School Committee Meeting Minutes 03/05/2018

Farmington River Regional School District

Farmington River Elementary School

555 North Main Road, Otis, MA 01253

Monday March 5, 2018

Meeting #359




Members Present:  Nick DellaGiustina, Jessica Drenga, Hillary Howard, Carol Lombardo, Billie Pachulski, John Skrip, Arlene Tolopko, Tom Nadolny  and Eric Jesner


Absent:  none


Guests:  Ron Pachulski


Call to Order: The meeting was called to order at 7:00p.m. by the chair, Nicholas DellaGiustina.


Community Participation:  none


  1. Approval of Minutes of Meeting #358: The minutes of Meeting #358 were approved as submitted, Motioned by Carol Lombardo, seconded by Billie Pachulski.  Vote unanimous


  1. Principal/Superintendent monthly undates: Tom updated the Committee on February’s

happenings.  Jenna Daley, our gym teacher, is pregnant.  Her due date is in September, so she

will not be here for the start of the 2018-2019 school year.


The PTA sponsored a Winter Fun Day at Butternut for grades K-6.  The students went tubing for half a day.  Work was incorporated into the trip so nothing was missed in the curriculum. Students and staff had a great time.


Two teachers have accepted the retirement package.  They will retire at the end of June 2018.  One request for a transfer has risen already.  Posting for the open positions will go out this month.


  1. School safety topics:  There have been a lot of phone calls about the school’s safety

      procedures.  Tom has sent home letters about the procedures to the parents and guardians

outlining our procedures.  Cameras came up, but the cameras will not prevent attacks.  They

will only show what happened after the fact.  Someone would need to monitor the cameras

all the time to be affective.


Otis Police Department has offered free service for an Officer to spend a half day or day at

the school.  This would be random days during the week, not a scheduled time.




  1. Financial Update: Nick started off by saying we are in agreement with BHRSD.  We

     negotiated with the School Committee at BHRSD to keep our increase of tuition at 4% for the

next 5 years.  The SPED tuition is under a 5 year contract as well, but not 4% across the

board.  Eric Jesner crunched the numbers over the next 5 years.  That information is available

at the school for viewing if anyone wants to see the numbers.


Eric moved on to the expenditures.  There are reports available to view at the school.  Overall

the expenditures are good.  The school is in good shape as of right now.  We do need some

new equipment.  A new tractor, a Pre-School shed, and kitchen equipment including two

new stoves and service station.  Kendra Rybacki submitted a state grant and was approved

for one stove, which is a tremendous help to us.  The only item Eric wants to purchase

at this point is the Pre-School shed.  This shed is $2,000.  We are still getting quotes on the

rest of the items needed so Eric wants to hold off another month.  No vote was need to

purchase the shed, but all agreed to do so.


Eric asked the Committee to vote on the purchase of a new Pre-School van.  We have funding

from the regional transportation fund to pay for the majority of the van cost.  We would

have to use the monies by the end of this school year.  We would have to paid a couple

thousand dollars towards the van.  Eric did have several quotes on vans, the School

Committee picked out the most affordable van for the school’s needs.  Nick motioned to

purchase the van, Jess seconded.  Vote was unanimous.


Eric moved on to discuss the increase/decrease of the budget for the two towns.  Sandisfield

increased 2.5%.  Otis decreased by -2.5%..this is based on their operational budget.


Billie Pachulski motioned to accept the 2018-2019 school budget, Carol Lombardo seconded

the motion, vote was unanimous.


  1. Vote to approve Nature’s Classroom to Cape Cod: School Committee must vote to

approve this trip.  5th and 6th grade students only go.  It is for a week in October.  Selected

teachers and one parent are needed on the trip.  Jess Drenga motioned to approve the trip.

Billie Pachulski seconded the motion.  Vote was unanimous.


  1. Vote to approve participating in school choice for the 2018-2019 school year:

      Jess Drenga motioned to approve school choice, Billie Pachulski seconded the motion.

Vote was unanimous.


  1. Vote for land transfer: The School Committee needs to vote on property that the town

of Otis would like to own.  It is next to the DPW.  A trail runs between the school and

the DPW.  The deal is if we transfer the land, the trail would be maintained as an escape

route for students if there ever was a need to evacuate the building.  The town agreed.

Jess Drenga motioned to approve the land transfer, Arlene Tolopko seconded the motion.

Vote was unanimous.



  1. Vote to support a new stipend position: Tom requested a stipend for an assistant to the

Music teacher.  The person would assist in plays and musical.  The stipend will not exceed

$400.00.  Carol Lombardo motioned to approve the stipend position, Jess Drenga seconded

the motion.  Vote was unanimous.


  1. Busing issue: It was brought to Nick DellaGiustina’s attention that out of district students are

are being transported, by our district transportation, to school choice schools.  As a courtesy,

Farmington River School District has always transported out of district students who have

graduated from Farmington River.  That is the stipulation. The transportation does not go out

to any resident who school choices.  Why do non-residents who school choice have to provide

transportation to their children, when non-residents get the benefit of the transportation just

because a sibling graduated from Farmington River?  This was the question brought up.

Nick DellaGiustina motioned for the School Committee to approve that no transportation be

provided for any out of district student attending Farmington River School past 6th grade, nor

will transportation be provided for in district students who school choice out of district.  Out

of district students can ride the bus, only if they are attending Farmington River School and

there is room available on the bus.  The student would need to meet the bus at a bus stop, not

their home.  Jess Drenga seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous.


  1. Vote on increasing Pre-School tuition: With the decrease and eventual loss of the grant to

fund our Pre-School program, the School Committee was asked to approve a 10% increase

for Pre-School tuition.  Motioned by Billie Pachulski to approve, seconded by Carol

Lombardo.  Vote was unanimous.


  1. Unanticipated topics for discussion: none


Adjourn:  Motion to adjourn the meeting by Jess Drenga, seconded by Arlene Tolopko.

Vote was unanimous.  7:45pm



Respectfully submitted,


Teresa DellaGiustina, Secretary of School Committee