School Committee Meeting Minutes 09/09/2019

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Farmington River Regional School District

Farmington River Elementary School

555 North Main Road, Otis, MA 01253



Monday September 9, 2019, 7:00PM

Meeting #378



Community Participation:   Vanessa Turasuk was in to discuss the out of school district transportation.  Nicholas DellaGiustina explained the School’s policy on transportation.  The buses that we contract are only picking up in district students.  The School does not provide transportation for in district students who are school choiced to out of district schools.




Members Present: Nicholas DellaGiustina, Carol Lombardo, Deb Fogel, Jennifer Hibbins, Arlene Tolopko, Billie Pachulski, Jess Drenga, Thomas Nadolny and Eric Jesner


Guests:  Aimee Magovern, Vanessa Turasuk and Linda Curtis


Nicholas DellaGiustina called the meeting to order at 7:04pm


  1. Approval of last month’s minutes #377.

     As submitted______X #375___________As corrected______X_#376______

Minutes #376 were approved as corrected.  School Committee wanted to be more explicit and or understandable about Eric Jesner’s contract.  Teresa DellaGiustina rewrote the topic to clarify the contract information better.  Minutes #375 were approved as submitted.  Jess Drenga motioned on both minutes, Billie Pachulski seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous.

  1. Principal/Superintendent updates. All staff started the year off with a Professional Day that went well.  Mandatory trainings for all staff were conducted.  The second day was a half day of school.  The students were enthusiastic about being back.  The second half of the day was a Professional Day for the teachers.  Teachers were going over Go Math, the new math program.  Paras went over Autism and behavior management.  Busing went well.  There were minimal calls from parents.  Teresa DellaGiustina and Terrie Gardino(Dufour busing) worked together to make the routes run smoothly, and they did a great job.  Tom held the School’s first fire drill and lockdown drill.  All went well.  The fire department was mistakenly not called.  We did call quickly as soon as the alarm went off to tell them it was just a drill.  The fire chief arrived and went over the procedure of a drill to Tom.  The chief also let Tom know that the protocol for fire drills have changed this year.  The first drill must be done during the first week of school.  After the initial drill, the fire department takes over and conducts the remaining 3 drills that are required for the school year.  Tom discussed to the chief that some of the children have sensory problems.  With a real fire drill, would just remove the student as fast as she/he can, but with a drill we try to work through a drill with advanced warning for those children.  The play structure is up and the woodchips are laid down now, so the students can use the equipment on a daily basis now.  The front receptionist position is in process.  Tom, Eric and Paula have narrowed down 6 candidates.  Interviews went well.  A decision will be made shortly.

Jennifer Hibbins’ reaction to the front end reception area was positive.  The sign-in sheet is in place and working well.  Also, visitor passes are being distributed as well.  Both Jennifer and Tom mentioned what a great job Paula Subklew and Teresa are doing to managing the drop-offs and pickups of the students.

Jennifer did bring up the EEE virus.  Should the School Committee be proactive in the possibility of the virus coming to our area.  Schools in the towns that have the virus are not allowing students to go out during recess or gym times.  At this point in time, the majority of the School Committee wants to cross that path when it gets here.  Tom and School Committee will keep a look out and follow our surrounding areas and if need be, they will do what is the safest for the staff and students.

  1. Vote on a negotiation committee for both Teachers and Para Professionals. Nicholas DellaGiustina asked Tom if the Para Professionals are ready to start the negotiation process.  Tom stated that the Teachers are starting to build their proposal, and the Paras are looking at the Teacher’s Contract to pull some information out of that.  They are looking into general language from the Teacher’s Contract to use.  The Paras need to present the contract to the School Committee.  The Committee does not seek them out to negotiate.

Nicholas DellaGiustina, Jess Drenga and Carol Lombardo volunteered to be on the Negotiation Committee.  Billie Pachulski is the alternate if and when needed.  Nick motioned for the team to be Nicholas DellaGiustina, Jess Drenga and Carol Lombardo with Billie Pachulski as the alternate.  The vote to accept this team was unanimous.  Nick wanted to remind everyone that the team can make decisions about the negotiations if needed.  Every time something comes up they do not have to come back to School Committee for approval.  The team will know where the School Committee stands on the main topics and overall perspective when going into the negotiations.

  1. Discuss and vote on FY19 Circuit Breaker monies to purchase a new school van. Eric wants to see if the School Committee would agree move $65,000 from the General Fund to the Regional Transportation Revolving Fund.  This is the School’s Circuit Breaker money from FY19.  This is the money that would be used to purchase a new school van.  After speaking with the Auditor, this would be a clean and the best transparent way to spend the money.  This will also help keep our E&D under 5%.  Nick made a motion to move the money from the General Fund to the Regional Transportation Fund.  Jess seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous.  Nick did ask how soon we need a new van for the School.  The school needs another van soon, especially with winter and mud season coming up.  Eric started getting quotes from dealerships.  The average quote runs $45,000.  Eric is looking for a van with four wheel drive.

Nick motioned to leave the School Committee Meeting to enter an Executive Meeting just to leave the Executive Meeting to return to School Committee Meeting to adjourn.  Jess seconded the motion.  Vote was unanimous.

Roll Call:  Nick DellaGiusitna-yes, Jess Drenga-yes, Carol Lombardo-yes, Billie Puchalski-yes, Arlene Tolopko-yes, Deb Fogel-yes and Jennifer Hibbins-yes.

  1. Adjourn. Meeting was adjourned at 7:51pm


Respectfully submitted


Teresa DellaGiustina, School Committee Secretary