BOE Meeting – Jan 18, 2022

SSCSD Board of Education Meeting Notes (SEEN)
Jan 18, 2022
Notes by Rebecca Lynch
View the meeting. Read the Meeting Agenda.

7:04 Roll Call 

  • Present: John Brueggeman (JB), John Ellis (JE), Natalya Lahktakia (NL), Amanda Ellitorpe (AE), Erika Borman (EB), Tony Krackeler (TK), Dean Kolligian (DK), Connie Woytowich (CW)
  • Absent: Anjie Emeka

Thank you to the HS Fiddle Club who was playing in the lobby as board members came in tonight.

Thank you to the Jazz Band for being here. The Jazz Band plays two songs.

Awards presented to the Girls Cross-Country team as they are recognized for their achievements. 

7:25 Motion to approve minutes from previous meetings – passes unanimously

7:25 Motion to accept agenda – passes unanimously

7:26 Public Comment #1

  • Carmela Frias: shares her opinion that lockdowns, masks, and vaccinations do not provide protection against Covid and thinks that the harms outweigh the benefits. She also believes that the test-to-stay program is another way of segregating the unvaccinated students and that it further causes division. She thinks that we should not be calling our public schools “public”, because they are run by the government and not by the public. 
  • Michelle King: agrees with the previous speaker and states that we need to save our children by taking off masks. She is also concerned because she doesn’t think there are any parents on the curriculum committee and that parents need to be part of the planning process. She thinks it is disgraceful that parents aren’t allowed to be involved. (notetaker’s comment: I am unsure as to the committee she is referring to and the veracity of her claim). 

7:31 Board Committee Reports 

  • committees did not meet since the last meeting and there is nothing to report.

7:32 Student Representative Reports 

  • the students reps, Abigail and Lucas, provided updates for each building

7:34 Superintendent’s Comments

  • Superintendent Patton (MP) provides updates on health and safety. The district has on-going conversations with local medical experts and the county public health department. The hope is that we are reaching the peak and cases will begin to come down. The district is working closely with the county public health department and is happy that test kits have been made available for families and staff. KN95s have also been acquired and distributed to all staff. The test-to-stay program was approved and has been implemented in all district schools. 
  • The county has stopped contact tracing. The schools will still be doing some contact tracing but not sending the information on to the county. They are prioritizing contact tracing for high-risk students and high-risk situations (i.e. the cafeteria). The information on the district site is regularly updated. The district is continuing to offer vaccination clinics for students. 
    • Question from AE: Is there something in place for kids who are in shared custody situations? Is there a check to make sure that both parents have signed off and consented? MP: If a parent has concerns about that, they should reach out to their school nurse. AE: But the school doesn’t know who is in shared custody. MP: Reiterates that if a parent is concerned, they should communicate that to their school. AE: The district should be ensuring that nurses have that information (notetaker’s comment – the schools all have access to that information and are aware of it). MP: Again reiterates that parents should raise that issue with their schools. AE: States that she is raising it here and now. MP: He will follow up with the school nurses. 
    • Question from EB: How is the district determining when quarantines and/or testing is necessary? MP: The district is still doing what it always has done, but now focusing on the high-risk factors.
  • The district will be holding a virtual event for local realtors on Thursday morning. 

7:45 Annual Staffing and Pre-Budget Forecast: Presentation

  • Hillary Brewer: provides an update on staffing numbers and distribution. Discusses the impact of Covid on staffing – it has had a huge impact and they are struggling with staff shortages and coverages. The sub shortage has been increasing (the fill rate was 98% in Sept 2019, 90% in Sept 2020, and was now 64% in Dec 2021). It is all hands on deck and administrators have all been covering classes as well. There are continued challenges with staffing – enrollment in teacher prep programs is decreasing, a third of teachers could retire in the next 5 years, and the “great resignation” and worldwide staffing shortages have impacted us as well. Goals: offering training for interview committee members (implicit/explicit bias, confidentiality, interview/hiring best practices), working on recruitment plans and DEI efforts, efficiencies through SchoolFront, continuing to advocate with the legislature as well.
  • Joe Greco: provides highlights from the State of the State address and gives an overview of the budget development process and how the budget is constructed (roll-over budget + new program requests +/- additional new revenues +/- budget revisions +/- use of fund balance & reserves = proposed budget). Goals for budget: Modern Learning & Teaching, Student Support Services, and Infrastructure Planning & Operations. 
  • Tim Hilker: discusses restricted reserves, tax levy limit calculations, potential budget drivers, and other aspects of the budget process (notetaker’s comment: it was a lot of numbers). 
  • Questions from Trustees?
    • EB: Is curious what updating the HVAC will fall under. TH: Will depend on various factors.
    • JB: Thank you to everyone for working so hard. He is curious if Hillary is taking a strategic approach to dealing with the teacher shortage. HB: Yes, and they are continuously trying new approaches to see what works best. 
    • EB: She heard in the State of the State that we could have people in the classroom who aren’t certified teachers. What does that mean? HB: We will need to wait and see what it means when more details are provided, but she thinks it would just allow people to teach while they are waiting for their licenses to come through and be finalized. 

8:48 Old Business – none

Modifications to the Consent Agenda – none

Motion to approve consent agenda – passes unanimously

8:49 Patton recognizes a tenure appointment and retirement, and acknowledges donations 

(listed in consent agenda)

8:51 Public Comment #2

  • Lisa Adams: She is curious about the agenda attachments and wants to know why the public can’t see them. She also wants to know why the public can’t see presentations that were given at previous board meetings (notetaker’s comment: they are posted under each meeting on the district site). She thinks everyone should be able to see the presentations (notetaker’s comment: they can). She wants to know why there were no Board Committee reports tonight, since that was on the agenda. JB: There were no reports because the committees did not meet since the last meeting. 
  • Michelle King: It has now come to her attention that it is not just the curriculum committee that doesn’t have parents on it, but most of the committees have no parents on them. She doesn’t remember receiving anything or being asked to volunteer for any committees, and doesn’t think anyone was provided with information about how to volunteer. She thinks there has to be some compromise so we can get parents on these committees (notetaker’s comment: I am still not sure which committees she is referring to, as the majority of district committees do indeed have parents on them. This notetaker serves on a district committee and the school Building Leadership Team as a parent volunteer). 

8:55 Agenda Planning

  • AE: Would like to add a public discussion of the board’s role on curriculum to the next meeting. JB: We had that discussion at the last meeting. AE: She doesn’t consider that to be a discussion. She makes a motion to put it on the next agenda. EB: Seconds the motion. 
  • CW: Asks what additional information they are looking for clarification regarding, because she thought it was clear after the last meeting. AE: She says they talked about the legal aspect of what their role could be, and what other districts’ roles are, but wants to discuss what their role *will* be. JB: He thought that happened at the board retreat where this topic was discussed, and with the report Anjie Emeka provided at the last meeting. There were opportunities to ask questions in both places, but none were asked. Why are there additional questions now, after it was already settled? AE: continues to argue with JB. 
  • EB: Wants to continue the conversation, because she still hears confusion about the board’s role. She wants everyone to understand how the board is and isn’t involved in curriculum oversight. 
  • JE: He asks Amanda for specifics about what she is hoping to have clarified. AE: She can’t answer that now, because it is 9pm and her mind is mush. 
  • DK: Suggests Amanda send an email to the board with specific topics that she wants to be addressed, and then we can go from there. JB: Respectfully disagrees, as the lawyer had told them that substantive board business should not be done over email.   
  • JB: The decision that was made at the retreat was that the board should remain at a 30,000 foot level with regards to curriculum. AE: She doesn’t understand what that means, and states that she had to hop off the retreat after 90 minutes. She doesn’t recall the discussion and therefore wants further discussion. JB: The two and a half hour discussion they had at the retreat should have been sufficient. AE: The public is also confused, as evidenced by the public comments. She doesn’t agree with Anjie’s report-out, stating that it was Anjie’s point of view, not her own point of view. JB: Anjie’s report was agreed upon at the conclusion of the two and a half hour retreat. 
  • Vote on motion: 4 vote for the motion (AE, EB, CW, DK), 4 vote against the motion (JB, JE, NL, TK). JB: The motion does not pass, because it needs 5 votes to pass and there are not 5 votes in favor of it. 

9:10 Motion to adjourn to executive session

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