Current School Board Agenda/Minutes

PIERMONT VILLAGE SCHOOL

SCHOOL BOARD MEETING

June 6, 2022

Attendance: School Board Chair Glen Meder, and School Board Members Vernon Jones, Becky Ackerman; Superintendent Laurie Melanson, Principal Bruce Labs, incoming principal Mary Ruth Hambrick, Business Administrator Kathryn Ducharme, SPED Director Jessica Piccone Robie, Tech Director James Marshall. Members of the public.

1. Meeting called to order at 6:34.

2. Sign Manifest

3. Agenda Review. No need for #13 per Laurie.

4. Approval of Minutes: Motion to approve minutes of May 17, 2022 meeting: Vernon

Second: Becky

All in favor.

5. Invitation to Staff: Mary Ruth – field day today, all had a great time. The school program was wonderful. Said goodbye with the school community during the school music program to music teacher Laurel Dodge. All school hike tomorrow. “Wellness Wednesday” on Wednesday (stations with different health-related activities). Evacuation drill tomorrow with the police chief.

6. Public Input: None.

7. Review High School Tuition Policy: The reason for the agenda item is St Johnsbury Academy's tuition policy has gone up significantly enough to warrant discussion of increasing the district’s tuition cap to continue to allow Piermont kids to continue going to St J in the future. Laurie asked the attorney for an updated legal opinion: opinion has not changed - allowing parents to private pay additional tuition costs above the cap will put the district at risk of having to reimburse families who paid full tuition in the past for schools whose tuition rates were outside the PVS tuition cap policy. Laurie spoke to the director at St J and they cannot give PVS a break on their tuition rate but is hopeful PVS can increase its tuition cap to accommodate their rate. A copy of the letter to be attached to the minutes. Shaw says high school choice is an important reason for moving to Piermont. Parents in attendance with kids already at St J (who would not have to leave if the tuition cap wasn’t increased), voiced that choice is a thing that makes Piermont really special. Glen agrees and says that the cap was put in place 17 years ago to protect choice at some level and prevent all kids from being forced to go to one local school. Glen wonders what the tuition rate is for other schools outside of the ones we are familiar with (Rivendell, Oxbow, Woodsville). Discussion about how to get those numbers – “cost per pupil” is generally available online but is different from the tuition rate. The state may address the voucher question at some point as it is being discussed in many towns. If the risks of using this system were eliminated, the board would consider it.

Lee asks for the board to make a decision/statement right now about the one student going to St Johnsbury. Glen answers that we will be discussing the policy tonight and might make a decision about the policy tonight, but a policy is already in place and we would be talking about changing the policy, not just the individual student.

Question about tuition rates of other local schools – their increase in rates has been very conservative in recent years, only a small (3% or so) percentage. Need to find out what other area high schools are charging and if they may go up. Becky says she needs more information before making a decision she can feel good about. This discussion will continue.

8. Preschool: Bruce reiterated that he believes all-day preschool would be good for the kids, but again states that this is something that the new incoming principal and staff would have to take up. We already have half-day pre-K; would talk about expanding that to a full day.

9. Administrator Updates:

Jessica: Summer program. Nothing to add. Hopeful a new SPED teacher will be here to get up to speed before the start of the school year.

Bert: Bert is not in attendance, but Bruce says he wants to have items damaged in a lightning strike tested. Jessica mentions the ADA-accessible doors because they will be needed… Jessica says that the board should continue to discuss this because they will be needed going forward. The grant is for one door, Jessica suggests it be for the kindergarten door, but will need to be all doors eventually. Mary Ruth and Jessica to discuss which door makes the most sense. A security button is going to be added to the second door.

James: Re paging system… is still working on it, has some bugs and issues. Not hopeful for tomorrow but will keep working. Did a small wifi project with the high school and it worked so well that it was decided to buy new wireless access for all schools. Wifi coverage outside has been expanded significantly, excellent for safety issues since everyone has cell phones, it is also good for first responders.

Laurie: we are experiencing the labor shortage throughout the SAU. No applicants for elementary classroom positions. One serious contender for the third/fourth-grade position and went to another district for a better salary and benefits. Question about how insurance policies compare. Distributed a list of costs to employees for insurance. (Becky has the list.) Laurie had a regular call-in meeting with the state education commissioner, and found out that a local school district can determine with their school board and superintendent if they have a “critical shortage” and make alternative choices to fill vacant, necessary positions.

Kathryn: Not much change from a few weeks ago. Balance fund schedule updated, anything to be done with fund balances? Books need to be closed at the end of the month. There is an 81k fund balance – approximately 8k can be retained. Some can be retained, some can be returned. Glen asks do we need it for the ADA doors? 2500-3k per unit to install. Discussion about which doors to do first, how many can be done with the money available. Question about if interior doors cost the same as exterior doors. Doors need to be compliant first - the interior door in the lobby; the exterior kindergarten door; the far exterior door to the playground which is a double door, the interior door from K room to the gym; the gym door to lobby.

Motion to spend $12,000 to install the ADA doors discussed: Glen

Second: Becky

All in favor.

Bruce: Wish list: scrubber replacement for floors – priced out, cost went up. It’s just old, doesn’t cut it anymore. Work on stage – Brill can do, don’t need a contractor. Will have a lift to get on the stage rather than a ramp for accessibility. Permanent fencing on the outside of the Gould building next door to protect kids from the asbestos on the outside of the building. Vernon asks how kids are getting access to a dusty inhalant. Bruce answers that the building is on the property line at the edge of the playground the issue was brought by a concerned parent, and safety being of utmost importance, decided to keep kids away from it. The carpeting in two rooms. Two windows in the math room need repair.

Motion to do everything on Bruce’s list: Glen

Second: Vernon.

All in favor.

Kathryn asks what do you want to do with the remaining? Brief discussion. Everything is well funded. Vernon asks if we need to use that money to offer to get another teacher in here… What other teachers/staffing needs do we have and do we need to use those funds to be competitive and get teachers in here… is this the way we need to operate (off payment schedule) in order to get them in?

The remaining funds will be returned to voters.

Bruce: hoped to have some results from the recent academic testing. Will be presented to teachers next week, and have done pre-test and post-test studies to see how the kids are doing. The kids who previously were not reading are now; most if not all are at grade level. Everyone got involved with direct instruction, not just the SPED teachers. Bruce notes it is long held that when reading scores go up, math scores follow. Bruce is happy with the progress that has been made in spite of the pandemic.

10. Food Service Budget: Kathryn passed out history, the current rate for lunches is 2.10, no longer to be free lunches for all. Abby Group is asking for an increase of 15 cents. Applied for a grant SAU wide for delivery of certain foods because of supply chain issues. $19,000 was received, to be split between SAU schools based on enrollment. Piermont will get approximately $1,700 for specific, not processed, local foods.

11. Meal Prices:

Motion to increase lunch costs to $2.25: Vernon

Second: Glen

All in favor.

12. Sign the FY2023 Grant General Assurances.

13. Approval to Apply for Federal Grants: Approval was given to Laurie to apply for grants.

14. Nominations/Resignations: Bruce nominates Nick Argy for SPED. He just completed his master's degree and is a local.

Motion to offer Nicholas Argy: Glen

Second: Becky

All in favor.

15. Permission to Hire Over the Summer: Permission granted to Laurie by the school board to hire a third/fourth teacher and at least one IA position, possibly another two.

16. Other Business: Laurie says that one policy didn’t make the packet last month… Laurie brought for a first reading and will reappear at the August meeting.

Motion to approve first reading: Vernon

Second: Glen

All in favor.

Glen thanks Bruce for helping us out during these last difficult years and wishes him well. Bruce says it’s been a pleasure. He adds that 5-8 grades did the service-learning center with Hulbert Center and they raised $387 for David’s House.

17. Public Input

18. Next meeting date: Tuesday, August 16, 6:30.

19. Non-public - not needed.

20. Adjournment.

Becky moves to adjourn.

Glen seconds. All in favor.

Meeting adjourned 8:19 pm

Respectfully submitted,

Alison Gould Rose


PIERMONT VILLAGE SCHOOL

SCHOOL BOARD MEETING

May 17, 2022

Attendance: School Board Chair Glen Meder, and School Board Members Vernon Jones, Becky Ackerman; Superintendent Laurie Melanson, Principal Bruce Labs, and Business Administrator Kathryn Ducharme. Members of the public.

The meeting was called to order at 6:31 by Glen Meder.

Agenda Review.

Approval of Minutes: Motion to approve minutes of April 12, 2022 meeting: Glen

Seconded: Vernon

All in favor.

Invitation to Staff: Copies of the report on file with the Board. 8th grade working on graduation. NH SAS testing coming up in the next week. Student field trip today to Hulbert outdoor center. Field day and step up day coming up. Council will be repainting the panther paw and Chief Alling came to talk to students about bike safety.

Public Input: Bobby Shaw, moved to Piermont September 2021, director of Grafton Co. Association of Parents: would like to discourage voting against tuition for St J. Glen asks that this discussion be held until that item is on the agenda.

Lee Robie found another online “evaluation technique” called “School Digger” which ranked all the schools in all states and had a cost of education for PVS. School Digger rates proficiency of PVS in the middle of scores in math, science, and literature, and is “trending up.”

Tuition: Brief history of HS tuition/choice given. (Minutes to be updated later with history for reference).

Bobby asks why not employ a voucher system? The board answers there is the potential for being liable for unfairness to certain kids for lack of funds to cover additional costs. This issue has been reviewed multiple times over the years by various attorneys for the district. They all advise the district that a voucher system puts Piermont at risk. Bobby says he has spoken to other parents in town who are extremely disappointed that St Johnsbury Academy may no longer be on the list of possible schools for Piermont kids. Laurie asked if it would be a good time for an updated legal opinion for the next meeting? The board agrees. Laurie will also call St J to see if they might give Piermont a discount. Always possible that other local schools will increase their tuition in the next year. St J hasn’t had a big increase in a long time. Piermont might be forced to increase its tuition cap or eliminate choice if that’s the case. The Board of Education has not said in writing that it's ok to set a cap and allow parents to pay the additional, so to avoid the potential risk of loss PVS follows the current NH RSA which doesn’t allow it. Bobby says nationwide it’s a movement to allow school choice. Glen says from the SB side he sees how this movement hurts the local public schools.

Lee asks if a high school is priced outside of Piermont's tuition cap, then does the family have to pay the full tuition? The answer is yes.

Tuition will again be on the agenda at the next meeting.

Preschool: Bruce asks what about all-day pre-K. PVS colleagues don’t all agree. Wouldn’t add more to the cost. Stamina with younger kids isn’t as much of an issue as it may seem, and it makes a difference in learning readiness having the extra year. Bruce would like to see them go full time, but is not pushing the issue because others in the school going forward don’t seem to agree on this. But it seems like the logical next step in educating the younger kids. Glen has concerns about offering this and then potentially having to take it away. Will discuss this again in June.

Administrator Updates: Copies of administrator reports are on file with the board and district clerk.

Bert: A lightning strike yesterday blew out the new fire alarm system. The school has been on generator power since last night. A new motherboard has been installed, but the display isn’t yet working to see the settings on. Temporary protection is in place until DS Security comes to work out the glitches tomorrow morning. A question is asked about lightning protection for the school – don’t we have it? Bruce says no, Vernon and Glen are surprised … Bruce will ask Will Priestly for an estimate.

Laurie: Questions whether having the last half-day of school on a Monday is a good idea.

Motion for last day of school to be a half-day on Friday the 10th: Vernon

Seconded: Becky

All in favor.

The math committee has selected a new math curriculum for the SAU.

Kathryn: Accounting books will be closed in June. Suggests the board think about what can be done with it. Up to 5% of net assessment can be retained, but if all of 5% is retained it would leave very little leftover.

Bruce: Testing for literacy happening, will see how they’ve grown after the results are back. Will have the numbers for the next meeting. Will figure out groupings for next year’s reading groups.

Trip to Hulbert: did some engineering with an egg drop; took out giant canoe (14 kids per canoe) Some kids had never been out in a boat or paddled at all. Lots of fun. Saw turtles. Some kids that don’t normally participate joined in, and had a great time. Some kids said the best day ever.

Priced out of some classroom items that were on the list of things to purchase for the next school year: rugs for the classroom, fence for outside. Estimates are given to the board earlier but costs have gone up so significantly that they now have to reprioritize. Will have a fund balance discussion next month and maybe some of these things can be discussed.

More covid cases recently, but now all but one staff member is back. Bruce reports the teachers and staff really cover for each other well, it is a smooth working group, subbing for each other and getting the work done as a team since subs are in short supply these days.

Tuition agreement with Haverhill: $16,832 with discounts and etc per usual. That agreement was signed during the meeting.

The tuition rate for PVS is currently $16,720.

Motion to maintain current PVS tuition rate: Vernon

Second: Becky.

All in favor.

Review of Policies: 12 school policies are reviewed in the meeting. (policies under review available by contacting board or clerk).

Motion to accept all as the first reading: Becky

Second: Vernon

All in favor.

Nominations/Resignations:

Laurel Dodge is leaving to go to Rumney/Wentworth. Nicki Marcroft is leaving. Sarah Jones is transferring to prek/K. Need 3/4 teacher, special ed, music, guidance counselor, and at least 1 IA. Jed is staying.

Other Business:

Vernon moves to adjourn.

Becky seconds. All in favor.

Next meeting date: June 6, 6:30.

Respectfully submitted,

Alison Gould Rose


PIERMONT VILLAGE SCHOOL

SCHOOL BOARD MEETING

April 12, 2022

Attendance: School Board Chair Glenn Meder, and School Board Members Vernon Jones, Becky Ackerman; Superintendent Laurie Melanson, Principal Bruce Labs, Business Administrator Kathryn Ducharme. Members of the public.

Meeting was called to order at 6:30.

Nominations for board chair: Motion to nominate Glenn: Becky

Seconded: Vernon

All in favor.

Nominations for vice-chair: Motion to nominate Vernon: Becky

Seconded: Glenn

All in favor.

Nominations for secretary: Motion to nominate Becky: Glenn

Seconded: Vernon

All in favor.

Agenda Review.

Approval of Minutes: Motion to approve minutes of March 15, 2022 meeting: Vernon

Seconded: Becky

All in favor.

Invitation to Staff: Copies of the report on file with the Board. International fair next week. Several subjects come together in students’ individual international fair projects, reading, writing, tech skills, coding, science, and geography. All kids were excited.

Public Input:

Administrator Updates: Copies of administrator reports are on file with the board and district clerk. Jessica Piccone-Robie: Summer school planning is in the works. ADA doors at PVS need to be addressed. Jessica feels most doors within the school will need to be replaced. Bert is asked to research – Bert says approx. $1500/door, interior, and exterior. Jessica offered to look into grants to offset costs.

Bert says the exterior stairs from the attic over the kindergarten room have been taken care of. Security folks ran wiring for updated security, but Jim will still need to program the system. Should only take a few minutes.

Laurie brought copies of tuition policies, and Kathryn added some notes. St J tuition has increased. Laurie suggests considering how to address St J being priced out of Piermont's choice per current tuition cap policy, since it has for years been an option for Piermonters. Glenn feels discussion along these lines needs to be warned for a separate meeting.

The public asks if partial payments are allowed. The board answers that they are not, and explains that it is considered unfair to any families who cannot make the additional payments. This could put the district in a position of having to refund tuition payments to a number of families who have opted to pay tuition elsewhere. The current policy is that the average of Rivendell, Woodsville, and Oxbow PLUS 18% is what the district will pay for tuition to any school. Students currently enrolled in St J (or any other school) would not have to transfer, but new PVS graduates would not be able to attend.

The question of partial payments by the district is not allowed by state statute but has not yet tested in court, though some districts within the state are doing it. K-12 education must be free and equitable – partial payments to schools with families making up the difference are not considered equitable for all. School district attorneys have advised against trying this.

Kathryn included a summary, of the 91k fund balance after funding the trust fund.

Bruce: Regarding the fence behind the school – the entire fence around the soccer field should be replaced. Money was in the budget for that, but Bruce asked if the 80 feet behind the neighboring asbestos garage could also be fenced off.

Bruce mentioned that the PVS/Montshire science partnership provides an impressive addition to the science curriculum and thinks it will be good for PVS going forward with science instruction. He hopes it can continue. The Hulbert program is also a very useful addition.

Importantly, right before the meeting, a candidate was just interviewed for the 3 /4 teaching position, and Bruce would like to make an offer ASAP, asks for nonpublic at this meeting if necessary. Laurie, board ok with taking care of it, accepting nomination now. The resume is distributed for the board to look at. Laurie knows her personally, Mary Ruth knows her, she may be moving to town in the next year. Bruce will make the offer right away.

Teachers are happy with the draft calendar for 2022-2023. Vernon asks how its going with the occasional early release days. Bruce responds he has heard no complaints, although sometimes parents forget once in a while and don’t come to pick up their kids.

Motion made to approve calendar: Becky

Seconded: Vernon

All in favor.

Nominations/Resignations: Laurie distributed a list of nominees for professional staff – an ad has been placed for a PE teacher. The current PE teacher is willing to travel two days a week to continue. Will continue to explore that – perhaps someone will show interest who doesn’t want full time.

Motion to accept nominations: Glenn

Seconded: Becky

All in favor.

Support staff list nominees distributed.

Motion to accept nominees: Vernon

Seconded: Becky

All in favor.

Nomination of Williams for 3/4 nomination has been made – the proposal has not yet been made to Williams but will do so right away.

Motion to approve nomination: Glenn

Seconded: Vernon

All in favor.

Next meeting date: May 17, 2022, at 6:30 pm. Glenn and Becky give a heads-up – they both will be gone the 3rd and 4th week in June. The board will decide in May if they want to do a meeting early in June or later in the summer – Kathryn says this will be ok with deadlines, etc.

Nonpublic.

Respectfully submitted,

Alison Gould Rose


PIERMONT SCHOOL BOARD MEETING

PIERMONT VILLAGE SCHOOL

TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 2022 @ 6:30 PM



AGENDA


  1. Call Meeting to Order

  2. Reorganization of the Board

  3. Sign Manifest

  4. Agenda Review/Adjustments

  5. Approval of Minutes of March 15, 2022

  6. Invitation to Staff

  7. Public Input

  8. Administrator Updates:


Jessica Piccone-Robie, SPED Director

Bert Vines, Facilities Maintenance Mgr.

James Marshall, Technology Director

Laurie Melanson, Superintendent

Kathryn Ducharme, Business Administrator

Bruce Labs, Principal


  1. 2022-2023 School Calendar

  2. Nominations/Resignations

  3. Other Business

  4. Public Input

  5. Next Meeting Date: MAY 17, 2022, @ 6:30 pm

  6. Non-Public Session - Per RSA 91.A:3 (If needed)

  7. Adjournment



The meeting will be open to the public to attend.



PIERMONT VILLAGE SCHOOL

SCHOOL BOARD MEETING

MARCH 15, 2022


Attendance: School Board Chair Glenn Meder, and School Board Members Vernon Jones, Becky Ackerman; Superintendent Laurie Melanson, Principal Bruce Labs, Business Administrator Kathryn Ducharme. Members of the public.

The meeting was called to order at 6:31.

Agenda Review

Approval of Minutes: Motion to approve minutes: Vernon

Seconded: Becky

All in favor.

Invitation to Staff: Nurse Laurie Flynn: Most teachers working on preparing topics for the international fair in April. First graders finished vol 1 math books and all kids scored at or above benchmarks. Ms. Hambrick’s and Ms. Champagne’s classes are pairing up for a unit on electricity.

Kathy put a budget summary in front of the board, and also budget hearing notes for help.

Bruce reminds everyone that there are parent conferences on the 23rd and the teachers are anxious to talk about test scores on Star tests. So far results are very good.

Teacher Mary Ruth Hambrick notes that the town voted in favor of reallocating funds from the recreation trust fund for the community playground project. Will possibly be looking for a really good surveyor that might be willing to work on this project for pro bono. A determination on the grant request should be received by mid-October.

No nominations or resignations.

Public Input: Rob Elder asked: date for the international fair? Thursday 4/21. Visiting schedule for high schools for 8th graders? Oxbow is already done, Woodsville and Rivendell being scheduled. St J not doing school visits right now, but students can visit individually. The last meeting discussed eval by RE people? Not yet. Might be a matter of just having people go online and put in favorable reviews.

Nonpublic.

Motion to adjourn meeting made by Glenn; seconded by Vernon. All in favor.

Meeting adjourned at 6:59 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Alison Gould Rose



MINUTES OF THE PIERMONT SCHOOL DISTRICT

2022 ANNUAL DISTRICT MEETING

MARCH 15, 2021


Meeting called to order by moderator Joyce Tompkins at 7:00. Pledge was recited, order of meeting, introductions made - Laurie Melanson, superintendent; Vernon Jones, Becky Ackerman, and Glenn Meder, School Board members; Kathy Ducharme, business manager; Bruce Labs, principal; Alison Rose, clerk.

ARTICLE 1: To hear reports of Agents, Auditors, Committees, or Officers chosen and pass any vote relating thereto.

Motion to pass over made by Gary Danielson. Seconded by Rob Elder. All in favor.

ARTICLE 2: To see if the district will vote to raise and appropriate two million, three hundred thousand, seven hundred seventy-nine dollars ($2,300,779.00) for the support of the schools, for the payment of salaries of school district officials and agents, and for the payment of statutory obligations of the district. This article is exclusive of any other article on this warrant. (The school board recommends this article).

Motion made by Rob Elder. Seconded by Gary Danielson.

Motion is passed on voice vote.

ARTICLE 3: To see if the district will raise and appropriate up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000) to be added to the previously established Building Repairs Expendable Trust Fund, such amount to be funded from the year-end unassigned fund balance available on June 30, 2022. (The school board recommends this article).

Motion is made by Ernie Hartley, seconded by Gary Danielson.

Discussion: Rob Elder asked if the money will be used for anything in particular? Glenn answered that the board had discussed using it for the stage, but in the end it seemed, with building costs so high right now, like a good idea to keep this trust fund well funded right now.

Motion is passed by voice vote.

ARTICLE 4: To transact any other business that may legally come before said meeting.

Abby Metcalf thinks that a few fundraisers to go toward using less of the rec department money would create a lot of good will. Billie French agrees, offers to help. Glenn responded that there will undoubtedly be fundraisers anyway to get the required funds for the playground because of the cost of it, in spite of the amount from the rec department and the matching grant funds.

Rob Elder asked if the playground could be considered a “special purpose” as noted on page 110. Glenn answers that the funds referred to means existing trust funds.

Gina Giudici asked if any money would be set aside for the playground? Glenn answered that there is not an established fund for something like this. Again, thinking that some school money put toward this effort would be a gesture of good will toward the town. Mary Ruth explains that funds will ultimately have to come from a number of areas, the 20k from the town, the Federal grant money, fundraising, and some from the school funds.

Motion to adjourn meeting at approximately 7:35 made by Gary Danielson, seconded by Lydia Hill. Motion passed by voice vote.

Respectfully submitted,


Alison Gould Rose