
Corrine Dubay – MS Foreign Language – 12 years
Kenneth Magliozzi – MS Science Teacher – 34 years
Lynn Mueller – FR Paraeducator – 17 years
Patricia Montague – FR Team Chair – 6 years
Lynne O’Hara – MS ELA – 12 years
Cathy Walsh – HS Cafeteria – 7 years
Victoria Yoakum – MS Art Teacher – 18 years
Polly McGrath – Accountant – 16 years
Karen Tuomi – Dir of PTYC, Dir of Extended Day, Dir of Community Ed, Manager of the Performance Arts Center and Blackbox, Coordinator of District Security and Facility Scheduler – 21 years
Frank Antonelli – Interim Director of Business and Finance                                                         Alison Manugian –  School Committee – 8 years                                                                       Stephanie Cronin – School Committee – 3 years

  • Substitute Salaries –  Minimum wage was increased to $11/hr. Substitute Paraprofessionals and Substitute Administrative Assistants are paid at a rate of $10.00/hr., as a municipal employer, we are not required to pay at or above minimum wage. However after surveying 15 area communities and found that the average substitute pay for these positions was 10.67/hr. The Business & Finance Director recommends we increase our hourly rate to $11/hour because during this process many of the area communities are increasing to minimum wage and it will allow us to stay competitive. The SC approved this increase.  
  • PTYC Wages – At the recommendations of Melanson and Heath (the auditors) the District performed their annual review and school committee approval of the PTYC rates of pay. Compared to 11 other extended day programs, The PTYC room coordinators salaries were competitive with the average of these 11 communities. However, most of the communities had a pre-negotiated rate increase year over year. The Business & Finance Director recommends that the school committee vote to increase the base rate of pay for PTYC employees from $13/hr to 13.20/hr for the FY18 School Year. This increase will be wholly supported by the tuitions that are collected to run the extended day program and will not affect the appropriated budget. The SC approved this increase.
  • HS Water Filtration System Update – Quotes to complete the recommended HS water filtration system upgrades have been advertised and are due in the Business Office by June 15, 2017. The estimates are lower with than the bidding the business office and grounds department will review the quotes with Dan Coughlin and award the and lowest responsible and responsive bidder.  If the quotes come back higher than they will be brought back to the SC for approval at our next scheduled meeting. Anticipated work is to be done before the new school year.
  • FY18 Budget Update – The business department utilized a 6% increase in the appropriation for the Middlesex County Retirement after being advised that we can expect an increase of 4-6%.  We received an invoice from the Middlesex County Retirement System for the FY 2018 appropriation. The total amount of the invoice is $859,466, which represents a 14% increase over this year’s appropriation. The Middlesex County Retirement System’s invoice is $61,976 higher than the amount in the School District’s budget.  Such an increase is highly unusual, and the business department has requested a report to justify the increase. The report will be available in approximately ten days, at our next regularly scheduled meeting.
    • If the deficit is not reduced, based on the anticipated report that is received from the Middlesex County Retirement System, consideration must be given to using the
      Contingency Account or the Excess and Deficiency Account to offset this shortfall. 
  • Valley Collaborative Board Appointment – The SC voted to appoint Dr. Laura Chesson to the Valley Collaborative Board of Directors from June 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018.
  • Subcommittee & Committee Liaisons – Marlena Gilbert as chair assigned Subcommittee members and Committee Liaisons for the SC.  The SC voted to approved the assignments.  

Meeting Adjourned at 8:30 pm to go into executive session.

This blog post is my personal interpretation and summary of discussions from meetings that I attend and are not official minutes.

In attendance as SC Members Jeff Kubick, Marlena Gilbert, Jennifer McKenzie, Angela Donahue, Peter Cronin, Ryan McLane and Brian LeBlanc, Asst. Supt., Dr. Katie Novak, Interim Supt., Bill Ryan, Director Business & Finance, Michael Knight and Interim Director Business & Finance, Frank Antonelli.

  • Annual Appointment Of SC Officers –  Each year the SC has an annual reorganization where they appoint a new Chair, Vice Chair and Secretary.  Joining the SC from the May elections are two new members. We welcome Brian Leblanc (Groton) and Ryan McLane (Dunstable) to our team.
    • Marlena Gilbert, School Committee Chair
    • Jennifer McKenzie, School Committee Vice Chair
    • Brian LeBlanc, Secretary
  • Appointment of Subcommittees & Liaisons – The SC members discussed eliminating the Budget & Finance Subcommittee to cut down on meetings where the entire SC has the responsibility of approving the school budget.  Some felt that having the Budget & Finance was beneficial including Frank Antonelli and Michael Knight.  To address some of the concerns of some SC there was consensus to try to schedule Budget & Finance meetings for times/days that the entire SC are able to attend more frequently.  In addition to maintaining current Subcommittees there was an interest in establishing a Curriculum Instruction Assessment & Accountability (CIAA) Subcommittee.  Arlington Public Schools have this subcommittee as it oversees various topics under the SC purview. This will be piloted with some guidance from incoming Supt. Laura Chesson as she has direct experience with this type of Subcommittee before it is memorialized in GD policy.
    • Budget & Finance Subcommittee Appointed by the SC – Marlena Gilbert, Jeff Kubick, and Jennifer McKenzie    
    • Policy Subcommittee & Personnel & Finance Subcommittees – The Chair will assign and the SC will appoint members at the June 7, 2017 meeting. 
    • Liaison Assignments – The Chair will assigned at June 7, 2017 meeting. 
  • GDEF – Beth O’Brien provided the SC with an overview of grant funds issued to each school. 
  • High School User Fees – There will be no change in user fees after review of the data collected from the Business & Finance office, however there will be some buttoning up in three areas to increase efficiency.   Click Here – Memo Club Fees Summary Report
    • We should make sure that club advisors are clear on the fee collection process and that they have responsibility for collection and verifying all club members have paid their fees.
    • We need to meet with the principal and verify that all the clubs that are running have sufficient membership to justify running them.
    • Work with the high school principal to put a process in place for adding a club.
  • Policy – there were a number of policies that are being reviewed to make sure they are up to date with MGL and MASC best practices.  The approved policies will be updated to the District website by MASC. All updated policies from the first readings will be brought back to the entire SC for a second reading prior to being voted on for approval. 
    • First readings – BDB, BDE, DGA, DI, DIE, DJ, DJA, ECA, EEA, DJE, DD
    • Second readings – voted on and unanimously approved are GCBC, IK, JKAA

Meeting adjourned at 9:30pm to enter inter executive session to discuss Unit A, Unit C, Unit D, Custodians, Maintenance and Cafeteria contract negotiations and not return to regular session.