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BOE Meeting: A Full Agenda and a Late Night

A discussion of the labor complaint by the bus owner-operators and requiring a personal financial literacy course for high school graduation were among the agenda items.

In addition to debate regarding a , the Board of Education discussed its financial situation, a pending labor complaint filed by the Newtown owner-operator and a capital improvement request during its Tuesday meeting.

Financial Report

A review of the BOE Budget Summary Report as of November 30th was made by Ron Bienkowski, Business Manager for the Newtown Schools. Bienkowski indicated that the budget would be very tight for the remainder of the year. Areas running over budget include salaries due to educational assistants, special educational services and a nurse requested by Fraser-Woods School. Professional Services are high because of special education legal services, a significantly increased need for speech and hearing services, and other legal fees due to the labor board hearing.

Financial Literacy Course

The board unanimously approved making the Personal Financial Literacy course a requirement beginning with next year’s incoming freshman or the Class of 2017.  Board members felt this was an important class for students to take before they are out of high school.

Schedule of 2012 Board of Education Meetings

The approved schedule is attached or can be found on the district website

Owner-Operator Labor Board Discussion

The BOE’s attorney Floyd Dugas gave some background and an update on the owner-operator labor complaint with the State Board of Labor Relations. There were several key points.

  • At the informal hearing, the labor board agent expressed reservations, in his opinion, that the owner-operators were employees.
  • The first hearing is scheduled for December 29th, 2011 at 1:30pm for three hours.
  • Most likely, there will be two or three hearings spread out over several months.
  • Dugas did not think it was likely there would be a decision before mid-summer.

To view the complete discussion, see the attached videos.

Request for An Additional Section of CPB Math III at the High School

Karen Sherman, chair of the high school math department, asked the BOE for approval to add another section of CPB Math III at NHS. This addition would equal approximately $5000 and was unanimously approved by the BOE.

Special Appropriation Request to the Board of Finance

The board approved a request to the Board of Finance for a special appropriation to complete several building and site maintenance projects. The money would come from a capital non-recurring fund that was previously funded by a BOE surplus.

Milky way December 23, 2011 at 04:20 AM
Thanks Janet! we will be paying for this for the next 15 years great job! what does Floyd charge per hour?
Susan McGuinness Getzinger December 23, 2011 at 05:41 AM
"Professional Services are high because of special education legal services,... and other legal fees due to the labor board hearing." - Please define"high" and why are we specifically fightining parents on these special ed issues? Are 504 hearings included in this umbrella term of "special ed", since they do NOT fall under that category and should be defined seperately? Who determine that we need to fight the parents on the special ed services? Why did we, as a district, not agree with what the parents are asking for for their children? Why is it now a legal issue? As taxpayers, we have a right to know what cost legal fees are over accommodation request (keeping children's personally identifyable info. private, of course).............the labor board hearing (and it's cost) seems like it would have been an unnecessary cost had we been able to closely examine why AllStar was so much less expensive in their bidding compared to all comperable bus companies that also bid. How exactly did Mr. Bienkowski, the district business manager, assist AllStar in completeing their paperwork during the bidding, as previously stated in news articles? Can anyone state that accurately at this time please?
Jenna December 23, 2011 at 05:41 AM
hey Janet why are we paying your rent here when you have another home somewhere else in this state?!? Commute like the rest of us! That would be a great tax savings! All Star is your personal baby( isn't your husband good friends with the owner?) just like you did in Derby.. time to step down and take your personal selfish interests with you. enough with this nightmare, we were happy with O/O before you came along.
Sam Mihailoff December 23, 2011 at 07:12 AM
At the core of a superintendent's being should be the ability and willingness to speak in a straightforward manner. Add to this, an absolute on the pulse of what is happening on a day-by-day basis in the schools...Easy for someone with such a “lofty” resume. No need to hire the has-been News reporter with an even snazzier resume. Quotations from the News-Times Robinson: "We're very busy" so busy that on the very first morning back at her desk after being in China for two weeks on “a business trip;” her personal presence at each school building and communication with each school administrator took a back seat to "friendly little chats" with those who post on the "social media." something she never, ever, ever reads. Robinson is an incompetent disgrace...Resign and save one of your two faces.
Dawne Kornhaas December 23, 2011 at 11:47 AM
Why do we pay for a nurse for Fraser Woods? They are a private school.
Kathy Fetchick December 23, 2011 at 12:29 PM
According to state statute 10-217a (http://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap169.htm#Sec10-217a.htm), we must provide the same level of health care services to children in private schools within our district. There is however a formula of partial reimbursement to the town from the state for these services.
Dawne Kornhaas December 23, 2011 at 12:41 PM
Thank you Kathy for clarifying.
Tom Bittman December 23, 2011 at 03:13 PM
Jenna, why are you making stuff up? There are plenty of real issues to discuss.

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