School Committee Meeting Minutes 07/01/2019

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Farmington River Regional School District

Farmington River Elementary School

555 North Main Road, Otis, MA 01253



Monday July 1, 2019, 7:00PM

Meeting #374



Community Participation:                                                   7:00-7:15 PM




Members Present:




Meeting #374 was brought to order by Nicholas DellaGiustina at 7:01pm.


  1. Approval of last month’s minutes #373 and executive minutes #373


As submitted_____________  As corrected_______X_________

The executive minutes were not listed to approve.  A motion by Nicholas DellaGiustina

To accept and vote on Executive Minutes #373, seconded by Carol Lombardo.  The

School Committee unanimously voted to accept and vote on Executive Minutes #373.

Also, the date of the meeting was printed incorrectly.


  1. Busing for Out of District Students: The question of out of district students being able to ride the Farmington River School Buses to the middle and high schools was brought to the attention to the School Committee.  Last year the School Committee has issued a policy concerning out of district transportation.  Any non-residential student will not be able to ride a Farmington River School bus for transportation to any elementary, middle or high school.  Farmington River only provides transportation to in district students attending in district or tuitioned schools.  We will make accommodations for out of district students attending Farmington River School only.  Residents who choose out of district schools must find a means other than Farmington River transportation to get their children to school.


  1. Discuss and vote on a bylaw/policy for the usage of the Pre School Van. This topic was discussed last year.  The School Committee is creating a policy for no other organization or driver to use/drive the School’s vehicles other than the approved school driver.  They feel as if it is a liability on the School’s insurance.  Also, Eric Jesner brought to the School Committee’s attention that a misunderstanding had occurred as well.  It was an assumption that the School is a municipal school and the Towns have the right to use the vans.  That is not the case.  The School is its own entity because of the regionalization.  Therefore, the vehicles are the property of Farmington River, not either of the Towns’.   Nicholas DellaGiustina motioned to create a school policy in which the School’s vans and any other vehicle can only be used by approved school staff for school purposes only.  Jess Drenga seconded the motion.  The vote by School Committee was approved unanimously.


  1. Discuss on a new Technology Policy on Social Media. Jennifer Hibbins found 2 school policies from other schools.  This information can be a help in creating a new policy on social media.  Tom Nadolny researched other Berkshire County schools and no other school has a social media policy.   Tom stated that is a topic that will be brought up at the Superintendent’s Round Table in the fall.    There are many concerns brought up that have to be considered, mostly about the right of speech for the teachers and staff.  The School Committee will read the policies that Jennifer found and revisit this topic in the near future to start the process of a policy for social media.


  1. Discuss the School Information Sign. The School Committee wanted to know how much money has been received from the Otis Cultural Council for a new electronic information sign.  This sign would replace the existing wooden sign in the front of the building by Route 8.  Eric Jesner stated that the school received $2875.00 from the Town of Otis for the sign.  School Committee would like Eric Jesner to look into the cost of a new sign.  Carol Lombardo, Arlene Tolopko and Deb Fogel, who are members of the OCC, will look further into the situation with the Treasurer of Otis and the Treasurer of the Cultural Council.  The School Committee will revisit this topic next month.


  1. Playground Update. Tom Nadolny was not present, but wanted Teresa DellaGiustina and Eric Jesner to relay his concerns about spending the grant money on the playground while the budget is not passed.  Nicholas DellaGiustina stated that the money from the grant for the playground was already voted on and unanimously passed.  That is where the money is going.  The School Committee as a whole agreed with the decision that was made in the previous meeting, passing the monies for the playground.  Tom is going to get in contact with the company that we are getting the playground through and start the process of taking down the structures.  He will update the School Committee next month on the progress.


  1. Discuss and vote on the cost and tuition of Pre-School. Eric Jesner compared the difference between charging tuition and not charging tuition for our Pre School Program.  This comparison is for the 5 day, 4-5year old Pre-School Program.  That program would convert over to Early K.  The discussion is the long term benefits.  The program’s grant runs out this year.  Would it be better to get our funding from an Early K program with no tuition funded by Chapter 70, or keep the program running as is and charge tuition?  The money coming in is relatively the same.  Without charging tuition could possibly draw in more out of district children.  The program will get money from the town the student is from through School Choice money.  The tuition is based on a sliding scale due to hardship or financial help.  That would be eliminated if there were to be no charge for tuition.  Chapter 70 would be a set amount.  The program would have to change regardless in the year 2021 because of the loss of the grant.  In order to continue the program we need some form of money to support the program.  It would cost us 4432.00 dollars this year if we kept tuition; we wouldn’t get Chapter 70 money.  If we didn’t charge tuition, we would be able to get Chapter 70 money this year. So we would be making up the difference next year.   The School Committee will further this decision next month.


  1. Discuss and vote on School Committee meeting days during budget times. After attending a Sandisfield Selectmen’s meeting, Nicholas DellaGiustina would like to be more flexible with the days the School Committee meetings are on during budget season.  The Sandisfield Selectmen feel they cannot attend a School Committee meeting due to the conflict with their scheduled meetings.  Both parties are on Mondays.  Nicholas asked if the Committee vote to move budget meetings to a different night so Selectmen can attend School Committee meetings.  Jess Drenga asked if it could be worded, if possible the meetings can be held on a different night during budget time. The reason being other obligations are already accounted for on different nights.   Nick DellaGiustina motioned to if possible, hold meetings pertaining to the budget on different days than Mondays and Tuesdays.  Jess Drenga seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous.


  1. Update on the 2019-2020 budget. Eric Jesner presented the Committee with the 1-12th budget that the state sent to Farmington River School.  This will be in effect starting now until a budget gets passed by the two towns.  Sandisfield did vote the school’s budget down and will have a Special Town Meeting on July 15th to vote again.  If Sandisfield does not pass the school’s budget, the budget comes back to School Committee and a joint town meeting will be held by the School Committee with voters from both Otis and Sandisfield.  At this point, the two towns will vote on the school’s budget.  There is a copy here at the school of the 1-12th  budget for anyone to review.


  1. Update on the Paraprofessional and Cafeteria Union. Teresa DellaGiustina spoke with Jamie Foster, head of the Teacher’s Association.  There has not been any contact or discussions about the union since the last School Committee meeting.  He will get in contact with the School Committee once any new information comes about.


Respectfully Submitted by,


Teresa DellaGiustina