September 26, 2011 Joint Board Meeting
Selectmen Present: Jim O’Brien, George Langwasser, Bryan Pellerin, Denis Goddard
Town Administrator: Neal Cass, Administrative Assessing Assistant: Robin Buchanan
Hopkinton School Board Present: Chairman: David Luneau, Vice Chairman: Elizabeth Durant, School Board Members: William Jones, Louis Josephson
Superintendent of Schools: Steven Chamberlin, Business Administrator: Michelle Clark
CALL TO ORDER/PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Mr. Langwasser led the pledge of allegiance
ADDITIONS/DELETIONS FROM AGENDA BY MODERATOR
PUBLIC COMMENT (1)
Marion Paxton, community member, stated that changing the school board meetings to Monday night is not convenient for the public, because it is the same night as the selectmen meetings. She stated that people would have to pick and choose which meeting to attend and this is a concern with budget season approaching.
Mr. Luneau addressed Ms. Paxton’s concerns. He stated that the night was not changed at the convenience of school board. The school board is aware and does not want it to be on the same night.
Ms. Paxton stated that during budget season the selectmen meet weekly.
Mr. Chamberlin stated he would look at the meeting schedule again with Mr. Cass.
COMMENTS FROM THE HOPKINTON SCHOOL BOARD AND
HOPKINTON BOARD OF SELECTMEN
Mr. Luneau thanked Mr. Richardson, Mr. O’Brien, Mr. Cass, and Mr. Chamberlin and both boards for coordinating this meeting together.
ITEMS FOR BOARDS DISCUSSION
- a. Annual Meeting Schedules
i. School District
Mr. Chamberlin stated that the moderator is not available on March 10. He stated that he met with Mr. Cass to confirm there are no issues for the Town Meeting to be held on Saturday, March 17, and the School District Meeting on Saturday, March 24.
- b. School District/Town Collaboration
i. Summer Appreciation Cookout (second annual)
Mr. Cass stated that they had their second annual staff appreciation cookout in August. He stated all the employees enjoyed getting together at Kimball Cabins.
Mr. Chamberlin stated this was a great day. He stated that the event grew this year, as it included the recreation camp staff and library personnel. The weather was beautiful, the food was great, and everyone had a wonderful time.
ii. Finance Director Search
Mr. Cass stated that they received 21 applications for the position and has narrowed it down to four. Michelle Clark, School District Business Administrator, is helping with the selection process.
iii. Joint Maintenance Agreements (winter, field, transportation)
Mr. Chamberlin stated that the joint agreements were ratified at the joint meeting last spring. The routine maintenance collaboration is going well.
iv. Facility Use (Summer Recreational Program)
Mr. Cass stated that the town had a very successful summer recreation program based out of Harold Martin School. He stated that the school was very cooperative – it was a great program.
v. Transportation (Summer Recreational Program)
Mr. Chamberlin stated that two or three recreation staff members have taken the bus driver course. Next summer they will be able to use one of our buses to support the recreation camp.
vi. Fuel Purchasing
Ms. Clark stated that the school district is part of an energy-buying group; the town is included in the number of gallons they go out on the market for. She stated that they have only locked into half the gallons; they are waiting for the price to go down to lock into the remaining gallons. Last year the town and school district purchased 65,000 gallons.
Rick Schaefer stated that the cost for fuel oil last year was $2.418/gallon.
Ms. Clark stated that Dennis K. Burke Inc. was awarded this year’s heating oil fuel bid.
vii. Emergency Preparedness (Hopkinton High School Shelter)
Mr. Cass stated that the generator was approved at the Annual Town Meeting last year. The generator has arrived and is scheduled to be installed on the October 7 long weekend. Once installed, it will fully run the high school.
Mr. O’Brien asked how long the generator would run.
Mr. Schaefer stated that it should run a week on a full tank of fuel (400 gallons).
Mr. Joseph asked what if residents still needed the shelter and the school is ready to open.
Mr. Chamberlin stated that they would coexist. He added you can coexist and submit expenses to FEMA.
viii. Health Insurance: Study Committee Report
Mr. Chamberlin stated that the study committee had three meetings and looked at the programmatic offerings: plan type, in/out of network, expenses, and rates. They also looked into how many of the claims are due to lifestyle choices and what we can reduce with education.
The committee was well received – it was a joint effort. The education component was time well spent going into budget time and negotiations
ix. Spirit Skate Park: Study Committee Preliminary Report
Mr. Chamberlin stated that Mr. Kerr has been working with Jessica Bailey chairing the committee. Over the summer they have collected data on use, even helmet use. He stated that they looked at models in Concord and Windham. They learned that the more supervision at the park the more liable you are.
Mr. Cass stated that there has been a lot of deferred maintenance. They have spent a substantial amount of time there replacing boards and said it was in good shape.
x. Hopkinton Wellness Advisory Committee
Mr. Chamberlin stated that the school district is mandated to have a wellness committee. This year, the committee sponsored a Bike Rodeo and Screen Free Week. He stated that they are hoping to get Town representatives on the committee to promote wellness for the community.
Janet Krzyzaniak, community member, stated that the Methodist Church started a wellness committee trying to connect with seniors. She stated it would be nice if some of those members could be on the committee.
xi. Hopkinton Youth Support Team
Mr. Chamberlin stated that the team is a local group made up of clergy, police, guidance, town, and school officials. They believe leveraging resources is the best way to help the community. He stated that marijuana use is down, but prescription drug use is up. Chief Pecora held a prescription drug collection day.
Mr. Chamberlin stated that this is another example of collaboration between the town and the school to help our kids and families.
Merle Dustin, community member stated her concerns about the Jane Lewellen Bandstand. She asked if there was any reason why the town could not make it a safe place. The ground is not safe for the elderly or people in wheelchairs. She stated that something should be done to make it more accessible.
Significant Budget Items
xii. Hopkinton Education Association (HEA): Teachers’ Contract Negotiations
Mr. Chamberlin wanted the Select Board to be aware that this is a significant budget driver. He stated that Mr. Luneau would keep the budget committee up to date during the process.
Mr. Coen asked how the Evergreen Law would affect the budget. Mr. Chamberlin stated that the law had been repealed and it is not part of the contract.
xiii. Fire Station: Study Committee Report
Mr. O’Brien stated that a committee was formed to look at what was needed – building a new fire station vs. additions to the current station. The committee’s recommendation is to construct a new facility on public works road near HMC. There is a meeting tonight to discuss the report. Mr. O’Brien stated that it was unlikely that this would be on this year’s warrant.
Mr. O’Brien stated that the board has been hit or miss on how they do cost of living increases or merit increases. Last year they put together a plan to start giving merit increases to town employees. Also, they have been remiss for a while not doing evaluations. This year, thanks to Neal Cass, they started doing evaluations and giving merit increases. He said it will be good for the board and good for the town overall.
Mr. Pellerin stated that they have lost great people recently because of money; they are doing this to try to keep some of their best people.
Next Meeting: Spring/Fall 2012
Mr. Langwasser and Mr. O’Brien suggested having another meeting before town meeting in March.
Mr. Chamberlin asked if there were any collaborations missing from tonight’s meeting.
Mr. Luneau stated that we have talked about technology in the past – benefiting from sharing knowledge and skillsets.
Mr. Langwasser stated that it was a good idea to move a meeting forward with a colleague on the town side.
PUBLIC COMMENT (2)
Merle Dustin, community member, added that the bandstand is used a lot by the Town and the area is a foot tripper. She wants the Town to make it safe and beautiful.
Dan Coen, community member, stated that the town should not accept these gifts if they do not want to maintain them.
Mr. O’Brien stated that he does not think the bandstand is not maintained.
The meeting adjourned at 6:15pm