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Meeting Type:
Board of Education Meeting
Terryville High School Cafeteria
10/8/2008 7:00:00 PM


Board: Raymond Engle, Patrick Perugino, Jennifer Zalaski, Karen Kulesa,
Martin Wetzel, Roxanne Perugino, Dan Gentile and Lenny Morgan,

Administrators: Dr. Distasio, Superintendent of Schools, Michael Santogatta,
Business Manager, Thomas Meehan, Director of Pupil Personnel & Special Education, Peter Lovely, Director of Curriculum & Instruction and Richard Trudeau, Director of Technology


Mr. Engle called the meeting to order at 7:01 p.m. The group joined in the Pledge to the Flag.


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


MOTION: To approve the minutes of the Regular Board Meeting of September 10, 2008. Motion Patrick Perugino, seconded Lenny Morgan, motion passed unanimously.

4. Presentation

Dr. Distasio introduced Mrs. Worhunsky, Principal of Harry S. Fisher Elementary School. The staff at Harry S. Fisher Elementary School shared a tale of their journey of the year long transition of Prospect Street School and Main Street School. The tale of their journey “And Then There Was One”.




The Board Packet included a thank you letter which was sent from Mrs. Worhunsky, Principal of Harry S. Fisher Elementary School to Mr. Peter Huizenga, President of the Plymouth Chamber of Commerce thanking them for their generous donation of $5,000 from the Annual Golf Tournament. The money will be used for the playground at Harry S. Fisher Elementary School.
Also, the Thomaston Savings Bank donated $2,000 toward the playground at HSFE School. This is one of eight grants the Thomaston Savings Bank provides to our school system.

Plymouth Board of Education Page 2 October 8, 2008 Minutes


After re-evaluating the costs to purchase parking tags and administer the parking regulation at Terryville High School, Dr. Distasio suggested to the Board to amend his recommendation by lowering the parking fee from $50 per year to $25 per year. After a brief discussion, the following motion was made:

MOTION: To amend the original Motion and reduce the parking fee from $50 per year to $25 per year. Motion Dan Gentile, seconded Lenny Morgan. At this time, the chair requested a roll call: Mr. Perugino- No; Mrs. Zalaski – Yes; Mrs. Kulesa – Yes; Mrs. Perugino – No;
Mr. Morgan – Yes; Mr. Wetzel – No; Mr. Gentile – Yes and the chair cast a Yes vote. The total vote = 5 Yes and 3 No. Motion passed.


 A. Out-of-State Field Trips

MOTION: To approve the trip to the Great East Festival in Massachusetts for the choral and band students at Eli Terry Jr. Middle School for May 29, 2009. Motion Patrick Perugino, seconded Lenny Morgan motion passed unanimously.

MOTION: To approve the trip to Virginia Beach, Virginia for music students at Terryville High School for April 2 – April 5, 2009. Motion Patrick Perugino, seconded Lenny Morgan motion passed unanimously.

MOTION: To approve the trip to Spain for students in the World Language Department at Terryville High School for April 9 – April 17, 2009. Motion Patrick Perugino, seconded Lenny Morgan motion passed with Mr. Wetzel abstaining.

 B. Appointments

MOTION: To appoint Gabrielle McTighe, Spanish Teacher at Terryville High School effective October 15, 2008. Motion Patrick Perugino, seconded Martin Wetzel motion passed unanimously.

MOTION: To appoint Megan Howley, Cheerleading Coach at Terryville High School for this school year. Motion Patrick Perugino, seconded Lenny Morgan motion passed unanimously.

C. Resignation

Dr. Distasio accepted the resignation of Sharon Story, Alternative Discipline Program Supervisor effective September 22, 2008.

Plymouth Board of Education Page 3 October 8, 2008 Minutes

D. Childbearing/Childrearing Leave

MOTION: To approve a childbearing leave for Jennifer Chasse for on or about October 27, 2008 and for six weeks following the birth of the child. Motion Patrick Perugino, seconded Roxanne Perugino motion passed unanimously.

 A. Curriculum – Mrs. Kulesa, Chair

Mrs. Kulesa reported the Curriculum Subcommittee met on October 1, 2008. Mr. Lovely presented an analysis of the Connecticut Mastery Test and the Connecticut Academic Performance Test. She indicated that there were some discrepancies in some growth that were difficult to track. She reported programmatic changes in the curriculum took place over the summer to strengthen student understanding and build stronger foundations in reading and mathematics. Mrs. Kulesa reported teacher training K-5 in the use of the DRA2 (Developmental Reading Assessment). A weekly written response program was instituted in grades 1-5 which targeted 4 areas that have been consistently weak over the past three years.

Mrs. Kulesa reported NEASC (New England Association of Schools And Colleges) would be visiting Terryville High School beginning October 19, 2008 and ending October 23, 2008 to complete an evaluation of the high school.

 B. Facilities - Mr. Perugino, Chair

Mr. Perugino reported a meeting will be scheduled to review a few items. The fields have technically not be accepted by the Board of Education along with the following schools: Terryville High School; Harry S. Fisher Elementary School and Eli Terry Jr. Middle Schools. There are a few minor problems being worked on in some of the buildings. 

Mr. Perugino reported there will be a walk through of the fields at 1 p.m. with the Building Committee and Mr. Santogatta, Business Manager on October 9, 2008 to access what can be done to make certain the fields (baseball and softball) are in playing condition.

 C. Finance – Dan Gentile, Chair

Mr. Gentile informed the full Board that the Finance Subcommittee met prior to the Board of Education Meeting, reviewed the September accounts by facilities report and moved that it be forwarded to the Town of Plymouth Board of Finance.

 D. Negotiations – Mr. Perugino, Chair

Mr. Perugino indicated on September 29, 2008, the Negotiations Subcommittee heard a presentation by Bob Lindberg concerning negotiation trends with respect to health insurance. Also, Attorney Mills, the Board’s attorney, began discussing the Board’s proposals for upcoming negotiations with the PEA. There will be a non-meeting on October 16, 2008 to exchange proposals. Upcoming dates are: October
22, 2008 and October 29, 2008 at 6:30 p.m. tentatively. The Mayor, Board of Finance and Town Council Members have been invited to attend.

Plymouth Board of Education Page 4 October 8, 2008 Minutes

 E. Personnel – Mrs. Perugino, Chair

Mrs. Perugino reported that the Personnel Subcommittee met with the Superintendent prior to the Board meeting and all matters were taken care of under new business this evening.
 F. Policy – Mrs. Zalaski, Chair

Mrs. Zalaski called on Dr. Distasio to report on Policy 5131.911(a) Bullying. 

Dr. Distasio informed members that in their packet was the first reading of the revision of Policy 5131.911(a) – Bullying. He indicated the law has change with respect to the terms of definition with respect to this policy. The following in bold print are the changes:

Bullying is defined as any overt acts by a student or groups of students directed against another student with the intent to ridicule, humiliate, or intimidate the other student while on school grounds or at a school sponsored activity, which acts have been committed more than once.

The Plymouth Board of Education’s Program: 4. Requires schools to invite each parent or guardian that it notified of bullying to one meeting.

The Board expects prompt and reasonable investigation of alleged acts of bullying. The Principal, Guidance Counselors, or Pupil Personnel staff of each school is responsible for handling complaints of alleged bullying.

Dr. Distasio indicated the revisions are already in practice in our district but now they are in writing. 

G. Safety/Transportation – Mr. Wetzel, Chair

Mr. Wetzel reported the Safety/Transportation Subcommittee met on September 24, 2008 at which time the matter was addressed in subcommittee.

 H. Education Connection – Mrs. Kulesa, Representative

Mrs. Kulesa attended a meeting on October 2, 2008. There was a review of some administrative items, i.e. new contract for the Director of Education Connection. Education Connection’s Annual Report for 2008 – 2009 provides many services to Plymouth, i.e. Professional Development for teachers; student programs; early childhood programs; FRC; Head Start, Adult Education and Community Services.

Mr. Perugino informed Mrs. Kulesa he was still receiving information from Education Connection and if she could please inform them that Mr. Engle was Chair of the Plymouth Board of Education.

 I. Student Representatives

 Aubrey McCarthy – FBLA – school store will be opening soon; hoping for a new recycling program at the high school; Ecology Club – clean up at Tori’s Den on October 11; Bottle Drive to raise funds; Diabetes walk on October 20 sponsored by the Leo Club will start at Terryville High School and

Plymouth Board of Education Page 5 October 8, 2008 Minutes

end at the old high school; Coat Drive in October sponsored by the Leo Club; and Amnesty International – mock prison scene to teach about human rights.

 Alexis Cordone – Juniors have received last years CAPT scores in the mail.

 Elyse Santorso – Girls’ Soccer team won against Wamogo on Monday; Boys’ Soccer team tied with Litchfield on Tuesday and the Cross Country Team lost against Thomaston.


 Mr. Lovely – Director of Curriculum & Instruction/District Administrator in Charge

Mr. Lovely informed the Board that the Title I Program is up and running. Sixteen tutors were hired. Seven will work in each of the elementary schools and two to work in the middle school. The tutors were hired through a federal grant. Two hundred students in grades K - 8 will be serviced and provided support throughout the year in reading. 

Mr. Lovely reported that Mr. Nave, Plymouth’s Teacher of the Year is a finalist for the Connecticut Teacher of the Year. Also, Mrs. Rebecca Halloran, our reading specialist, has been awarded the Connecticut Reading Assessment for Outstanding Reading Educator. She will be honored on October 23. Mrs. Halloran was among three reading specialist and educators throughout the state to receive this award this year. Most importantly she does what she does by working part-time for the district.

 Mr. Meehan – Director of Pupil Personnel

No report at this time.

 Mr. Trudeau – Director of Technology

Mr. Trudeau thanked, Connor Raymond, Brian Luba and Jeff Telke for making it possible to broadcast tonight’s meeting live. Training for teachers in creating school websites were held two days after school and was a success. Thank you to Jeff Telke and Laura McBaine for running those classes. There is a new product called VISION for school computers which allows the monitoring of computers themselves and gives the ability of the teachers to share their computers with the rest of the labs. Cost to the district: $890 – with a license for the entire district.

 Mr. Santogatta– Business Manager

Mr. Santogatta reported the Finance Subcommittee met prior to the Board Meeting and reviewed the accounts by facilities report for September. He indicated there were a few issues: i.e. electricity and diesel accounts will be strained; maintenance, supplies and repair areas are overburdened due to construction; and grant income for telephone services came in higher than anticipated. Mr. Santogatta indicated how impressed he was with the men and women in the custodial department. They are a tremendous ground of individuals.

Plymouth Board of Education Page 6 October 8, 2008 Minutes

Dr. Distasio – Superintendent

Dr. Distasio thanked Mr. Lovely, Mrs. Audi and Mr. Santogatta for helping to get the Drug Free Community Grant started.

He also informed the Board that we are in the process of applying for another grant. This grant, Safe Routes to School, will add sidewalks contiguous to Harry S. Fisher Elementary School.
Dr. Distasio indicated we would be working with the community to write this grant. The individuals involved in this process are Mayor Festa; Mr. Perugino, Board of Education; Mr. Lorenzetti, Public Works; Officer Sulek, School Resource Officer; Mrs. Worhunsky, Principal Harry S. Fisher Elementary School; Mr. Santogatta, Business Manager; and Ms. Nadler from Safe Routes to Schools. He also indicated we would be seeking parental input and support from the PTA of Harry S. Fisher Elementary School. 

11. Public Comments Regarding Agenda or Non-Agenda Items

Mr. Jessie Leavenworth – 81 South Eagle Street, Terryville CT
Mr. William Porter – 8 Jan Court, Terryville CT

Both parents spoke of the issue of their 5th graders receiving bus transportation to Plymouth Center School. Although they agreed to provide transportation at the time in order for their child to remain at Plymouth Center School to complete 5th grade, they indicated they did not realize buses would be passing by their house. Mr. Leavenworth believed this would not open up a Pandora’s Box. On the other hand, Mr. Porter indicated that personally, he and his wife were told his son would be attending Harry S. Fisher Elementary School because there were no buses in their area that go to Plymouth Center School. 

Dr. Distasio responded to Mr. Leavenworth that it would in fact open up a Pandora’s Box, therefore, he could not recommend that an exception be made to the Board Policy. Others would request the same service. He reminded both parents that the signed agreement allowed their child to remain at Plymouth Center School because of having attended their so long and that they agreed to provide transportation if they child were to remain at Plymouth Center School. If they wished to have their child bused, it would be to Harry S. Fisher Elementary School. 

Dr. Distasio’s response to Mr. Porter – His statement was not accurate. The reason why his child was redistricted to Harry S. Fisher Elementary School was because of where the line was drawn. Where the line was drawn and the cul de sac off that line, all went to Harry S. Fisher Elementary School.

Mr. Leavenworth asked that the Board consider his request and he does not believe this would open up a Pandora’s Box.

Dr. Distasio – If the Board approved their request, it would be arbitrary and they would be going against their policy. If the state were to be called in on another matter, because the Board said “no” to another individual’s request this would create a major problem. Dr. Distasio said he would look at the matter again, but no promises.

Plymouth Board of Education Page 7 October 8, 2008 Minutes

Mr. Brian Barnes, 23 Fall Mountain Road, Terryville CT

Several Concerns: First Issue: Bus Issue – His 4 year old son rode the bus the first day of school and did not get off when the bus driver made his stop. Mr. Barnes found his son an hour and a half later, after chasing the bus, to be asleep. He would like the Board to consider placing a monitor (individual person) on the kindergarten bus for the first week of school so that no other parent has to be faced with this situation in the future.

Dr. Distasio indicated he was not aware of the situation and would contact the principal first thing in the morning.

Second Issue: Title I – He asked Mr. Lovely to explain Title I as he received a paper regarding his daughter and Title I.

Mr. Lovely indicated Title I was a Federal Grant which provide extra support in reading to our students. The Title I Tutors work with the classroom teacher. Instruction takes place during the Language Arts time block. The permission slip was sent home to inform parents this help is available.

Third Issue: Is Physical Education a mandatory class?

Dr. Distasio indicated that physical education is provided for every child. He suggested Mr. Barnes contact the principal since his daughter is in grade 6 and physical education is offered at certain times of the year.

12. Board Liaisons to Schools

Mr. Perugino – Harry S. Fisher Elementary School

 Hotdog roast was great. Harry S. Fisher Elementary had their bookfair.
 October 13th No School
 October 14th Parent/Teacher Conference (5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.)
(early dismissal @ 1 p.m. for students)
 October 15 & 16th Parent /Teacher Conference (1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.)
(early dismissal@ 1 p.m. for students)
 October 21st PTA Meeting
 October 24 PTA Halloween Party
 October 30 Officer Phil Safety Program
 Mascot: Wild Cats

Mr. Engle – Plymouth Center School

October 10 Upcoming Enrichment Program
Sirus Coyote – Musical styles of the Americas
K-2 9:30 a.m. – 10:20 a.m.
3-5 10:30 a.m. – 11:20 a.m.
October 24 Ice Cream Social – 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Funniest Hat Contest

Plymouth Board of Education Page 8 October 8, 2008 Minutes

November Upcoming Events will be in your November Board packet
November 18 PTA meeting 7 p.m. (copy of dates in your November
PTA Budget (copy in your November Packet)
The PTA and teachers have put together a cookbook. Sale price: $10.00

Mr. Gentile – Eli Terry Jr. Middle School

 No Report

Mrs. Zalaski – Terryville High School

 No Report

Mr. Wetzel – SEPTA

 No Report

Dr. Distasio – PTA Council
 No Report 

MOTION: To reopen Public Comment Regarding Agenda or Non-Agenda Items: Motion Patrick Perugino, seconded Karen Kulesa motion passed unanimously.

Lucille Kosikowski – 133 High Street, Terryville CT

Issue – Since the bus stop for Terryville High School was moved from
Eli Terry Jr. Middle School to Prospect Street School there are more students and no supervision. Bus goes right by her house, why can’t students be picked up by High Street somewhere? Why is the bus late 4 out of 5 days?

Dr. Distasio’s response – (1) Mr. Santogatta will follow up with the bus company as to why the bus is running late; (2) there is no supervision at any of the bus stops; (3) there are 2 buses that go to PSS; (3) no matter what the Board does, wherever a bus stop is placed, there will be an issue for someone. He indicated to Mrs. Kosikowski that she is .2 - .3 tenths of a mile to the bus stop, so it’s not a long distance.

Pat Borda – 87 North Main Street, Terryville CT

Issue: Problem with her children being late to school. 

Dr. Distasio indicated he would have Mr. Santogatta look into the matter.

Plymouth Board of Education Page 9 October 8, 2008 Minutes

Jacqui Denski, Liason to the Board of Education – 6 Hoye Street, Terryville CT

Mrs. Denski asked Mr. Trudeau to explain the purpose of the Vision Program. 

Mr. Trudeau – The Vision Program is set up on computer labs within the school. There is a master vision on the teacher’s computer. The teacher is able to have the window up on his/her computer showing each computer in the lab. If a student is encountering difficulty with an excel sheet for example, the teacher is able to send an example to his/her desk top to compare.

Mrs. Denski congratulated those students for putting together a petition so their opinions could be heard.

13. Final Board Comments

 Mr. Perugino – great presentation by Harry S. Fisher Elementary School. As always, we are in need of mentors. Mr. Santogatta and Mr. Meehan have signed up to become mentors. Mr. Perugino spoke of unfunded mandates and how the State Board of Education wants to raise credits. He urged individuals to speak directly or write their representatives and to put a stop to these unfunded mandates.

 Mrs. Kulesa – Wonderful presentation in storybook form by Harry S. Fisher Elementary School. Remember to volunteer. Happy Birthday to my husband.

 Mr. Gentile – Say “no” to runaway legislation. Would like to know what CABE’s position is on unfunded mandates. High school reform is needed, however, not at the expense of unfunded mandates. Mr. Gentile shared his feelings about walking to school when he was a student. Mr. Gentile was also pleased that the students put together a petition. Thank you all for the information you bring to this Board.

 Mr. Engle – Echoed Mr. Perugino’s concern with respect to unfunded mandates. Also, the Board appreciates feedback from the community for this is how the Board and Administration gage their performance. Please bring forth your questions and concerns. Some decisions will have to be made during the upcoming months.

14. Next Regular Board of Education Meeting

 Mr. Engle stated that the next Regular Board of Education Meeting will be held on November12, 2008 at 7 p.m. at Terryville High School.

15. Adjournment

MOTION: To adjourn the meeting at 8:25 p.m. Motion Patrick Perugino, seconded Roxanne Perugino motion passed unanimously.

Respectfully submitted,

Patrick Perugino

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