SC and Budget & Finance 10/11/17

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

The Budget & Finance meeting was prior to the SC meeting so this post will include both. In attendance for Budget & Finance was Supt. – Dr. Laura Chesson, Business & Finance Director – Michael Knight, SC Members – Marlena Gilbert, Jeff Kubick, Jennifer McKenzie.  Prior to the SC meeting, Ryan McLane and Brian LeBlanc joined the full SC meeting.

  • HS Educational Field Trips – Mr. Woodlock presented several trips to the SC in which four required a SC vote.  SC voted and approved the Annual Band Competition Trip, Give Kids the World Trip/Kissimmee FL, Camp Sunshine/Casco ME and the Germany Exchange trips.  All other trips were approved by the Superintendent. I encourage community members to check out the trips on our GDRSD website or click on the link below, these trips will be providing our students with life-changing experiences and I am proud to be a part of what brings them to our students. 
  • Superintendent Entry Plan – A Superintendent is responsible for developing an entry plan when they are hired by a district. Superintendent brought forth her entry plan to the SC for the second time and it was approved by the SC.
  • Subcommittee/Liaison Reports 
    • Groton COA Liaison – Gilbert updated the SC that the COA will be reviewing the two warrant articles that will be benefiting our students at their next meeting #8 & #9 to consider voting to formally support these warrant articles to show their support for our students.

  • Groton BOS Liaison – Gilbert update the SC that the Groton BoS have provided budget guidance to the Town Manager and it does not include a set percentage increase for the schools.  It provided the Town Manager with guidance to create a level service municipal budget and to work with the Administration to provide funding for what they need for the schools.
  • Dunstable Advisory/Dunstable BOS – McKenzie updated the SC that she attended the Dunstable BOS meeting with fellow SC Members McLane and Gilbert and provided updates on the Abrahams audit and discussed the warrant article to establish a District Capital Stabilization Fund that will be voted on at Dunstable Fall Town Meeting. The Dunstable BOS voted unanimously to move the article forward to town meeting. McKenzie & Gilbert also attended the Dunstable Advisory Board meeting and presented the same information. The Dunstable Advisory had several questions, however, seemed to be open to the idea and was going to obtain legal counsel input on the warrant article, they did not take any position at the last meeting but will be meeting again to take positions on warrant articles later in the month.  Dunstable Legal Counsel suggests the following verbiage for the warrant article.  If approved this will allow the District to establish a District Capital Stabilization fund and create a savings account that can only be used for Capital Expenses.
    • GDRSD Capital Stabilization:  To see if the Town will vote to authorize the Groton-Dunstable Regional School District Committee to establish a Stabilization Fund for the Groton-Dunstable Regional School District, pursuant to Section 16G½ of Chapter 71 of the Massachusetts General Laws, said Stabilization Fund to be invested and to retain its own interest earnings as provided by law, and to authorize an operational line item in the FY 2018 Groton-Dunstable Regional School District budget for the transfer of available monies into said Stabilization Fund, or take any other action relative thereto.
  • Budget & Finance – Kubick updated the SC, shared that subcommittee reviewed the same materials that the full SC at this meeting.
  • Policy Subcommittee – McLane updated the SC, we should expect 4-8 policies to review at our next meeting.
  • Enrollment – The Supt. reported on the monthly enrollment numbers.  It was noted that summer office support at the MS & EL building level is needed to increase the efficiency of the scheduling process which ultimately affects class sizes. Having office hours during the summer to manage the new registrations and drops would increase efficiency in scheduling. This will be an area that will be looked at in the FY19 budget as we currently do not have funds allocated for summer secretary hours like we had years ago. In the interim, the MS did request a transfer from their office supply line item from the SC to fund some hours for this Summer, which was approved by the SC.
  • Quarterly Financial Reports – Discussed, vetted and our on the GDRSD website under on the Business & Finance page – Notably GDFFCC (former Football Club) members raised $20,000 to support the football program, as they had planned when we approved having the football team become part of our regular athletic program and budget.  This money is not included in the athletics report for the first quarter but will be accounted for in the second quarter report.
  • District Capital Stabilization Fund – The SC discussed establishing a resolution that guides the SC in how they would assess each town if Dunstable was to approve the creation of a District Capital Stabilization Fund. The resolution would include legal requirements and the commitment to relate assessments to the Capital Plan. Groton approved several years ago but without Dunstable’s successful vote at Town Meeting it was not able to be created. Verbiage for this resolution will be worked on by Kubick & McLane and brought to the entire SC on October 25th for consideration and vote.