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2/13/2008

Minutes
Meeting Type:
Board of Education Meeting
Location:
Terryville High School Cafeteria
Date:
2/13/2008 7:00:00 PM

Plymouth Board of Education
Regular Meeting
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Terryville High School Cafeteria

MINUTES

Present:
Board: Ray Engle, Patrick Perugino, Roxanne Perugino, Martin Wetzel, Michelle Spencer,
Karen Kulesa and Daniel Gentile

Excused Absence: Leonard Morgan and Jennifer Zalaski

Administrators: Dr. Anthony W. Distasio, Superintendent, Gerry Perusse, Business Manager; Carol Doiron, Director of Pupil Personnel & Special Education, Peter Lovely, Director of Curriculum & Instruction and Keith Rafaniello, Director of Technology

1. CALL TO ORDER AND PLEDGE TO THE FLAG

Mr. Engle called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. The group joined in the Pledge to the Flag.

2. ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA

MOTION: To adopt the agenda as presented. Motion Patrick Perugino, seconded Roxanne Perugino. Motion passed unanimously. 

3. APPROVAL OF MINUTES

MOTION: To approve the minutes of the regular meeting of January 9, 2008. Motion Martin Wetzel, seconded Dan Gentile motion passed unanimously.

4. PRESENTATIONS

Due to the inclement weather, the presentation to the Board by Harry S. Fisher Middle School has been postponed to a later date.

5. PUBLIC COMMENTS REGARDING AGENDA ITEMS

None

Plymouth Board of Education Page 2 February 13, 2008

6. COMMUNICATIONS

The Superintendent informed the Board Members of a letter he received from Mr. Ralph Zovich, Chair of the Plymouth Board of Finance outlining his goal with respect to the passing of the budget on the first referendum. On behalf of the Board of Education, the Superintendent concurred with Mr. Zovich and indicated looking forward to working with him and his Board in achieving his goal.

The Superintendent indicated Board Members were given a copy of letters he had sent to both Senator Colapietro and Representative Hamzy regarding the new In-School Suspension Law which will take effect on July 1, 2008. With that letter was an editorial from the Stamford Advocate regarding additional unfunded costs this new law would create in Plymouth and other school districts. Dr. Distasio informed the Board Members of an article he wrote for the Plymouth Connection regarding this topic.

Included in the Board Packet was an editorial from Dr. Dave Larson, past director of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents and Mr. Robert Rader, Director of the Connecticut Association of Board of Education outlining the need for additional funding by the State of Connecticut for its schools, to actually reach the schools. For example: In Plymouth last year, there was an increase of $899,000 in Educational Cost Sharing Grant to Plymouth, however, with a 3% increase, only $630,000 reached the Board of Education. This was not applied to educating the youngsters of Plymouth. The remainder of the funds went to the general fund of the town. In essence, it cost the Town of Plymouth fewer local taxes to educate its children this year than last. It cost the Town of Plymouth $270,000 less.

Also included in the Board Packet, were copies of letters from Kristi Colasanto and Rebecca & Alan Theriault, residents of Magnolia Lane, concerning the redistricting. Their requests: (a) their children remain at Plymouth Center School and (b) the Superintendent and Board reconsider allowing Magnolia Lane to remain in the Plymouth Center School district.

7. OLD BUSINESS

A. Letter to the Mayor

At the January 9, 2008 Board of Education Meeting, the Board made a motion requesting that Mr. Engle draft a letter from the Plymouth Board of Education to Mayor Festa regarding the Educational Cost Sharing (ECS) funding from the state. Mr. Engle read the following letter into the record:

Dear Mayor Festa:

On behalf of the Plymouth Board of Education, I am writing to request the direct issuance of all Educational Cost Sharing Grant (ECS) money from the State of Connecticut be allocated directly to the Plymouth Board of Education. This request was approved unanimously at the January 9, 2008 Board of Education meeting. It is the opinion of the Plymouth Board of Education, that if we are to be held accountable for our budget and the improvement of our educational system, then the Board should receive all state income that is due our Board.

Plymouth Board of Education Page 3 February 13, 2008

As you know, the ECS Grant is intended to assist towns with the cost of educating its children. This past year, the Town of Plymouth received $899,000 in additional ECS money. However, the Plymouth Board of Education only received a $630,000 increase to our budget. While the state legislature touted this as a historic year in increasing the funding for public education in Connecticut, the Plymouth Board of Education and its students received absolutely no benefit from this additional funding.

We would like to request a change in our Charter to allow our Board to receive all ECS funds allocated by the state.

Please contact me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Raymond B. Engle
Chair
Plymouth Board of Education

MOTION: To send the letter read into the record by Mr. Engle to the Mayor requesting that all allotted ECS Grant monies be disbursed to the Board of Education to be used toward educating students as was intended. Motion Martin Wetzel, seconded Patrick Perugino. A roll call was taken by the Chair: Mr. Perugino, Mrs. Kulesa, Mrs. Perugino, Mrs. Spencer, Mr. Wetzel and Mr. Gentile and the Chair all cast a “yes” vote, the motion passed unanimously.

8. NEW BUSINESS

A. Childbearing/Childrearing Leaves

MOTION: To approve the extension of a childrearing leave for Lori Lavallee, grade 5 teacher at Plymouth Center School, from February 4, 2008 – February 22, 2008. Motion Patrick Perugino, seconded Michelle Spencer motion passed unanimously.

MOTION: To approve the request for childbearing leave for Shannon Surreira, mathematics teacher at Harry S. Fisher Middle School, from April 9 until on or about June 5, 2008. Motion Patrick Perugino, seconded Michelle Spencer motion passed unanimously.

MOTION: To approve the request for childbearing leave for Jocelyn VanBueren, mathematics teacher at Terryville High School, from April 21, 2008 through the end of the school year.
Motion Roxanne Perugino, seconded Martin Wetzel motion passed unanimously.

B. Appointments

MOTION: To approve the appointment of Lee Anderson and James Bernardi, custodians at Terryville High School effective February 14, 2008. Motion Patrick Perugino, seconded Roxanne Perugino motion passed unanimously.

C. Out-of-State Field Trips

MOTION: To approve the trip to Springfield, Massachusetts for grade 9-12 special education students to attend Six Flags New England on May 16, 2008. Motion Martin Wetzel, seconded Roxanne Perugino motion passed unanimously.

Plymouth Board of Education Page 4 February 13, 2008

MOTION: To approve the trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Madame Tussauds for grade 7 students in language arts and geography classes at Harry S. Fisher Middle School for March 28, 2008. Motion Patrick Perugino, seconded Roxanne Perugino motion passed unanimously.

D. Resignations

Dr. Distasio accepted the following resignations for the purpose of retirement: Maria Davis, Grade 1 Teacher at Prospect Street School, effective June 30, 2008; Karen DiTomasso, Language Arts Teacher at Harry S. Fisher Middle School, effective June 30, 2008; Susan Moley, Music Teacher at Plymouth Center School, effective June 30, 2008; James Pescarmona, Science Teacher at Harry S. Fisher Middle School, effective June 30, 2008; Barbara Pescarmona, Grade 5 Teacher at Plymouth Center School effective June 30, 2008; Lynn Rascoe, Title I/Special Education Teacher at Main Street School, effective June 30, 2008, and Wanda DellaVecchia, Cafeteria Worker at Main Street School, effective June 30, 2008.

Dr. Distasio also accepted the resignation of George Mitesser, Mathematics Teacher at Terryville High School, effective June 30, 2008.

E. Elementary Redistricting

Dr. Distasio presented a brief PowerPoint presentation with respect to redistricting the elementary schools to include two elementary schools. Plymouth Center School and Harry S. Fisher
Elementary School beginning September 2, 2008. The presentation outlined: Goals: (1) to create two comparable programs at Harry S. Fisher and Plymouth Center Schools; (2) to equalize population on both sides of town; (3) to reallocate staff; and (4) create student population plan for the future. Process – (1) identify the number of students in each grade district wide; (2) set a target number of students – 380-400 at Harry S. Fisher and 350-370 at Plymouth Center School; (3) identify street with grades and number of students; and (4) using identified streets and students by grade, set boundaries for each elementary school district. Decision – (1) Apple Program to remain at Plymouth Center School; (2) to develop a comparable pre-school program at each elementary school. Family Resource Center would provide programs at both elementary schools for pre-school students (pending budget approval); (3) Head Start and Star Program to remain at Plymouth Center School; and (4) allow current grade 4 students to attend their current school next year (in grade 5) provided the following conditions are met: (a) transportation would be provided by the parent(s), (b) any younger sibling(s) would attend the school in their home district, and (c) the principal is notified in writing by March 7,2008. Results – (1) approximately 382 students at Harry S. Fisher; (2) approximately 385 students at Plymouth Center School; (3) and the relocation of approximately 3 regular education teachers from Plymouth Center School to Harry S. Fisher School.

Following his presentation, Dr. Distasio read the following recommendation into the record:

Redistricting for:

 Harry S. Fisher Elementary School

Poland Brook & East
Bemis & South/East
Sherman & East
Eagle & East
Jan Court
Plymouth Board of Education Page 5 February 13, 2008

North Higgins Street
South Eagle & East (including all cul-de-sacs and dead end streets)

Lane Hill & North
Allentown & North
Town Line Road & North

Plymouth Center School

West of Poland Brook
North & West of Bemis
West of Eagle
West of South Eagle
South of Lane Hill
North of Allentown
South of Town Line Road

Further Recommendations

  • The APPLE Program will remain at Plymouth Center School
  • We will develop a comparable pre-school program at each elementary school. Family Resource Center would provide programs at both elementary schools for pre-school students.
  • The Head Start Program will remain at Plymouth Center School
  • The STAR Program will remain at Plymouth Center School
  • We would permit current grade 4 students to attend their current school next year (in grade 5) providing the following conditions are met:
    1. Transportation would be provided by the parents.
    2. Any younger sibling(s) would attend the school in their home district.
    3. The principal is notified in writing by March 7, 2008 by parents.

MOTION: To accept the redistricting as proposed and read into the record by Dr. Distasio, Superintendent of Schools. Motion Roxanne Perugino, seconded Martin Wetzel

Prior to voting on the Motion, the Board opened up the meeting to the public for questions or concerns:

Rebecca Theriault – 3 Magnolia Lane, Terryville CT

Question: Is Knollwood Lane considered to be in the Plymouth Center School District?

Response: Dr. Distasio: No, that was an error. Knollwood Lane is in the Harry S. Fisher District.

Attorney Julie Burke

Introduction: Representing clients who currently have children in the Apple Program.
Question: To Dr. Distasio: On your presentation, it stated that it was a tentative decision that the Apple Program would stay. Then during your recommendations, you stated you wanted it to stay. So, I would like to know is this a definitive decision in the vote that will be taken tonight?

Response: Dr. Distasio – Until the vote is taken, they are all tentative recommendations.
Plymouth Board of Education Page 6 February 13, 2008

Attorney Burke – That tentative decision did include the redistricting as a whole?

Dr. Distasio – Yes, my recommendations were as read into the record. The Apple Program would remain at Plymouth Center School.

Attorney Burke – Thank you for clarifying that for me.

There being no further questions or comments, the following roll call was taken by the Chair:
Mr. Perugino, Mrs. Kulesa, Mrs. Perugino, Mrs. Spencer, Mr. Wetzel, Mr. Gentile, and the Chair all cast a “yes” vote, motion passed unanimously.

F. Application for the Drug Free Communities Grant

Dr. Distasio explained the Drug Free Communities Grant is a federally funded grant of up to $125,000 per year for five years. The grant would be submitted on behalf of the community of Plymouth and the Local Prevention Council. Individuals have been working on the writing of this extensive grant for the past year. Given Board approval, the grant would be submitted in March of this year. Dr. Distasio thanked Mr. Lovely, Mrs. Aiudi and Mr. Perusse for the time and work they have put in to this grant.

MOTION: To approve the submission of the Drug Free Communities Grant to the Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Motion Patrick Perugino, seconded Michelle Spencer motion passed unanimously.

9. BOARD MEMBER/COMMITTEE REPORTS

  • Curriculum - Mrs. Kulesa

The Curriculum Subcommittee met on February 6, 2008. The following items were discussed:
 (1) District Improvement Plan - This plan is developed from the Board of Education Goals which are established at the beginning of each school year. It is the foundation on which each School Improvement Plan is developed and individual administrator and staff goals are established. Progress has been made in all areas; (2) Connecticut Mastery Testing – The elementary and middle school students will be taking the Connecticut Mastery Test beginning March 3rd.
(3) Connecticut Academic Proficiency Test - This test will be administered to high school students beginning March 4th. and 4) Virtual High School - student enrollment has increased each of the last two years.

  • Facilities – Mr. Perugino, Chair

Mr. Perugino reported that the Facilities Subcommittee met on January 24, 2008 at the Board of Education Offices in the conference room. The first order of business was the election of a chair. Mr. Perugino was unanimously elected. The meeting then adjourned and the subcommittee reconvened at the old Terryville High School. In attendance were: Mr. Perugino, Mrs. Perugino, Mr. Engle, Mr. Perusse, Business Manager and Dennis Klimkewicz, Head Custodian. A discussion took place with respect to the disposal of furniture, etc. at the old Terryville High School. It was decided to separate the keep items from the disposal items; to seek buyers for the shop and kitchen equipment, to dispose of all items by February vacation; to scrap useless items; and to research the possibility of a silent auction. The Lions Club and the Town Highway Department have expressed interest in some of the items. 

Plymouth Board of Education Page 7 February 13, 2008

There will be a Facilities Subcommittee on Monday, February 25th, at the 5:45 p.m. in the cafeteria of the new high school to determine what to do with the remaining items. Everything needs to be cleared out by February 29th. On March 1st dumpsters will be at the old high school to haul away unwanted items.

Mr. Perugino indicated he was not pleased with the contractors or progress of the new high school. Dates have been promised for the completion of work but have not been met. One should not make false promises. He informed the public that an open house date for the new high school will not be scheduled until all work has been fully completed.

Report on the old high school: Trophies and flags have been removed from the old high school. Asbestos is being mitigated. 

No work will be done at the current middle school until the children are out of school. There is very little work that needs to be done. 

  • Finance – Mr. Gentile, Chair

Mr. Gentile reported that the Finance Sub-Committee met prior to the Board of Education Meeting. The January accounts by facilities report was reviewed and will be forwarded to the Town of Plymouth Board of Finance.

MOTION: To approve the transfers discussed at the Finance Subcommittee Meeting which was held prior to the Board Meeting. Motion Roxanne Perugino, seconded Martin Wetzel motion passed unanimously.

D. Negotiations

None

E. Personnel - Roxanne Perugino, Chair

Mrs. Perugino reported that the Personnel Sub-Committee met with the Superintendent prior to the Board meeting and all matters were covered under new business.

F. Policy

No Report

G. Safety & Transportation

No Report

H. Education Connection - Mrs. Kulesa

Mrs. Kulesa reported she has been in e-mail contact with Education Connection and will be notified as to the date and time of the March meeting.

Plymouth Board of Education Page 8 February 13, 2008

I. Student Representatives

No Reports – students excused due to inclement weather conditions.

10. ADMINISTRATIVE REPORTS/REQUESTS/INFORMATION

Mrs. Doiron, Director of Pupil Personnel/District Administrator in Charge

Preschool Programs are available for three and four year old children. Letter and Preschool Lottery Form for 2008 - 2009 may be obtained at the elementary schools, Family Resource Center or the Board of Education Offices. Lottery selection is scheduled for February 29, 2008. Notification of lottery results is scheduled for March 6, 2008. Lottery forms must be handed in by February 28, 2008. 

Board of Education Preschool Programs will be available at Plymouth Center School and Fisher Elementary School. These programs include typically developing preschool age children as role models for preschool students with special needs.

The three year old Family Resource Center Preschool Programs will be available at Plymouth Center School and Fisher Elementary School. These programs include typically developing preschool age children as well as students with special needs.

The four year old Family Resource Center Preschool Programs will be available at Plymouth Center and Fisher Elementary Schools. These programs include typically developing preschool age children as well as students with special needs.

Mr. Lovely – Director of Curriculum and Instruction

Applications for WAMS (Waterbury Arts Magnet School grades 6 - 12) are available at the Board of Education Office. All applications are to be returned to the Board of Education no later than March 27, 2008 at 2 p.m.. 

Applications are still being accepted for the Rotella and Maloney Magnet Schools.

Mr. Rafaniello, Director of Technology

Mr. Rafaniello thanked Brian Luba, Director and Ms. Fran Block, Plymouth 16 Coordinator for taping tonight’s Board of Education Meeting. 

Mr. Rafaniello asked the public to be patient. Plymouth 16 is going through a transition period. 

On February 11th, the 8th grade students at Harry S. Fisher Middle School selected their high school courses for next year using the computer lab. The computer lab is also being used by the high school students in selecting their courses for the upcoming school year.

Plymouth Board of Education Page 9 February 13, 2008

Mr. Perusse, Business Manager

Update on the Oil Tanks – Main Street School – work will begin during spring break
Prospect Street School – work to begin after school is dismissed in June for summer vacation.

 Dr. Distasio, Superintendent

As Mrs. Kulesa reported, during the month of March, students in grades 3 – 8 will be taking the Connecticut Mastery Test and students in grade 10 will be taking the Connecticut Academic Performance Test.

A reminder to please stay tuned to Channel 16 for school delays, cancellations, and early dismissals. Announcements may also be viewed on major television and radio stations. Messages are made on the AlertNow system.

An Open House date has not been scheduled for the new high school. The event will be scheduled once the building is complete, entirely occupied and all equipment installed.

With the upcoming budget approaching, parents were asked to please play a more active role in this year’s budget process. If anyone has any questions or concerns about the Board of Education Budget, please contact the Superintendent at 314-8004 or by e-mail DistasioA@plymouth.k12.ct.us Thirty-five (35) positions have been lost over the past 7 years; an average of 5 positions each year. If there is another 3% increase, more positions will be eliminated. Dr. Distasio urged parents to get out and vote and support this year’s town budget.

News from the Music Department at Terryville High School – (1) the music department concert is scheduled for February 28th in the auditorium of the new high school; everyone is welcome; tickets are available at the door or may be purchased in advanced at the high school. (2) the Friends of Music will hold a Bingo Night on March 7th in the cafeteria of the high school. Proceeds will go to defraying the costs for the band trip to Virginia Beach; and some much needed percussion equipment was recently purchased for the music department. Thank you to Cindy Roberts for her efforts in gaining this equipment for the school system; and (3) Mr. Keane and members of the Terryville High School band and concert choir recently visited Harry S. Fisher Middle School to meet with grade 8 music students in the hopes of recruiting them for the high school program next year.

February vacation will be held the week of February 18 – 22, 2008.

11. Public Comments Regarding Agenda or Non-Agenda Items

None

12. Board Liaisons to Schools

Mr. Perugino – Main Street/Prospect Street Schools

  • February 27th - Chuck E Cheese Family Night (more information to come)

Plymouth Board of Education Page 10 February 13, 2008

Mrs. Zalaski – Terryville High School

Excused Absence

Mr. Engle – Plymouth Center School

Report given by Mrs. Hotchkiss, PTA president

  • Annual Family Dance, sponsored by the PTA took place on Friday, February 8th from 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
  • April 24th – Town wide ceremony; reception at 11 a.m.
  • Volunteers are needed for the March reading program
  • Bingo will be held at the end of March (more information to come)
  • Reflections for all schools are complete and entries from Reflections will be returned when ribbons arrive
  • Hypnotist for PTA Council fundraising cancelled due to a conflict with other events

Mr. Wetzel – SEPTA – (Special Education Parent Teacher Association)

  • Bowling Party in April
  • Exploring ideas for fundraisers
  • Reflections show with Bob Maxon

Mr. Gentile – Harry S. Fisher Middle School
 

  • February 27 Science Fair – Cafeteria @ 6:00 p.m.
  • February 29 6th Grade Dance - 2:30 p.m. – 4: 30 p.m.

7th & 8th Grade Dance – 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

  • Yearbooks are on sale now for $24.50. However, after February vacation, the cost will be $27.00
  • Free sport physical exams will be held on Wednesday, March 5th at the New Terryville High School from 2:30p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Please call 314-2777 to schedule an appointment. If you have any questions, call Mrs. Dutkiewicz at 314-2791.
  • Thank you to the PTA, staff and everyone involved in McDonald’s night. A special thank you to Alan of McDonalds.

Dr. Distasio – PTA Council

No report

Plymouth Board of Education Page 11 February 13, 2008

13. Final Board Comments

Mrs. Perugino – No comment

Mr. Wetzel – No comment

Mr. Perugino – Both he and Dr. Distasio attended the Legislative Breakfast at CABE. The two topics of discussion were ECS money and in-school suspension. Dr. Distasio indicated the cost of in-school suspension for Plymouth would be approximately $130,000. Mr. Perugino urged the public along with the PTA’s to contact their representatives either by phone or letter to let them know their dissatisfaction.

Mr. Gentile – Supports Mr. Perugino comments. There has been a positive cash flow on the town side for the past 5 years. We need to put money towards education. Best wishes to all of our retiring teachers. We are going to be loosing many, many years of experience. Some of those retiring have put in 30 some odd years with the Plymouth Public School System which is a testimony to how good our system is to have teachers stay as long as they do.

Mr. Wetzel - No comment

Mrs. Spencer – Thank you to all the retiring teachers for all you have done for our children. 

Mrs. Kulesa – to the public, educate yourselves. Do not listen to sensationalism. If you have any questions, please contact any Board Member. They will be happy to answer any of your questions. The Board cannot function at a 3% increase. 

Mr. Engle –

Best wishes to all of our retiring teachers. Reminded the public, there are 180 mandates that the schools need to abide by. Contact your representatives and voice your dissatisfaction.

14. Next Regular Board Meeting

Mr. Engle stated that the next regular Board of Education Meeting will be held on March 12, 2008 at 7 p.m. at Terryville High School.

15. Executive Session – Board of Education mid-year self-evaluation and the evaluation of the Superintendent of Schools.

MOTION: To adjourn the meeting at 8:13 p.m. for the purpose of moving into Executive Session to discuss the Board of Education mid-year self-evaluation and the evaluation of the Superintendent of Schools. Motion Patrick Perugino, seconded Roxanne Perugino motion passed unanimously.
Plymouth Board of Education Page 12 February 13, 2008

MOTION: To enter into regular session at 8:50 p.m. Motion Roxanne Perugino, seconded Patrick Perugino motion passed unanimously.

15. Adjournment

MOTION: To adjourn the meeting at 8:52 p.m. Motion Roxanne Perugino seconded Patrick Perugino motion passed unanimously.

Respectfully submitted,

____________________
Patrick Perugino
Secretary

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