School Committee Meeting Minutes 08/06/2018

Farmington River Regional School District

Farmington River Elementary School

555 North Main Road, Otis, MA 01253

Wednesday August 6th, 2018

Minutes #364


Members Present:  Nicholas DellaGiustina, Jessica Drenga, Carol Lombardo, Eric Jesner


Absent:  Hillary Howard, John Skrip, Billie Pachulsky, Thomas Nadolny


Guests:  Kathy Couch, Kathy Adams, Wendy Berman, Jon Berman, and Bill Hiller


Call to order:  The meeting was called to order at 7:02 P.M. by Nicholas DellaGiustina, chair.


Community Participation:  Wendy Berman was in to speak about her concerns about transportation for out of district, school choice students.  Mrs. Berman was asking if out of district parents could possibly pay for “space” on the buses.  Some other districts have this plan in place.  The School Committee denied that due to the number of students on the census that we have to provide transportation for.  Kathy Couch offered to give up her seats for space, but that is not an option due to the fact if so some unexpected reason the students need the bus or van, their seats are now taken.   Also Kathy asked about the new bus policy.  She wanted to know if anyone can see the policies.  The policies can be requested and reviewed at the school.  A copy is with Teresa DellaGiustina, Assistant to the Superintendent.  Also, Kathy wanted to know how the school choice students will be notified.  Tom did mail out letters to the school choice families stating the information in the letter.  We had a meeting with Dufour about “screening” students.  A list will be distributed to the bus drivers stating who is allowed on the bus.  If their name is not on the list, they are not allowed on the bus.  Also, out of district students may not ride home on the bus for playdates or going home with a friend. The School Committee did say they could revisit this topic next year.


Approval of Minutes:  Nicholas DellaGiustina motioned to approve the minutes from Meeting #363.  Carol Lombardo seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous.


Principal/Supterintendent monthly updates:  Thomas Nadolny was not present to discuss updates, but left a note to let the School Committee know the changes with the teaching staff.  Rachel Cannon is not the new SPED Teacher, replacing Mary Fleming, and will still be serving the gifted and talented students as well.  Jayme Foster is the new 6th Grade teacher, replacing Christine McArthur.  Michael Flower is our long term sub for our Music Program.  Star O’Brien submitted her resignation from the kitchen on August 3, 2018.


Blizzard Bags:  A vote was needed to continue the Blizzard Bags for the 2018-2019 school year.  A motion to approve the Blizzard Bags was brought up by Carol Lombardo and seconded by Jess Drenga.


School Committee to vote on the cost of school lunch:  The state raises the cost of school lunch on a yearly basis.  They expect the schools to follow suit.  The School Committee voted on a $0.10 increase for breakfast and lunch.  The reduced lunch did not go up so we do not raise the price on those meals.  The regular breakfast $1.50, and paid lunch $2.70.  Carol Lombardo motioned to approve the ten cents increase for paid lunch, Jess Drenga seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous.


Financial Update:  Eric Jesner was in to discuss the new accounting and payroll program.  Bill Hiller researched different companies to take over the Town of Otis’s financial software.  The Town is going to see savings for the switch.  He extended the information to Eric, who also sat in on meetings and researched the information.  The programing system will indeed save the school money in the long run, after the program is up and running.  The program has more options for different areas that were never accessible before.  The Business Office will soon be training for the new software.  We are still responsible to pay for the cost of maintenance and support of the system.  That cost is less expensive than what we are paying at the present time.  Plus, the reports will coincide with the auditor’s reports which will be easier for them to process.


Eric updated the School Committee on moving monies from a few line items to accommodate balances that were overdrawn.  This does not affect the budget outcome, just line adjustments to balance the budget.


Eric would like the approval of the School Committee to join Rural School.  It’s a coalition put together by a superintendent in a very small school system.  He is fighting for more funding for smaller, more rural schools.  Farmington River is number 5 on the list.  We would receive $100 per student.  It doesn’t cost us anything to participate.  The only thing we are doing is strengthening the numbers of small schools to receive more money.  We will get the money one way or another, but it supports the coalition’s purpose.  Gives us a voice.  Arlene Tolopko motioned for Farmington River to join the Rural School Coalition to support small rural schools.  Jess Drenga seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous.


Eric also updated the Committee on his certification.  He starts his courses soon, so he is still progressing forward.


Adjournment:  Jess motioned to adjourn the meeting, Arlene  seconded the motion.  The meeting was adjourned at 8:15 P.M.


Respectfully Submitted



Teresa DellaGiustina, Assistant to the Superintendent