Well the Region One Board Of Education met tonight at H.V.R.H.S in the library. The full video will be posted on the CATV 6 YouTube
http://www.youtube.com/user/MMilesWHDD page by tomorrow morning, and on air on CATV 6 by tomorrow evening. We will post a link here on http://regiononereport.wordpress.com by tomorrow as well. Some highlights of the meeting n a nutshell:
1) The bids for the heating work on the renovation project came in, only ONE bid! And, it’s about $20,000.00 over
2) There appears to be a SURPLUS in the Region One Budget this year (right now it’s estimated at around $230,000.00) but they are awaiting a final figure by the end of June
3) The cafeteria budget is about $15,000.00 short for the year, money is needed for the science/Tech building for furniture, etc, as Scooter Tedder said at his first meeting many months ago, the microscopes at Housatonic need to be replaced, some were in use when Scooter and I went to Housatonic in 1971!
4) The region is still waiting to see the bids for the “roof” project
5) A redacted Aereon Watson (Scott Fellows) letter from the board attorney to the board was released to the board and public
6) Various other items on the agenda. It was great to see so many people there, and lots of folks from Cornwall showed up! And there were many statements and questions from the public to the board!
7) Gale Toensing put forward many motions, I think three were actually accepted by the board, and some existing policy motions were defeated!?
At the conclusion of the meeting, I suggested (and asked Sam Herrick if it was legal, he said it was) to take the surplus money (whatever amount) and put it towards the overrun for the heating system, to put it towards furniture and supplies for the science center, to purchase NEW microscopes as was a suggestion from Scooter Tedder many months ago. If any is left over, add it to the contingency fund for the roofing project, or purchase more iPads for the high school.
I wanted to suggest that Scott Fellows (Aeron Watson) be brought before the board in executive session for questions on his possible violation of school rules regarding internet usage, but never got a chance to put it before the board…oh well, there is always next meeting!
If the superintendant is responsible for the teacher, and she won’t act, why not go after her for her failure to act appropriately? Isn’t it illegal to be aware of a crime committed by a subordinate and not take action?
Greetings! I’d like to clarify for Marshall and especially for the taxpayers of Region exactly what I proposed that the board should do and what the representatives of Cornwall, Kent, North Canaan and Salisbury actually refused to do — which is basically to abide by state mandates and our own board policies (the representative from Sharon was absent). I proposed the following resolution for the board to approval expenditures for consulting the attorney:
Statement on Resolution regarding access to board attorney
With the need to take the budget to voters for a second vote, I’m focusing on the voter’s direction that we spend their tax dollars wisely in pursuit of education of our students. As a board we need to monitor all expenditures closely – which is the reason for my other initiatives on transfers, disbursements, and the over expenditure of budget lines, but this resolution focuses on one line item that needs our attention and that is legal expenses in the RSSC budget. Last year that line item was overspent by about 200 percent. We almost doubled the line item in this year’s budget and through March it was overspent by about 60 percent. We need to conform to state statutes and board policies and this resolution does that. The Board voted to make the chairman the contact person for communications with the board attorney but we as board members are derelict in our duties if we allow the chairman to purchase legal advice without conforming to the statutory and board policy requirements for purchases. Consideration and passage of my motion will allow us to discharge our required duties in relation to purchases and will send a message to the voters that we take their concerns seriously. Here is the resolution:
Resolution regarding access to board attorney
June 4, 2012
Whereas the Connecticut General Statutes and the Region 1 Board of Education policies and bylaws provide that the proper functioning and governance of the Region 1 Board of Education, including expenditures of public taxpayer funds, can occur only through the action of the board via a majority vote, and
Whereas the Region 1 Board of Education voted in 2011 that only the board chairman can contact a board attorney regarding board matters,
Be it resolved that any member may ask the chairman to make a request to a board attorney for advice, opinions, or information, and
Be it further resolved that such request will be done by the proper functioning of the board, that is, following a properly warned item on a meeting agenda, a motion, a second, a discussion and a majority vote, and
Be it finally resolved that both the requests for such advice, opinions, or information and the
responses to such requests will be done in writing and will be provided equally to all members of the board.
The chairman signaled his disapproval of this resolution and so there was no second to the resolution and it died an unnatural death — unnatural because it’s unnatural for elected officials to so blatantly refuse to abide by statutes and policies.
More to follow. . .
~~ Gale Courey Toensing
I introduced these initiatives in March, but Chairman Phil Hart directly told his cronies on the board to vote against them. He was soundly criticized by several people for doing that so now instead of telling them directly not to vote for the initiatives I suggest, he signals to them not to vote by the questions he asks me and by his tone – please watch the video of this part of the meeting and see for yourself. As you can see, the three bulleted items in 1) are board policies and may in fact be statutory requirements since the Region 1 Board of Education is also its own board of finance and therefore may come under the statutory scheme for finance boards. But because of Phil’s tone and questions there was no second to the first two bulleted items. That means that “central office” can continue to transfer funds from line item to line item and over expend categories without board review and approval. Even though the board had these initiatives to review since March, the chairman decided we need to “study” the policies further. — a classic tactic to delay taking action and doing the right thing. The third initiative was seconded by the Salisbury representative and passed unanimously
1) Series 3000/Business
• 3160 Transfer of Funds between Categories:
“Transfer of funds to a new item or new position will be done only after full Board consideration and discussion.” Action: Motion that the board is to review and approve transfer of funds before they are transferred. NO SECOND, MOTION DIES.
• 3170 Budget Administration:
“Over-expenditure of a budget category as these categories appeals on the one-page budget summary (see 3120), except as provided in 3171, will not be permitted except by formal action of the Board.” Action: Motion that the board is to review and approve over-expenditure of a budget category before the category is over-expended. NO SECOND, MOTION DIES.
• 3326 Paying for Goods and Services and 3432 Budget & Expense Report/Annual financial Statement
The1990 version of policy 3326 says “payment of properly approved invoices will be made once a month, following approval by the Regional School Board at its regular meeting and upon recommendation of its designated officers or agents.” That policy was revised in 1993 and does not include that sentence. However, policy 3423 requires that the board reviews bills each month. It says, “A monthly report of disbursements and budget balances will be submitted each month at the board of education meeting.” We are receiving budget balances, but not disbursements.
Action: Motion that the board receives a monthly report of disbursements to includethe names of payees and amounts. SECONDED BY SALISBURY REP, PASSED UNANIMOUSLY
~~ Gale Courey Toensing