Thursday, July 14, 2005
Hartwell multi-purpose room, Lincoln

Present: Julie Dobrow (Chair), Sandy Hessler (Vice Chair), Laurie Manos.
Also present: Mickey Brandmeyer (Superintendent), Paul Naso (Assistant Superintendent), Susan Bottan (Business Administrator).
Absent: Dennis Picker, Cathy Rogers, Pam Borgert (Hanscom Representative), Corie Cruise (Hanscom Representative).
  1. Greetings and Call to Order
    Ms. Dobrow called the meeting to order at 10:05 A.M. She welcomed Ms. Bottan.


  2. Chairperson’s and Members’ report

  3. Public Comments

  4. Consent Agenda
    1. Accept Donation of a Piano
      Ms. Dobrow moved that the consent agenda be adopted. Ms. Hessler seconded the motion. All members voted in favor.

  5. Time Scheduled Appointments
    1. FinCom Presentation
      Ms. Dobrow welcomed John Robinson, Chair of the Lincoln Finance Committee, and Robert Steinbrook, Vice Chair and Liaison to the School Committee. Mr. Steinbrook explained that in June the School Committee had asked the Finance Committee to review the financial implications of Lincoln running the Hanscom Schools. Mr. Steinbrook presented a draft of the Finance Committee’s study of the costs that would be incurred if the relationship with Hanscom were severed. Mr. Steinbrook explained that the focus of the report is on costs and not on the educational benefits of the relationship. The Finance Committee concluded that if the Lincoln Schools were to no longer mange the Hanscom campus, the cost of operating the Lincoln campus would substantially increase. Bumping rights under labor contracts, severance, unemployment, and the Hanscom share of the Central office were quantified leading the Finance Committee to conclude that one-time costs that Lincoln could incur are approximately $2 million, and the recurring annual cost could be at least $670,000. This figure came from annualized payroll costs of a more senior staff. Mr. Steinbrook said that under this conservative analysis the in the first year of the reduction in force the average Lincoln homeowner’s taxes (in a home assessed at $1 million) would increase by at least $1,000.

      The Committee discussed the likelihood of significant overrides if Lincoln were to no longer run the Hanscom schools. They also discussed the possibility of charging the approximately $135,000 annual cost of health insurance for retired Hanscom-based staff members against the Hanscom contract, the fact that some retired faculty worked in both the Lincoln and Hanscom schools and the need to consider this in allocating costs.

      Mr. Brandmeyer said that finances are only part of the picture and that sharing costs allows the district to build scale for both curriculum and professional development. He said that Lincoln would face challenges without the contract and that Hanscom would also face challenges without the contract.

      The Finance Committee will present its report to the Board of Selectmen on Monday, July 18. Ms. Dobrow said that she would speak to the educational benefits of the relationship with Hanscom. Pam Borgert will be there to provide the Hanscom point of view.

    2. Review of School Committee Work Plan for Mission/Vision
      Ms. Manos said that she incorporated the comments made at the last School Committee meeting into the work plan. Ms. Hessler said that the charge for Mission/Vision will presented at the September 8 meeting. The Committee discussed the complexities of gaining quantitative input and the need to get feedback from a broader group that just the people working on this initiative. Mr. Naso suggested that the subcommittee should coordinate with him when seeking faculty involvement so that it can be coordinated with other demands on faculty time. Ms. Dobrow said that any survey should be approved by the School Committee before being sent out. Ms. Dobrow moved that the work plan for Mission/Vision as amended be accepted. Ms. Hessler seconded the motion. All members voted in favor.

    3. Hanscom Facilities Update
      Mr. Brandmeyer said that the district has been working with Baker Associates and DDESS on short-term and long-term planning for facilities improvement at Hanscom. The District has received a draft of the report on Hanscom facilities improvement which should be in final form by September.

      Mr. Brandmeyer reported on the Middle School “storefront project“ of replacing the front door and the slab in front of the door. This will be completed in September or October, later than initially anticipated. The design work has been done and approved. The vendor did not provide the bid in time. There is a plan to resolve this by the end of the month and begin the work. A temporary door will be installed while a new front door is fabricated. Mr. Hopping said that planning is being done for beginning the school year with a temporary front door. Students do not usually come in this door but parents do. The reception for the fall ‘meet and greet’ usually takes place outside in this area so a new location will need to be chosen. The slab will be completed first and the temporary door will be operational. This work is paid for by the DDESS.

      Mr. Brandmeyer reported on three additional short-term projects which are in the design phase. Mr. Brandmeyer said that they should be finalized by the end of the DDESS fiscal year in September. One project involves making three bathrooms (two in the Middle School and one in the Primary School) ADA compliant. Another project involves the large plate glass windows which were covered with Mylar this spring. The initial plan was to replace them but this is being reassessed and installing wide railings where students bump up against the windows is being considered. The final potential project is upgrading the fire alarm system. Initially the fire chief said that the system was not adequate but now is says it is OK. Replacement would be a $400,000 project and may not be necessary if the current system is found to be appropriate for safety.

      Mr. Brandmeyer described the long-term planning that could involve a project cost from $17 to $33 million to DDESS for the Hanscom School facilities. Funding for these projects would be military funding, but state and local representatives will be contacted to see whether any state funds could be secured on the school building project. DDESS, along with the administration and the Hanscom principals, has assessed the Hanscom facilities. The New England Army Corps of Engineers would do the design work. The Middle School has outlived its usefulness and the design, although award winning, has not proved to be practical for the New England climate. The Primary School needs significant renovations. Three building sites have been considered: (1) the site of the current schools, (2) an area behind the Middle School which is currently playing fields and may have toxic waste, and (3) another site that has very bad topography for building. The current site of the Middle School appears to be the most promising site for construction. A phased approach to construction is being considered as smaller projects are easier to fund than one big one. With a phased approach it is possible that not all phases of the project would be approved so that each project must be complete and self contained. Mike Smiley of DDESS is the overall coordinator of the planning and work.

      One question is how many students the schools should be designed to accommodate. The current enrollment is roughly 600 but enrollment could rise to 940 with additions to the base from BRAC. Also renovation of base housing could result in more school age children residing on the base.

      With new construction and renovation, the Hanscom facilities might be reconfigured from the current grades K-3 and 4-8 to grades K-2 or 3, 3-4 or 4-5, and 6-8. This would allow the schools to be organized with three clusters as the Lincoln School is. There is also room for flexibility in this configuration depending on enrollment. There might also be a way to bring the Hanscom preschool back to the base. Building a separate stand alone middle school is also being considered.

      A problem is that in order to build on the current site, school space during construction is needed. The initial plan was to build temporary schools but this is not cost effective so the district has been asked to look for temporary housing.

      The Committee discussed whether it might be possible to consolidate the Lincoln and Hanscom middle school students under one roof which would result in enough students to provide wider offerings. Mr. Brandmeyer said that DDESS would have difficulty funding a building that is not on the base. The Committee also discussed how Hanscom-facilities planning relates to renewal of the contract to run the Hanscom Schools.

    4. Status of Project to Remove Hartwell Canopies
      Ms. Bottan reported on the status of the removal of the canopies. A total of $40,000 was appropriated by the town of Lincoln for the removal of the canopies. No bids were received on the contract that was put out with at June 23rd deadline. The project has been re-bid with a new opening date of July 21st. To date, four requests for the bidding information have been received. The work is required to begin no later than August 8 and must be completed by August 25. There is a sanction with a penalty if these deadlines are not met. The re-bid was advertised in the Central Register but it is not clear whether it was advertised in the Lincoln Journal. Ms. Bottan is checking this. If it was properly advertised, the bidding will move ahead. If it wasn’t there will be a two week delay in the bidding. Ron Alex, the architect, is contacting contractors who got documents for the first bid but did not bid to determine why they did not submit bids. If the second bidding is delayed for two weeks, the current intent is to keep the August 8 begin and August 25 finish deadlines. Because this work is funded under a warrant article, it does not matter that it has been pushed into the new fiscal year.

  6. Superintendent’s Report

  7. Curriculum
    Mr. Naso reported on course reimbursements under the new teachers’ contract. He said that 13 requests have been approved. Of these 13 requests, 5 requests were for credit and reimbursement toward a masters 45, 6 other requests were for credit toward a masters 45 but not for reimbursement.

    Mr. Naso also said that the summer projects have been proceeding with great momentum. Thirteen projects have been completed and approximately 10 are in progress or scheduled for later in the summer.

  8. Policy
    1. CORI Policy: First Reading
      Mr. Brandmeyer reported that the current policy must be revised because of changes in the law effective July 1 requiring that individuals who have criminal information reported about them have the opportunity to refute that information. In additinon, the changes in the law will necessitate the district collecting some additional information on the CORI forms. The School Committee will vote on the revised CORI policy at its next meeting.

  9. Budget and Financial

  10. Old Business
    Ms. Manos noted that time did not permit reassurance to parents in the third grade about the experience level of the new teachers in the letter with teacher assignments. Mr. Naso said that this will be provided in the next communication.

  11. New Business

  12. Approval of Minutes
    Ms. Dobrow moved that the School Committee approve the minutes of June 22 as corrected. Ms. Manos seconded the motion. Ms. Dobrow and Ms. Manos voted in favor, with Ms. Hessler abstaining because she did not attend the June 22 meeting.

  13. Information Enclosures

  14. Adjournment
    Ms. Dobrow moved that the Committee adjourn to Executive Session for the purpose of discussing contract negotiations. Ms. Hessler seconded the motion. The motion was approved by the following roll call:
    Ms. Dobrow - yes
    Ms. Hessler – yes
    Ms. Manos-yes
    The Committee adjourned to Executive Session at 11:35 A.M.

Respectfully submitted,
Sara Rolley, School Committee Recording Secretary