2-19-2020 Board of Education Meeting Minutes

(Last Updated On: April 21, 2020)

BUCHANAN COMMUNITY SCHOOLS, BERRIEN COUNTY, MICHIGAN

                                                                                                                                                  

FEBRUARY 19, 2020                       REGULAR MEETING                        BUCHANAN HIGH SCHOOL

 

CALL TO ORDER PRESIDENT: Dennis Wentworth opened the meeting at 6:01 pm
ROLL CALL PRESENT: C. Lee, H. Burnett, R. Writer, S. Tobler, J. DeVlaminck, K. Laesch and D. Wentworth

ABSENT:   None

  OTHERS PRESENT : Timothy Donahue, Dr. Michael Lindley
ADOPTION OF AGENDA

 

MOTION by R. Writer, SECONDED BY Member S. Tobler the agenda for the board meeting of February 19, 2020 be adopted as written.

 

ROLL CALL VOTE:  C. Lee, H. Burnett, R. Writer, S. Tobler, J. DeVlaminck, K. Laesch and D. Wentworth

NAYS:  None     MOTION ADOPTED

RECOGNITION OF VISITORS

 

M. Lindley, L. Flenar, J. Flenar, W. Ridgway Jr., T. Brinks, K. Cuthbert, J. Cuthbert, M. Seddon, K. Mills, J. Jacobs, K. Lolmaugh, R. Antisdel, K. Bromley, N. Bromley, D. Bromley, C. Swem, M. Pruett, S. Miller, S. Steinke, L. Miller, L. Miller, C. Taylor, S. Gregorski, R. Martin, C. Lolmaugh, W. Writer, C. Martin, D. Russell, A. Place, N. Fisher, C. Franklin, J. Hanover, L. Harroff, G. McKean, K. Griffin, E. Chase, J. Kemp, E. Kratky, B. Donahue, C. Waggoner, B. Waggoner, M. Watkins, K. Berry, S. Nowlin, D. Miller, M. Tobler, M. Cole, M. Frost, W. Murphy, K. Worvey, T. Chase, A. Riggs, B, Wiersma, A. van der Laan
INFORMATION/REPORTS & NEW BUSINESS Parent Advisory Committee Report – Mr. Donahue provided a meeting update to the Board. He stated that they have had multiple meetings to date. They spoke about the website platform that we should be transitioning to around May/June. The committee spoke on the Strategic Planning Meeting that took place on 1-20-2020 and the five goal areas of Academics and Programs, Learning Environment, Communications, Finance and Personnel and Operations. They spoke of the system for grading and reporting not being as user friendly as parents would like it to be. Mr. Donahue discussed the draft of BCS “Chain of Command” being a work in progress with great feedback from the group. Mr. Donahue also spoke about the formation of a Student Advisory Council in the future. Committee members plan to meet again in early March.

 

Staff Advisory Committee Report – Mr. Donahue spoke of their meeting on 2-11-2020 that had many Board Members in attendance. Plowing was discussed as well as power standards. The topic of behavior issues and the need for a behavior interventionist at the elementary level was also spoken about. Committee members set their next meeting date for early March.

 

Finance Committee Report – Mr. Donahue spoke about the recent audit completed at the request of the Board. Cindy Scott, certified fraud examiner and CPA with Stephenson & Company, PC, addressed the committee. Cindy provided an overview of GASB 84 (Governmental Accounting Standards Board), a set of new legal guidelines for accounting related to activity groups. Mr. Donahue spoke of our District reviewing policies in the upcoming months to make sure we are in compliance with GASB 84. Cindy will be getting her full, completed report to the Board soon.

SUPERINTENDENT/

DEPARTMENT REPORTS

Recognition of Retirement – Mr. Donahue and Mrs. Lowery acknowledged and thanked Cindy Bauer, BCS Bus Driver of 33 years, for her service and dedication and presented her with a gift.

 

Buck Staff Recognition January/February Winner: Christin Taylor. Mr. Donahue recognized Mrs. Taylor as this month’s winner. Academic Director, Mr. Mark Kurland, nominated Mrs. Taylor for her willingness to support our required testing efforts as well as giving her expertise in how to better support our students. He commented on her wealth of knowledge in working with our students who have English as a second language. Mr. Donahue presented Mrs. Taylor with a certificate and gift to show our appreciation for her dedication.

Nominees included:

– Alan Berget, BCS Maintenance
– Ann Kenyon, BCS Transportation
– Caitlyn Lustila, Elementary Music Teacher
– Erik Johansen, BHS Social Studies Teacher
– Jessica Elliott, BHS English Teacher
– Lisa Holok, BHS English Teacher
– Lonnie Hoover, BCS Athletic Director
– Mark Frey, CTE/BVA Director
– Mary Colglazier, Ottawa Food Service
– Melissa Frost, BHS Science Teacher
– Michelle Munyon, BCS Administrative Assistant
– Michelle Trail, Moccasin Custodian
– Nicole Hughes, BMS 5th Grade Teacher
– Rachel Carlson, BHS Mathematics Teacher
– Ryan Frontczak, BMS Dean of Students
– Sandy Stuckey, Moccasin Paraprofessional
– Shelby Beasley, BMS Principal
– Stacey Lee, BMS Special Education Teacher
– Sue Lentz, BCS Registrar

 

Updates for BHS, BMS, Moccasin, Ottawa, CTE/BVA, Special Education, Executive Director of Academics, Business Office, Operations, Food Service, Information Technology, Transportation, and Athletics were provided respectively.

COMMUNITY DIALOGUE CITIZENS CONCERNS Board President, Mr. Wentworth spoke about policy and reminded the public to please keep their dialogue to three minutes, to express themselves in a civil manner, and with respect for the dignity and privacy of others who may be affected by public comments. He asked speakers not to make personal attacks against a school board member or district employee. He wanted speakers to be aware that if statements violate the rights of others under the law of defamation or invasion of privacy, such comments may result in legal liability. Mr. Wentworth stated a problem involving an individual employee or a specific incident is best handled through administrative channels.

 

Dwayne Ridgway Jr. – Member of the SCSR, would like to know if the Board received their letter that was emailed on 2-4-2020. Board President Wentworth stated not that he was aware of and asked that it be re-sent.

ADOPTION OF CONSENT AGENDA

 

MOTION by R. Writer, SECONDED by K. Laesch, The Board of Education approves the consent agenda for the regular board meeting of February 19, 2020 be adopted as written:

 

1. Minutes:

1-14-2020 Reorganizational Meeting

1-20-2020 Regular Meeting

1-29-2020 Special Meeting

2-12-2020 Special Meeting

 

2. Warrants:

Expenditure Reports & Payroll – January

 

3. Recommendations to Hire as submitted by Moccasin Principal, Mr. Michael Dunn and Ottawa Elementary Principal, Mrs. Stacey Denison:

Recommended Employee Title
Wendy Murphy Literacy Coach at Ottawa Elementary
Kelly Rowland 4th Grade Teacher
Shana Constable Social Worker based at Moccasin Elementary
Cynthia Stacy 1st Grade Teacher
Ashley Schmitt Kindergarten Classroom Aide
Vicki Toms Kindergarten Classroom Aide
Robert Bruce Special Education Healthcare Paraprofessional

 

4. Recommendations for Extracurricular Assignments for Vertical Team Members:

Recommended Employee Title
Rebekah Wiersma Grade 4 Science
Nicole Teshka Grade 3 Social Studies
Lisa Gregory Grade 2 English
Lindsay Harroff Grade 2 Math

 

ROLL CALL VOTE:  C. Lee, H. Burnett, R. Writer, S. Tobler, J. DeVlaminck, K. Laesch and D. Wentworth

NAYS:  None     MOTION ADOPTED

LETTER OF AGREEMENT WITH BEA MOTION by R. Writer, SECONDED by C. Lee, The Buchanan Board of Education approves the agreement between Buchanan-5C Education Association, MEA/NEA and Buchanan Community Schools.

 

Mr. Donahue commented about this amendment to the current teacher contract w/ addition of literacy coaches and social workers in the section on scope of personnel covered. He had met with Wendy Murphy on this matter and the letter of agreement needs Board approval.

 

ROLL CALL VOTE:  C. Lee, H. Burnett, R. Writer, S. Tobler, J. DeVlaminck, K. Laesch and D. Wentworth

NAYS:  None     MOTION ADOPTED

APPROVAL OF LOGO ON SCHOOL EQUIPMENT

 

MOTION by J. DeVlaminck, SECONDED by R. Writer, the Buchanan Board of Education approves the new logo for the scorer’s table; per board policy 9700.01, section B. Direct Advertising/Appropriations of Space, Item 2. Corporate Logos or brand names on school equipment.

 

Mr. Donahue stated this was a donation from Honor Credit Union for the new scorer’s table.

 

Board Member Laesch asked Mr. Hoover if anyone else was asked to sponsor; he replied no. She asked if there was any agreement on how long the advertisement had to stay or be used for, and Mr. Hoover again replied no.

 

Board President Wentworth thanked Honor Credit Union for their donation to BCS.

 

ROLL CALL VOTE:  C. Lee, H. Burnett, R. Writer, S. Tobler, J. DeVlaminck, and D. Wentworth

NAYS:  K. Laesch     MOTION ADOPTED

2020 FIRST ROBOTICS COMPETITION – OVERNIGHT FIELD TRIP MOTION by J. DeVlaminck, SECONDED by C. Lee, The Buchanan Board of Education approves the robotics team trip to Richland, Michigan for the purposes of the 2020 FIRST Robotics Competition.
The robotics team is expected to depart March 12th, 2020 and return March 14th, 2020 in accordance with Board Policy #2340. This robotics team trip will be under the sponsorship of Mr. Phillip Place.Mr. Donahue expressed approval and wished success to the team at the competition.Board Members wished them luck.

 

ROLL CALL VOTE:  C. Lee, H. Burnett, R. Writer, S. Tobler, J. DeVlaminck, K. Laesch and D. Wentworth

NAYS:  None     MOTION ADOPTED

BUCHANAN VIRTUAL ACADEMY GRADUATION CERTIFICATION MOTION by J. DeVlaminck, SECONDED by S. Tobler, upon satisfactory completion of district requirements for High School graduation, the Board of Education hereby approves:

 

Buchanan Step Up Student:

–          Hannah Truelove

To be certified for graduation.

 

ROLL CALL VOTE:  C. Lee, H. Burnett, R. Writer, S. Tobler, J. DeVlaminck, K. Laesch and D. Wentworth

NAYS:  None     MOTION ADOPTED

PRESENTATION OF DR. LINDLEY’S REPORT ON BCS & DIALOGUE

 

Mr. Jerry Flenar gave thanks to the Board, Superintendent, and community members. Mr. Flenar commented on respect being one main point going forward. Respect needs to be given to the Board so someone’s rights are not being violated. He mentioned Dr. Lindley noted to him that he had never seen as much pride in a community as he had seen in Buchanan.

 

Dr. Lindley spoke that his completed report would be posted on BCS website within 24 hours. He had interviewed 49 people, some of which consisted of staff, students, and parents. He stated that the Board is not bound by any recommendations that he would be making.

 

Dr. Lindley shared 3 comments with the Board:

1.       Citizens expect board members to act as their watchdogs. (MASB)

2.       Faculty expects board members to serve as their advocates. (MASB)

3.       There is a great deal of community pride in being a BUCK. This is a source of strength for the board. (Consultant) Stating that there is multigenerational support of our district.

 

Dr. Lindley reviewed a lot of BCS policies and documents and separated his responses into five groups:

 

1.       General

Dr. Lindley spoke about BCS job descriptions being out dated. He gave the example of the Superintendent’s job description being last revised in 1996. He stated that Board Policies should be reviewed in their entirety over three years’ time to keep all policies up to date. It’s everyone’s responsibility to know the policies. High School staff should really be involved with the student section of policies. He stated that the student handbooks should coincide together w/ the board policies. He recommended starting at the 5000 student section and then to the 0000 and 1000 sections. He stated that the Professional Learning Community model is an effective process for continuous improvement. He stated the District website was hard to navigate which he commended BCS on taking action on this already. He stated that the Superintendent is to be commended for improving the hiring process. Dr. Lindley spoke about rebuilding trust, the importance of keeping your word and follow through with your actions. It takes time to build and earn trust. Value the relationships you have and do not take them for granted.

 

2.       Visibility

Dr. Lindley stated the Superintendent was described as an introvert and Mr. Donahue needs to find ways to be more engaged in district and community events. He also invited staff and other stakeholders in the community to be encouraged to invite Mr. Donahue to events.

 

3.       Community

Dr. Lindley spoke of the Superintendent’s evaluation. He stated that members of the community expressed concern that the evaluation wasn’t completed in a timely manner. Dr. Lindley commented that the Board is in fact in compliance with the law on superintendent evaluation. The law specifies it must be completed annually, but not by a specific date. He went on to mention that many Buchanan residents have fond memories and that it’s been stressful the last few months. He affirmed that there must be a degree of forgiveness and a willingness to move forward to make meaningful growth. The community should treat the elected members of the Board with respect and vice versa.

 

4.       Communication

Dr. Lindley recommended that the Board and Superintendent should consider utilizing professional assistance to help communicate their story. He stated that the Superintendent should develop a highly effective leadership team. He commended the administration team for reading Crucial Conversations. Dr. Lindley added that the Business Office needs to be more timely with clear communication. He touched on accountability without support is not going to work well, and to look at what assistance staff need to accomplish a goal. Conflicts needs to be addressed instead of ignoring, being dealt with as quickly as possible.

 

5.       Transparency

Dr. Lindley reminded the Board to be careful of having more than three Board members together at a time as it could give the wrong message. He commended the Board for listening to the community and changing the time limits to present to the Board. He recommended the Board and Superintendent should be looking into the Business Office more as they are not in compliance in several areas. He touched on FMLA leave issue and stated while no reference was found regarding the specific number of days, the FMLA does allow an employer to mandate FMLA leave if it determines the leave may be based on an ongoing health issue. Dr. Lindley mentioned he had included in his report a sample document for an elementary school budget. He stated the BCS budget is hard to read and needs to be regrouped so it’s easier to view, adding to our transparency. He stated what while what currently is being done is not wrong, it is a little difficult for others to understand.

 

Dr. Lindley stated that the community would like to be part of the solution and the Board should be proud that the community stands behind them.

 

Board Member Writer commented that the number of closed sessions lately have been because of student discipline matters requested by the parent or personnel matters. She also added that because there is a time limit that student discipline issues need to be addressed within, this has contributed to a number of special meetings and closed session in the past months.

 

Board Member Laesch thanked Dr. Lindley for all his time and great advice for change and solutions.

 

Board President Wentworth opened up to the community for two questions to Dr. Lindley, to which no one responded.  He thanked Dr. Lindley on behalf of the Board for providing a comprehensive look at the district. He also thanked Mr. Flenar and the Gateway Foundation for supporting this effort along with the community. He thanked the 49 people who Dr. Lindley met with for the report. They have listened and will start addressing issues in the near future. From the Board level, they will work towards providing more transparency and better communication. He stated the staff plays a vital role in the success of our students and we must work together to achieve this together.  We all have one ultimate goal and that focus needs to be placed on our students.

QUESTIONS & COMMENTS FROM BOARD MEMBERS Mrs. Writer thanked the Middle School for the Board Appreciation breakfast and student insights. She thanked the members of the Staff Advisory Committee, Parent Advisory Committee and Vertical Teams. She also thanked The Herd for making the Bucks visible beyond our community and reminded all to vote for them in the MHSAA competition.
NEXT BOARD MEETING Monday, March 16th, 6pm @ Buchanan High School
ADJOURNMENT 7:15 pm
Updated: April 21, 2020 — 12:16 PM