School Withdrawal Committee
FMRHS Library Moved to Rm 27
October 9, 2019 6:00 PM
Present: Albert St.Pierre; Lucien Beam; Steven Dalessio; Frank Emig; Alan Dustin; Sarah Vogel; William Stahl; Scott Bushway; Joseph Levesque; Mary Henry
Chairman Mr. St.Pierre called the meeting to order at 6:08 PM.
Motion made to approve the minutes of the October 2, 2019 meeting by Mr. Dustin, Second by Mr Beam. All in favor. Minutes are accepted as presented.
Mr. St.Pierre opened with the question, where do we see our direction? Middleton and Goshen withdrawals are discussed. Middleton is different than our needs. Goshen Lempster withdrawal is very close. Mr. Beam feels that the Goshen-Lempster plan is informative. Mr. St.Pierre stated the need to put the information required on paper. Mrs. Henry reiterated that the committee has the information on finances from Mr. Fenn. Mrs. Henry said we need a plan for the remaining towns and Charlestown separate. Mr. Beam offered that the updated budget has been sent out, and from the point of putting a plan together, we must determine what else we need. Mr. Dalessio brought up 195:26 #3, if we don’t change the Articles of Agreement, then apportionment method stays the same and there is nothing more for this committee to do. We simply mention that the apportionment method stay the same. Mrs. Henry states that the impact must be mentioned for the remaining towns. Mr. Dalessio clarifies that the RSA makes no requirement of that, it only needs to be mentioned in the plan IF a change to the apportionment is happening in conjunction with the withdrawal. If there is NO change in the method of apportionment, there is nothing to say. The other towns should know what they are looking at, according to Mrs. Henry. There is no change to the methods but the financial obligations of the remaining four towns will change Mr. Dalessio clarifies that he will be bringing the financial impact to the voters in his town for the March vote. Mr. Beam clarifies that under this plan, this is the impact though there is no change to the Articles of Agreement.
Mr. St.Pierre expressed that he will be requesting the extension until 12/1/19 at the Board of Education meeting on 10/10/19. There are people asking about the timeline and whether the committee can complete the plan in time, notably the Superintendent, Lori Landry. Mr. Beam stated that we do not have a choice but to be complete if this issue is to be ready for the Deliberative session in February and is able to go on the warrant in March.
Mr. St.Pierre drew attention to the specifics of 195:26. Mr. St.Pierre presented the Charlestown plan modeled after the Goshen Lempster withdrawal. Mr. Beam feels that we go by the RSA. Follow the format and we do not have to argue over the budget. We, in this committee, do not need to put the budget together. The school board is putting the budget together, and we have a whole year after withdrawal vote to put a budget together with the pertinent assumptions. Charlestown will have different assumptions than the FM School District. It would be a waste of time to guess what assumptions each party would make. It is really about going before the voters to ask if they want to separate and make decisions on their own.
Mr. Bushway read the Middleton plan and noted that a number of different agreements are included. The tuition and other background agreements are put in place. Mr Emig wonders how can we say what it will cost for tuition two years from now? It cannot be put in for the voters because we do not know. Mrs. Henry recalls that other plans do not state where their students will go or at what tuition rate. They simply put in wording to say that they will find a place for their students.
Mr. Dalessio wrestles with the fact that the transition year is all we have. What happens when Charlestown forms their own SAU? All the additional transitional costs will be removed and the four remaining towns cost will go down in two years. Mr. Beam notes that we have an estimated tuition agreement and wants the potential draft tuition agreement included in the plan.
Mr. Emig noted that there is currently only one school board. Charlestown does not yet have a school board for negotiating purposes. Mr. Dalessio asks what the school board did with Lempster’s children? Mrs. Henry noted that the tuition rate was agreed upon based on numbers. There is an escalation clause in that agreement. Mr. Dalessio feels that this committee could draft something in line with the Lempster agreement, leaving the numbers out “to be determined.” Mrs. Henry feels this committee could use a $15,000 number for this purpose. Mr. St.Pierre asks if the school board can make a motion to accept Charlestown students until there is a Charlestown school board in March upon the vote? We would request that the school board would accept that Charlestown students under our current ADM, 90% and pick years to lock in. It could be in the agreement, and in three years, negotiate with the Charlestown School Board. This would satisfy the voters of Charlestown, and give parents peace of mind for where their children will attend high school Mrs. Henry will ask for the school board meeting on 10/15/19.
Mr. Beam noted that the plan that when this plan is presented to the state, we will hopefully receive feedback and not a straight disapproval. Even if the state approves this plan, a lot of the plan is hypothetical. A lot could change between this plan and the March date. Mr. Beam feels that we should agree to hold to the requirements of the RSA.
Mr. St.Pierre offered Charlestown’s draft plan.
I. Name of the withdrawing district and the grades. Four remaining towns stay as the Fall Mountain Regional School District and Charlestown becomes the Charlestown School District.
II. Number and Composition and Method of the selection and terms of the offices of the school board of the Withdrawing district and the regional district. The committee needs to fill in how many seats on their school board. Mr. Bushway asks if the committee wants to consider a seat on the board for Charlestown or other tuitioned towns? Will that continue? The seeming consensus is yes. Mr. Dalessio asks if the board would add an additional at-large member to the board? The study committee recommends a member from each town and one at large as the most fair. Mr. Levesque clarified that the plan, after approval by the state, can change as it is needed.
III. The method of apportioning the operating expenses and capital expenses among the members of the cooperative school district if a change is to be proposed in conjunction with the withdrawal procedure. If there is a change being proposed. The current wording is that Charlestown will assume Charlestown costs and the remaining four towns will assume their costs.
Consensus of the board, on III. Appropriate charging formula. 8 in favor.
IV. The proposed date of operating responsibility, at which time the withdrawing district shall be responsible for the education of its pupils and after which the cooperative district will no longer have such financial and educational responsibility. Add in the RSA wording to answer: “financial and educational responsibility” to answer.
V. The liability of the withdrawing district for its share of any outstanding indebtedness of the cooperative school district in RSA 195:27. Add a schedule of payments for the energy project.
Vl. A plan for the education of all students in the withdrawing school district and for the continuation of the school system of the cooperative district. This shall detail the proposed assignment of students in grades operated by the cooperative and withdrawing district or districts, including, if any, tuition arrangements or contracts.
#1 no change
#2 no change
#3 Change from Pre K Special ed. To Special Education. Delete 2 from 186-c2.
#4 End after students. (delete “ it’s own elementary,middle” etc.)
#5 Continuity will be discussed at a future meeting to determine if it applies to this situation.
#6 Delete second line.
#7 Change all staff to Teachers and Support Staff Contracts. Amend current to existing.
Regarding #7: The school board will be negotiating the contract for the teachers during the transition year, as the current contract expires. The support staff contract will be negotiated for 2022. The contract discussions would begin after the March vote and it will need to be determined if Charlestown School Board members should be at the negotiating table. Mr. Dalessio asks if an extension of the existing contract is possible. Mr. Beam asks if it can be as simple as extending the contract? Mrs. Henry feels that this is possible, barring any legal reason. The question will have to be asked of the district lawyer. If the contract is negotiated for three additional years, then Charlestown would be beholden to the agreement. Mr. St.Pierre clarifies that the negotiation can be for a one year extension of the existing contract. Charlestown would honor the existing contract.
#8 no change
Vll. Any other matters, not incompatible with law, which the planning committee may consider appropriate to include in the withdrawal plan. Delete 1 and 2.
Delete “A monetary accommodation will be negotiated…” This is a result of discussion of Sick Leave Buy Back.
Mr. St.Pierre asked if there is anything not included. Mrs. Henry said there needs to be an impact included. Mr. Dalessio offered that that is as simple as a table of Budget before vs after. This defines the impact.
Mr. Beam suggested that the committee look at the FY2021 budget for anything that is other than the status quo. For example, the addition of 3 yr old preschool program included in the budget. The 2020 budget with some assumptions and then apportioned for four towns instead of five. The expenses for each town and their schools, then by the methods.
Mrs. Henry would like to see the plan enhanced.
Next meeting will be October 16, 2019.
Motion to Adjourn at 7:52 by Mr. Beam, second by Mr. Dustin. All in favor, motion is approved.