Approved Minutes of January 16, 2019

WEST GENESEE CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
REGULAR MEETING OF THE BOARD OF EDUCATION
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 16, 2019

MINUTES of the REGULAR MEETING of the BOARD OF EDUCATION held JANUARY 16, 2019 at the West Genesee High School Library.

Members present:
Eric Bacon
Kimberly Coyne
Vladimiro Hart-Zavoli
Roberta Herron
Jennifer James
Shawn Mitchell
Joseph Simon
Barbara Wells
Neil Widrick

Others present:
Paul Pelton
Dave Cirillo
Michele Gagne
Bonnie Russell
T.J. Vaughan
Darlene Chapin
Sue Murray
Ken Coon
Lora Chaplain
Cathy Emery
Beth Applegate-Debo
Justin Taylor
Susan Taylor
Jeannette Lannie
Susan Gifford
Mary Weaver
Dawn Personte
Nicole Swete
John Mannion
Jennifer Mannion
Jeffrey Mercer
Scott Kemp
Kim Kemp
Susan Buza
Klarissa Wake
Karen Peck
Kelly Fassinger
Melissa Commesso
Cindy Smith
Robert Smith
Judy Griffith
Dale Keida
Kevin Devaney
Molly Devaney
Mike Burns
William Roberge
Tracy Klefbeck
Beth Stewart
Maura White
Randy Henson
Erica Henson
Derek Noce
Kim Grome
Melanie Callahan
Mary Barber
Jennifer Cammarata
Jeanne Lingenfelter
Colleen Satalin
Kristen Hudson
Beth Lozier
Lisa Craig
Lori Keevil
Jeannette Clark
Tim DiPaola
Kristin Grome
Mary Bird
Steven Grome
Beth Baldwin
Heather Thome
Katrina Fetterolf
Pam Mitchell
Kim Hagadorn
Patty Searle
Bill Barrington
Janet Drazek
John Benson
Theresa Murray
Charles Berry
Sam McShane
Monica Canterino
Courtney Lyons
Mary Gotham
Joanne Pooler
Deanna Fitzpatrick
Chris Paoli
Dan Halinan
Bob Deegan
Jim St. Croix
Melanie Deemer
Tom Cole
Adam Hardin
Ana Hardin
M. Regina Baratta
Kathy Byrne
Pam Agricola
Melissa Pross
Kathleen Ryan
Susan Dietz
Approximately 40 other staff and/or residents

MEETING CALLED TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order by President Roberta Herron at 7:00 p.m.

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

President Herron led the Board in the Pledge of Allegiance.

ADDITIONS AND DELETIONS TO THE AGENDA

None

SUPERINTENDENT’S REPORT

None

OPEN FORUM

Paul Pelton spoke of Transportation employee, James Apps, who is retiring after 14 years of devotion to our students. He will be missed as he heads to Florida to enjoy the warmth and sunshine.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

A. Motion: Shawn Mitchell

It is recommended that the minutes of the Regular Meeting of December 19, 2018, and the Special Meeting of January 3, 2019, be approved.

Second: Jennifer James Approved 9 – 0

STUDY SESSION TOPICS

None

FINANCIAL ACTION ITEMS

B. Motion: Joseph Simon

It is recommended that the stipulated Technology supplies/materials be declared surplus and disposed of in accordance with New York State Education law.

Second: Neil Widrick Approved 9 – 0

PERSONNEL/OPERATIONAL ACTION ITEMS

C. Motion: Vladimiro Hart-Zavoli

It is recommended that the 2018-19 general fund budget transfers be approved, as stipulated.

Second: Kimberly Coyne Approved 9 – 0

D. Motion: Eric Bacon

It is recommended that the Board of Education accept a donation from Square 1 Art, of 5470 Oakbrook Pkwy, Suite E, Norcross, GA 30093, for East Hill Elementary School in the amount of $2,673.63, and it is further recommended that the 2018-19 general fund budget be amended as follows to reflect said donations:

A510 – Estimated Revenues
A2705 – Gifts and Donations $2,631.59
A2705 – Gifts and Donations $ 42.04

A960 – Appropriations
A2110-501-05-0030 – General Supplies – EH $2,673.63

Second: Barbara Wells Approved 9 – 0

E. Motion: Joseph Simon

It is recommended that the following retirement be approved:

James Apps, Bus Driver, Transportation –
Effective 1/8/19

Note: James Apps has been employed with the West Genesee Central School District for fourteen years.

Second: Jennifer James Approved 9 – 0

F. Motion: Neil Widrick

It is recommended that the following resignation be approved:

Jamie Casullo, Teaching Assistant/Special Education, Stonehedge Elementary School/Blue – Effective 1/23/19 – To accept another position within the District

Second: Vladimiro Hart-Zavoli Approved 9 – 0

G. Motion: Barbara Wells

It is recommended that the following unpaid leaves of absence be approved:

Eva Guerra, School Bus Driver, Transportation –
Effective 2/14/19 and 2/15/19 – Personal Reason

Marie Rivaldo, Teaching Assistant/Special Education – Onondaga Road Elementary School – Effective 2/11/19 through 2/15/19 – Personal Reason

Margaret Barbuto, Physical Education Teacher, Stonehedge Elementary School/Blue – Effective 1/18/19 – Personal Reason

Donna Annable, LPN, Split Rock Elementary School –
Effective 1/21/19 through on or about 3/16/19 – Medical Reason

Second: Jennifer James Approved 9 – 0

H. Motion: Joseph Simon

It is recommended that the following non- instructional position be abolished effective 1/16/19:

One Part-time (6hrs. per day) Teacher Aide/Copy Center-Nights HS

Second: Jennifer James Approved 9 – 0

I. Motion: Neil Widrick

It is recommended that the following non-instructional positions be created effective 1/17/19:

One Full-time (7.5 hours per day) Typist II Athletics Office
One Full-time (7.5 hours per day) Teacher Aide-Nights HS

Second: Barbara Wells Approved 9 – 0

J. Motion: Joseph Simon

It is recommended that the following instructional positions be created effective 1/16/19:

One Part-time (.90) Teaching Assistant/Special Education ST-G
One Part-time (.90) Temporary Teaching Assistant/Special Education HS
on or about 1/7/19 through on or about 6/30/19

Second: Jennifer James Approved 9 – 0

K. Motion: Barbara Wells

It is recommended that the following appointment be amended:

Lyssa Sexton
Second Grade Teacher
Split Rock Elementary School
Probationary Appointment
Certification: Initial, Childhood Education 1-6, Effective 1/21/14
Tenure Area: Elementary
Step: 5 B + 30
Effective 8/30/18 through 8/29/21 AMENDED
Salary: $58,787
New position approved 7/2/18

Second: Neil Widrick Approved 9 – 0

L. Motion: Joseph Simon

It is recommended that the following appointments be approved:

Nicole Bartolotta
Second Grade Teacher
Stonehedge Elementary School/Blue
Regular Substitute Appointment
Certification: Professional, SWD 1-6, Effective 4/11/18
Tenure Area: Elementary
Step 1 M + 6
Effective on or about 2/25/19 through on or about 4/5/19
Salary: $53,135 prorated
Replaces Katelyn Jackson, Maternity Leave

Jamie Casullo
Teaching Assistant/Special Education
West Genesee Middle School
Probationary Appointment
Effective 1/24/19 through 1/23/23
Salary: $22,430 prorated
Replaces Kathryn Lykudis, Transfer approved 12/19/18

Timothy Browne
Custodial Helper I
Spilt Rock Elementary School
Full-time Appointment – Subject to a 52-week probationary period
7 hours per day
Effective 1/17/19
Salary: $19,565 prorated
Replaces Edward Sisson, Reassignment approved 12/19/18

Rosemarie Schiltz
School Bus Attendant
Transportation
Part-time Appointment, Subject to a 52-week probationary period
20 hours per week
Effective 1/17/19
Salary: $17.70 per hour
New student with special needs

Mark Stagnitta
School Bus Attendant
Transportation
Part-time Appointment, Subject to a 52-week probationary period
20 hours per week
Effective 1/17/19
Salary: $17.70 per hour
Replaces Michelle DelVecchio, Resignation approved 10/17/18

Second: Neil Widrick Approved 9 – 0

M. Motion: Kimberly Coyne

It is recommended that the Board of Education enter into a contract for the 2018-19 school year with the following individual for Occupational Therapy Services:

Morgan Cadwell – 32 hours per week – $60.00 per hour

Second: Barbara Wells Approved 9 – 0

N. Motion: Eric Bacon

It is recommended that the following 2018-19 Winter Coach be approved (S/staff; RS/retired staff; NS/non-staff):

Brian Gates (NS)
Boys 7-8 Wrestling
CMS/WGMS
Step 6 x 8%
Salary: $4,474

Second: Neil Widrick Approved 9 – 0

O. Motion: Joseph Simon

It is recommended that the following changes in hours for bus drivers be approved effective 1/17/19:

Patrick Anderson from 23.30 to 25.00 hours per week
Theresa Dean from 26.65 to 28.35 hours per week
Jennifer LaRowe from 10.00 to 16.00 hours per week

Second: Jennifer James Approved 9 – 0

P. Motion: Barbara Wells

It is recommended that the following change in hours for bus attendant be approved effective 1/17/19:

Barbara Carter from 25.00 to 31.00 hours per week

Second: Vladimiro Hart-Zavoli Approved 9 – 0

Q. Motion: Joseph Simon

It is recommended that the substitute lists for the 2018-19 school year be approved as stipulated.

Second: Neil Widrick Approved 9 – 0

R. Motion: Neil Widrick

It is recommended that the District Code of Conduct and Safety Plan be approved as stipulated.

Second: Shawn Mitchell Approved 9 – 0

CURRICULUM ACTION ITEMS

S. Motion: Joseph Simon

It is recommended that the Board of Education of the West Genesee Central School District accept the recommendations of the CPSE, CSE, and Building Level Review Meeting dates listed below; thereby agreeing to make necessary arrangements for program implementation.

CPSE
December 5, 2018
December 17, 2018
December 20, 2018
December 21, 2018
December 31, 2018
January 9, 2019

CSE
December 6, 2018
December 7, 2018
December 12, 2018
December 13, 2018
December 18, 2018
December 20, 2018
January 8, 2019
January 10, 2019

Building Level
November 16, 2018
December 11, 2018
December 12, 2018
December 13, 2018
December 14, 2018
December 18, 2018
December 20, 2018

Second: Kimberly Coyne Approved 9 – 0

T. Motion: Shawn Mitchell

It is recommended that the following Board of Education Policies be approved (1st vote consideration):

INSTRUCTION #4326
CURRICULUM
Instruction for English Language Learners

INSTRUCTION #4730
ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT
Homework

INSTRUCTION #4773
ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT
Credential Options for Students with Disabilities

Second: Jennifer James Approved 9 – 0

OPEN FORUM

President Herron began the second open forum by noting that the BOE must complete its due process investigation as required. She also noted the open forum guidelines. President Herron closed by indicating that while they definitely want to hear from all that want to speak, their ability to answer some questions may be legally limited at this time.

Steven Grome indicated that he felt that Mr. Brown is an embarrassment to the District and the atmosphere at West Genesee needs to be addressed.

Shawn Mitchell spoke of many inappropriate emails that he and other Board Members received. He noted that due process needs to be followed and that those involved are absolutely entitled to receive that. He concluded by stating this is the way it should be and any person with any life situation should hope that they would receive the same.

Martha Bugin stated that Dr. Brown currently has several other professions and questioned the time he had available to run the District.

John Mannion thanked the Board for their dedication. He noted that communication paths between stakeholders and the Board need to improve. He asked for more open dialogues to take place.

Karen Kelly indicated that it took too long for the Board to get information out. She found out from other sources prior to the Board getting word out to the community.

Roberta Herron indicated that the Board first heard of the situation the same way many others did, via social media. She noted that following consultation from legal counsel, the Board released a statement on its webpage on January 4, 2019. She indicated that, as with the most recent update, that first statement probably should have been sent out directly to the community also, but getting feedback from the Board’s legal counsel was top priority at that stage of the process.

Kathleen Guthrie wanted to better understand the independent investigation and the firm’s relationship with the District. The Board responded by indicating that the Ferrara Firm only represents the BOE, not individual employees of the District.

Erica Henson felt that Mr. Mitchell sounded defensive and asked about Dr. Brown’s credentials. It was noted that details of personnel matters would not be discussed.

Shawn Mitchell said that he would always defend his integrity when challenged. He noted that he too is an educator, District resident and taxpayer.

Kathy Ryan indicated that she had pieces of information that she was interested in sharing with the Board, but she found it very difficult to get in touch with Board Members. The Board indicated that their emails are all available. Mrs. Ryan indicated that she is not a fan of email and access should be easier.

Shawn Mitchell told all in attendance that if they have any credible legal evidence, they are welcome to reach out to the Ferrara Firm and provide that information.

Michele Gagne claimed that she felt the word anxiety surrounding the District is really more outrage and concern. She encouraged people to be more open with communication between staff and the Board.

Karen Kelly asked if the Board of Education appointed the Executive Principal. The Board indicated that they approve recommendations of the Superintendent. Dave Cirillo, Director of Staff Relations, indicated that the normal policies and procedures were followed when appointing the current Executive Principal.

Dan Burlingame asked if the Board has a plan at the conclusion of the investigation, as the damage has been done. President Herron indicated that the game plan can only be developed once the investigation is complete and we are confident that we have accurate facts.

Vince Mauro indicated that he was also concerned with the multiple job responsibilities the Superintendent held. He also asked if the final report will be public; what we are investigating; and if there was a relationship, did the Board consider that inappropriate. It was noted that the report would be bound by client/attorney privilege and would not be available to the public. President Herron noted that prior to this situation, the Superintendent has provided an exemplary work performance. She noted that every year annual goals are mutually agreed upon and he has always achieved the agreed upon goals.

Steve Grome asked about the District Code of Conduct and the Superintendent Code of Conduct. It was noted that the terms and conditions of the agreement with the Superintendent are all in his contract.

Lora Champlain asked about the Board’s responsibility of being stewards of the taxpayers. She noted that many more would speak out, but fear retribution in the future.

Shawn Mitchell spoke of his and the Board’s integrity. He noted that he is 100% fully here to look out for the District and students.

Neil Widrick noted that all of the Board Members are volunteers and hope that they would be supported. He acknowledged that they were elected to represent the community, however they must utilize due diligence in this process. He noted, while they are anxious to move quickly, it is important to come to the correct conclusion once all of the facts are gathered.

Dana Northrop asked for a link to the SeeThroughNY page with the Superintendent’s contract. The Board indicated that the link was available in the Board’s updated notice, found on the District’s website home page. Mr. Northrop also indicated that the Board may want to consider a social media policy.

Vince Mauro had a copy of the Superintendent’s contract available and read a portion of the contract to those in attendance.

Kathy Ryan gave suggestions on how the final conclusions of the investigation should be reported to the public.

Michael Iles asked if we could elaborate on the selection of the counsel completing the investigation. It was again noted that the Ferrara Firm is the counsel of the Board and only represents the Board, not the individual employees of the District.

Steve Grome asked about the cost of the investigation. It was noted that the total cost cannot be determined at this point.

Randy Hensen noted that it would be nice if it didn’t take a situation like this to get more people to the Board Meetings and that more people should come more often. He then asked a follow up question regarding Dr. Brown’s credentials. It was noted that Dr. Brown, as well as many other school district administrators, have the appropriate credentials to be a superintendent of a school district.

Margaret Bugin asked if the Board knew if Joe Shields, one of the Ferrara Firm’s counsel, was friends with Dr. Brown. The Board has no knowledge of said information.

Dana Northrop asked again how much was being spent on the investigation. Paul Pelton indicated that there are various rates depending on which person at the firm was doing the work. When asked for the hourly rate again, Mr. Pelton estimated a rate of $235 an hour. (The next morning, January 17, 2019, the hourly rate was confirmed at $210 per hour)

Cathy Emery asked who decides what gets included in the Superintendent’s contract. It was noted that the contract is negotiated between the Board and the Superintendent.

Jackie Wisnewski asked who was in charge of the overall High School, should someone need to reach the High School at this time. It was announced that Tracy Klefbeck is currently the initial point of contact for matters that would typically go to the Executive Principal.

Gary McAfee noted that these events have held us all hostage. He noted that we have elected the BOE and we need to be patient and let the BOE do what they have to in a legal manner. While all are impatient and want details, some of which we may get and some which we may not, we need to let the Board see the process through and support them.

EXECUTIVE SESSION

U. Motion: Shawn Mitchell

It is recommended that the Board of Education go into Executive Session for matters of personnel (7:54 p.m.)

Second: Barbara Wells Approved 9 – 0

RETURN TO REGULAR SESSION

V. Motion: Shawn Mitchell

It is recommended that the Board of Education return to Regular Session. (9:17 p.m.)

Second: Kimberly Coyne Approved 9 – 0

ADJOURNMENT

W. Motion: Neil Widrick

It is recommended that the Regular Session of the Board of Education be adjourned. (9:18 p.m.)

Second: Eric Bacon Approved 9 – 0

Respectfully Submitted,
Paul E. Pelton, District Clerk