Somers Public Schools
January 25, 2021 7:00 PM
Board of Education Meeting
1. CALL TO ORDER
Discussion

The regular Board of Education meeting was called to order by Chairman Devlin at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom.

2. APPROVAL OF MINUTES
2.1. Draft of Board Minutes of January 11, 2021
Rationale

The Board will review and approve (or change) the Board Minutes of January 11, 2021.

Attachments
3. AUDIENCE TO CITIZENS/STAFF/STUDENTS
Discussion

Chairman Devlin introduced Bob Chester, Jim Formica, and Liz Guerin to the BOE.  Mr. Chester is a Somers resident.  He acknowledged the new state-of-the-art sports facility, the tremendous improvement in communication from the superintendent, and excellent student support services.  He relayed areas of concern involving curriculum and the increase in PPE in relation to test scores.  He submitted suggestions to the BOE.  Mr. Formica of 48 Franklin Woods Drive voiced his concern of the proposed school budget and performance evaluations.  Ms. Guerin of 19 High Meadows Crossing outlined her questions regarding Covid to the BOE and was concerned about the pink signs on educators' cars.  She stated that in-person services and learning are a priority and that the district has done a great job with the precautions that are in place.    


4. OPPORTUNITY TO ADD/DELETE AGENDA ITEMS
5. CONSENT AGENDA
5.1. Warrant of January 25, 2021
Rationale

The Board will review and consent to the warrant of January 25, 2021 in the amount of $179,275.95.

Attachments
5.2. 2nd Warning of New Policy DBS Code 4000.1 - 5145.44 Personnel - Student Title IX
Rationale

The Board will vote to consent to the 2nd Warning of New Policy DBS Code 4000.1 - 5145.44 Personnel - Student Title IX

Attachments
5.3. 2nd Warning of New Policy DBS 4118.112/4218.1112 Personnel-Sexual Harassment
Rationale

The Board will vote to consent to the 2nd Warning of New Policy DBS 4118.112/4218.1112 Personnel-Sexual Harassment.

Attachments
5.4. Retirement of Somers High School Special Education Teacher
Rationale

Mrs. Donna Delany, a Special Education Teacher of 22 years at Somers High School, will be retiring on February 1, 2021.

6. NEW BUSINESS
6.1. 1st Warning on Somers Public School 2021-2022 Calendar
Rationale

1st Warning on Somers Public School 2021-2022 Calendar for the Board to review.

Attachments
Discussion

Superintendent Czapla presented the 2021-2022 school calendar to the BOE.  He stated that it mirrors last year's calendar with front-loading five Professional Development days at the beginning of the school year.  There will be more half days on Wednesdays for Professional Development which is in alignment with the Strategic Plan.  Next year, staff will work together in recovery mode and analyze how SPS did this year and determine how SPS makes up for lost skills as a result of this year's hybrid and remote learning models.  April vacation is in coordination with surrounding school districts.  Discussion ensued among BOE members.   

7. OLD BUSINESS
7.1. Ongoing Discussion on Superintendent's Proposed Budget
Rationale

The Board will continue the discussion on the Superintendent's proposed budget.

Attachments
Discussion

Superintendent Czapla and Bill Boutwell, Director of Business Services, responded to questions from Anne Kirkpatrick and Krista Cherry regarding transportation and fuel costs, secretary and paraeducator line items, and instructional line items.  Superintendent Czapla stated that SPS is in final negotiations regarding the healthcare line item.  He anticipates a significantly reduced premium.  Negotiations may be finalized by the end of this week.  Jeremy Anderson noted that Somers' Per Pupil Expenditure (PPE) has consistently moved from the lower quartile to the median with the current proposed budget.  He recommended that potential future positions be made more transparent in regards to the budget.  Superintendent Czapla stated that most of the new positions have been focused on mental health and that SPS is at a very good point with sufficient Pupil Services positions in place.  He will discuss this recommendation with the leadership team. 

8. ADMINISTRATIVE REPORTS
8.1. Superintendent Update
Rationale

The Superintendent will give the Board an update on current events at Somers Public Schools.

Discussion

Superintendent Czapla updated the BOE on recent events.  Although Covid numbers in the community are high, positive Covid cases in the schools remain low.  All positive cases since December 25, 2020 have been associated with an outside event.  There has been no transmission in schools.  Mitigation strategies, sanitizing schools, use of hand sanitizer, masking, and awareness are paying off.  Superintendent Czapla makes decisions based upon data and consultation.  


Sports started last week.  The CIAC recommended that no spectators are allowed into sporting events.  SPS will follow that recommendation.  Currently, livestreaming accounts are being set up in order to watch games virtually.  


Superintendent Czapla acknowledged Anne Kirkpatrick, Jan Martin, and the Somers Congregational Church.  School desks have been created for students in need of space to work from home.  Melissa Mucci, SES Principal, is working on setting up a distribution plan.  Kittredge Equipment in Agawam donated a case of desk pad calendars for each desk.  Also, each desk will be delivered with a handwritten note from church members.



9. COMMITTEE REPORTS
9.1. CURRICULUM
Discussion

No report.

9.2. POLICY
Discussion

Anne Kirkpatrick stated that the committee is on hold.  The committee received the last CABE packet, but no meeting is needed at this time according to Superintendent Czapla.  

9.3. SALARY & NEGOTIATION
Discussion

David Palmer stated that there is no requirement for BOE interaction at this time.

9.4. PLANNING
Discussion

David Palmer stated that there is no requirement for BOE interaction at this time.

10. CREC UPDATE
Discussion

Krista Cherry stated that the CREC Legislative Breakfast will be held on 2/11/21 virtually.  Jan Martin stated that she registered on cabe.org for the CABE Area 3 Virtual Legislative Breakfast for Thursday, 2/4/21, from 8 am-9 am.  Anne Kirkpatrick stated that she has signed up as well.    


11. EXECUTIVE SESSION
Discussion


11.1. Board to vote to go into Executive Session for Superintendent's Mid-Year Evaluation
Rationale

Board to vote to go into Executive Session for Superintendent's Mid-Year Evaluation.

Discussion

The BOE came out of Executive Session at 8:01 p.m.

12. ADJOURNMENT