Joint Meeting of the AMHERST-PELHAM REGIONAL and Union 26 School Committees
TUESDAY, March 20, 2018
Library, Amherst Regional High School
21 Mattoon Street
Amherst, MA 01002
NOTE: This meeting is broadcast live, and taped for later broadcast, by Amherst Media.
(All times are approximate)
Call to Order 6:30 p.m.
REGION: Consider entering Executive Session in accordance with the Open Meeting Law, MGL c. 30A, Section 21(a), pursuant
to purpose 3 to conduct strategy session in preparation for negotiations with nonunion personnel (Sean Mangano) with plans to
return to open session.
UNION 26: Consider entering Executive Session in accordance with the Open Meeting Law, MGL c. 30A, Section 21(a), pursuant
to purpose 3 to conduct strategy session in preparation for negotiations with nonunion personnel (Sean Mangano) with plans to
return to open session.
Contract Vote (Sean Mangano) 6:45 p.m.
Adjourn Union 26
Approve Minutes of March 12, 2018 6:50 p.m.
Announcements and Public Comment 6:55 p.m.
Subcommittee Updates 7:05 p.m.
Superintendent’s Update 7:10 p.m.
Chair’s Report 7:20 p.m.
New and Continuing Business
1. Sabbatical Report (John Bechtold) 7:25 p.m.
2. Marijuana Dispensary Locations 7:40 p.m.
3. Warrant Review Process 7:55 p.m.
4. School Committee Protocols 8:10 p.m.
5. Superintendent Evaluation Process 8:30 p.m.
6. New Member Orientation 8:50 p.m.
7. Vocational Schools Update 9:05 p.m.
8. Accept Gifts 9:15 p.m.
School Committee Planning 9:20 p.m.
o Policy First Reading (Multiple Policies)
o Regional Advocacy
o SETF Goal 2 Discussion (Student Learning about Race, Class, and Other Equity Issues)
o Special Education Legal Counsel Discussion
Adjourn 9:30 p.m.
Amherst-Pelham Regional and Union 26 School Committee Meeting
Monday, March 12, 2018
Library, Amherst Regional High School
21 Mattoon Street
Amherst, MA 01002
Eric Nakajima, Chair (Amherst Rep/Region) Michael Morris, Superintendent
Phoebe Hazzard (Amherst Rep/Region/Union 26) Sean Mangano, Finance Director
Stephen Sullivan (Shutesbury Rep/Region) Faye Brady, Student Services Director
Ron Mannino (Pelham Rep/Region/Union 26) Mark Jackson, ARHS Principal
Anastasia Ordonez (Amherst Rep/Region/Union 26) Patty Bode, ARMS Principal
Emily Marriott (Pelham Rep/Region/Union 26) Jean Fay, APEA President
Audra Goscenski (Pelham Rep/Region) David Slovin, Summit Academy Principal
Peter Demling (Amherst Rep/Region/Union 26) Public and Press
Jack Dinsmore (Student Rep) Debbie Westmoreland, Recorder
Vira Douangmany Cage (Amherst Rep/Region)
Cara Castenson (Union 26)
1. Call to Order and Approve Minutes 6:33 p.m.
Mr. Nakajima called the Regional meeting to order at 6:33 p.m., and Ms. Ordonez called the Union 26 committee to order
at that time. Mr. Nakajima welcomed Jack Dinsmore, Student Representative, to the School Committee. He then moved to
enter Executive Session in accordance with the Open Meeting Law, MGL c. 30A, Section 21(a), pursuant to purpose 3 to
conduct strategy session in preparation for negotiations with nonunion personnel (Sean Mangano) with plans to return to
open session. Ms. Goscenski seconded and the Regional School Committee entered Executive Session at 6:35 p.m. by
unanimous roll call vote. On behalf of Union 26, Ms. Ordonez moved to enter Executive Session in accordance with the
Open Meeting Law, MGL c. 30A, Section 21(a), pursuant to purpose 3 to conduct strategy session in preparation for
negotiations with nonunion personnel (Sean Mangano) with NO plans to return to open session. Mr. Mannino seconded
and the Union 26 School Committee entered Executive Session at 6:35 p.m. by unanimous roll call vote.
The Regional School Committee returned to open session at 6:56 p.m. Ms. Marriot moved to approve the minutes of
February 13, 2018. Ms. Ordonez seconded, and the motion was unanimously approved with Ms. Goscenski abstaining.
Since public comment was listed on the agenda for 7:00 p.m., Mr. Nakajima recessed the meeting until that time.
2. Announcements and Public Comments 7:05 p.m.
At 7:05 p.m., Mr. Nakajima called the meeting back to order, reviewed the protocols for public comment and opened the
floor for public comment. Rick Martin, Franklin County Technical School Superintendent, spoke regarding the proposed
Smith Vocational School preference agreement under consideration. He spoke about the impact on the students of
Leverett and Shutesbury, who have been attending Franklin Tech for over 40 years. Dr. Martin said that neither he nor the
Business Manager have received any contact about the agreement until he reached out to the Amherst Superintendent on
his own. He requested that this initiative be tabled or revoked. Bonnie (no last name given), Amherst resident, spoke
about her son's experience, and her own, as students at Franklin County Technical School, expressing concern about what
this agreement would do to her son. She noted that she has younger children who she would like to have the opportunity
to attend Franklin County Tech. Alisha Richter, Shutesbury resident and Franklin County graduate, spoke about the support
she received at Franklin County Tech and her desire for her child to attend the school in the future. Kristen Eddy, Leverett
parent, spoke about the difficulty the distance to Smith Vocational School will pose for her children. She noted that she is
concerned because they did not know this was being considered until a couple of hours ago. Shane Jurnegan, Franklin Tech
Class of 2004, stated that going to Franklin County Tech was the best thing he ever did, noting that he does not know if he
would have graduated without the school. Steve Weller, Leverett resident, stated that he does not have children but the
opportunity for students in Leverett and Shutesbury to have a choice between technical schools is important. Patrick
Jurnegan, Franklin County Tech class of 2002, noted that the distance to Smith Vocational would not have been feasible for
him. He spoke about the benefits of his education at Franklin County Technical. Matt Boucher, Franklin Tech Class of 2007,
also spoke about the distance to Smith and the difficulty it would present for Leverett and Shutesbury students. Lynn
Wood, Leverett resident, asked that there be an opportunity for more public dialogue before a vote is taken, since there
has been no communication with families who would be impacted. Frank Lanzowski, Franklin County alum, spoke about
the impact his education at Franklin County Tech had on his life and the opportunities it afforded to him. Tina LeClair, ARHS
graduate, spoke about her three sons and nephew who attend Franklin County Technical School and the positive impact it
has had on their family. Zachary Jarednick, Franklin County Tech student, said it would not be fair to take this choice away
from students. John Carey, Franklin County Tech employee, noted that all three educational institutions—Amherst-Pelham,
Smith Vocational and Franklin County—need an opportunity to digest and talk about this potential change. He requested
that the vote be tabled until that can happen. Paul Zaradnick, Pelham resident, spoke about the positive impact Franklin
Tech had on his two sons. Lisa Williams noted that her daughter was just accepted to Franklin Tech for next year so it was
upsetting to hear about this potential vote tonight. After Mr. Nakajima closed public comment, he asked the School
Committee's permission to move the topic of the Smith Vocational School of Preference Vote up on the agenda, and they
3. Smith Vocational School of Preference
Mr. Nakajima noted that this topic was first discussed in January at the School Committee meeting. Dr. Morris provided
context about the potential agreement with Smith, noting that it came out of a budget need to cut $1.5 million, not out of
dissatisfaction with Franklin Technical School. He read an email from Mr. Mangano that went to the Franklin County
Technical Superintendent and Business Manager on February 6 apprising them of the discussion of entering a School of
Preference agreement and inviting them to attend the budget hearing on February 13, to share concerns or questions with
Dr. Morris, or to email the School Committee. Mr. Demling asked what the estimated savings will be with this agreement
and if any broader community outreach was done. Dr. Morris noted this year's savings estimate is $25,000 with an increase
to about $30,000 in future years. With regard to communication, Dr. Morris noted that information about the potential
change was shared with Franklin Tech leaders and was shared by guidance counselors with eighth grade students who
talked with them about applying to vocational school. Ms. Goscenski asked if there is a chance fewer students will be
accepted into vocational school if we are working with Smith only. Dr. Morris noted that he does not have that data, but he
can get it. At Mr. Nakajima's request, Dr. Morris reviewed the changes that have been made to the Smith Vocational School
of Preference Agreement based on the School Committee's last discussion. A clause was added that will allow the School
Committee to withdraw from the agreement at any time, with the 5% discount ending. Language was added to
review/renew in 2023. Mr. Sullivan asked if there will be any additional costs related to transporting students to Smith
Vocational. Dr. Morris noted that we have a transportation cost agreement with Hadley and there will not be any
additional costs. Ms. Ordonez noted that she still has concerns about the contract language. Mr. Demling moved to table
the School of Preference Agreement. Mr. Sullivan seconded, and discussion followed. Mr. Demling noted that he is
concerned that the reality is that the community was not aware of this potential change. Mr. Nakajima noted that he had
been surprised that there was no outcry about this potential change given the longstanding relationship with Franklin Tech.
He asked if it is possible to simply add back the $25,000 divided over the four town assessments. Dr. Morris noted it is
possible because the Regional School Committee votes a bottom line budget amount. Ms. Hazzard expressed appreciation
for the community feedback tonight. She asked what information the committee is seeking by tabling the agreement. Mr.
Demling noted he would table it to have additional time to think about the information shared by the community tonight
and to hear more about how to deal with a $25,000 addition to the budget. Ms. Ordonez agreed that she would like to
hear from the member towns about how to add the $25,000 to the budget. Ms. Goscenski noted that, as the Leverett
representative, she can state that the Leverett Finance Committee and Select Board will say no to adding to their
assessment. She noted that there has not been a great deal of support for either the elementary or Regional schools in this
budget year. Discussion followed regarding the potential to change the budget and to take a vote at a later meeting. Ms.
Goscenski noted that the Leverett warrants are due 45 days prior to the Town Meeting, which is this week. Dr. Morris
noted that it is the same for Pelham. Mr. Dinsmore said that he is happy so many people came out from Leverett, which is
where he is from. Dr. Martin, Franklin County Tech Superintendent, noted that he would not want $25,000 to be a deciding
factor and they would match it. After further discussion, the motion to table the agreement was unanimously rejected.
Ms. Goscenski then moved to reject the agreement with Smith Vocational as a preferred school. Mr. Sullivan seconded,
and the motion was unanimously approved. Mr. Nakajima called a five-minute recess at 8:32 p.m.
3. Subcommittee Updates 8:38 p.m.
The meeting was called back to order at 8:38 p.m. Ms. Hazzard reported that the Superintendent Evaluation Subcommittee
has met and would like to discuss the timeline at the next meeting. They will be sharing a document with the full
committee ahead of the meeting.
4. Superintendent's Update 8:39 p.m.
Dr. Morris noted that there will be no school tomorrow due to snow and the Amherst School Committee meeting
scheduled for tomorrow night will be moved to Wednesday, March 14. He then reported on the following:
District staff members participated in a series of Equity and Diversity training workshops on the March 10
Curriculum Day, with each selecting two of nine topics. He acknowledged the work of Doreen Cunningham and
Tim Sheehan in planning the day.
Jessica Minahan, M.Ed, BCBA, will be working with staff on Wednesday's early release day on the topic of working
with students with challenging behaviors.
Rich Eckart, ARHS math teacher, and Tiffany Thibodeau, ARMS math teacher, have been named recipients of the
Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Awards.
The ARHS Food Service Collections Policy has been named a model policy by the Massachusetts Law Reform
The ARHS musical last weekend was highly successful.
There is an opening at the Peace and Justice Summit, which will include sessions on lynching and the south, and
the teacher who applied for a sabbatical will be able to attend as requested by the School Committee.
5. New and Continuing Business 8:46 p.m.
A. School Safety
General Safety: Dr. Morris spoke about general school safety. He noted that our district has a much lower studentto-counselor
ratio than many school districts, and our schools make strong efforts to ensure that every student has at
least one adult they trust and can talk to. Dr. Morris reviewed the safety measures that have been put in place since
he began working in the district in 2001, including locked doors, security badges for staff, and regular safety drills and
walk-throughs. Dr. Morris noted that there is structural work to be done, noting an issue with the entry at ARMS that
we are working to deal with. Visitors can access the stairs to the upstairs classrooms before they get to the office.
Faculty and staff training is also necessary, including a review of ALICE training at ARHS and training of staff in
changing the nomenclature for lockdown and shelter-in-place to match what is used in most districts. The
nomenclature change will require retraining of staff through active training with the Amherst and Pelham Police
department. Dr. Morris noted that he has not received a single suggestion from the community that teachers should
be armed. Community feedback received by Dr. Morris has included questions about why we do not have a school
resource officer, as most high schools our size do. Dr. Morris and Mr. Jackson answered clarifying questions for the
committee regarding safety measures in the schools. Ms. Ordonez noted that we need to have a conversation in the
near future about how to address the entryway issue at the middle school. She also spoke about the importance of
thinking through, as a committee, ways to reinforce the social justice programs at the schools to help ensure the
safety net necessary to help prevent tragedies in the future. Dr. Morris noted that the Amherst Police Department has
recommended that the district invest in a full safety check of all of the schools by a safety firm, which would have a
budgetary impact. Mr. Nakajima asked Dr. Morris to consider whether there should be a broader conversation
between the committee and the community around the issue of school safety. Dr. Morris noted that he has been in
communication with Northampton Superintendent Provost regarding the potential to have a professional facilitator
facilitate a community conversation for both of our communities.
School Walk-Out: Dr. Morris reported that both Ms. Bode and Mr. Jackson heard from students over the February
break regarding student advocacy after the Parkland tragedy. He recognized both for working with students to
support their desire to participate in advocacy on the issue of school safety, noting that the most important goal is
supporting students whether they plan to participate in the national school walk out on March 14 or choose to stay in
school. Dr. Morris reviewed the plans for the walk-out at both ARMS and ARHS. He shared that having clarity for the
event is the most important factor. Ms. Ordonez stated that she thinks the students' advocacy is awesome and is a
pure expression of wanting to take this moment and make a difference. Mr. Nakajima agreed, noting that it is almost
unimaginable what students deal with in the current climate. He expressed appreciation to the school administrators
for supporting students in organizing and acting. Mr. Nakajima opened the floor for public comments, but there were
Supporting Companies that Work with the NRA: Discussion of this item was tabled because the member who
requested it is not in attendance.
B. FY19 Budget Vote
Mr. Mangano reviewed the votes that are needed tonight, as well as the changes that will be needed to the overall
budget amount and the assessments without the Smith Vocational School of Preference agreement. After his review,
the following votes were taken:
Assessment Method (Majority Vote)
Ms. Hazzard moved to amend Section VI of the Amherst Pelham Regional School District Agreement by adding subsection i)
as follows: For Fiscal Year 2019 only, the alternative operating budget assessment shall be calculated as 20% of the
minimum contribution with the remainder of the assessment allocated to the member towns in accordance with the perpupil
method found in Section VI e) of the Amherst Pelham Regional School District Agreement. Ms. Goscenski seconded,
and, after committee comments, the motion was unanimously approved.
Budget (Majority Vote)
There was discussion about whether it is best to add the $25,000 to the budget or to vote it based on the guidance from the
towns. Dr. Morris noted that he is concerned that adding the funds without the opportunity to speak to the town officials
about going over their guidance can have long-term impacts on future budgets. Discussion followed regarding procedural
steps for requesting additional funds on the floor of Town Meeting and whether it is a feasible option. Ms. Goscenski
noted that it would be very challenging to go back to Leverett with a request for additional funds, even if it is a small
amount. After further discussion through which there was agreement to vote a budget based on town guidance, Ms.
Goscenski moved to adopt a budget of $31,815,351 for Fiscal year 2019 for the Amherst Pelham Regional School District
and to assess member towns according to the method in the just approved amendment as follows:
FURTHER VOTED: That included within this budget proposal is a contribution of $98,000 to the Special Education
Stabilization Fund. Mr. Demling seconded, and the motion was unanimously approved.
Debt Assessment (Majority Vote)
Mr. Mangano noted that this debt assessment has been presented to the towns and is for projects that have already been
completed. Ms. Hazzard moved to assess member towns for debt service on previously approved projects according to the
debt schedule for FY19 as follows:
Ms. Marriott seconded, and the motion was unanimously approved.
Capital Plan Bond Authorization (Majority Vote)
Mr. Demling moved that the District hereby appropriates the sum of $322,000 for the purpose of paying costs of the following
projects, including the payment of all costs incidental or related thereto: (i) Building Use Study in the amount of $90,000; (ii)
Roof Repairs for the Middle School in the amount of $20,000; (iii) Replacement of the Middle School Boiler in the amount of
$115,000 and (iv) Summit Academy Relocation renovation costs in the amount of $97,000, said sum to be expended at the
direction of the Regional School District School Committee. To meet this appropriation, the District Treasurer is authorized
to borrow said amount, under and pursuant to Chapter 71, Section 16(d), of the General Laws and the District Agreement, as
amended, or pursuant to any other enabling authority. The amounts indicated above for each project are estimates and the
Director of Finance may allocate more funds to any one or more of such projects, and less to others, so long as, in the
judgment of the Director of Finance, each of the projects described above can be completed within the total appropriation
made by this vote. Any premium received upon the sale of any bonds or notes approved by this vote, less any such premium
applied to the payment of the costs of issuance of such bonds or notes, may be applied to the payment of costs approved by
this vote in accordance with Chapter 44, Section 20 of the General Laws, thereby reducing the amount authorized to be
borrowed to pay such costs by a like amount.
FURTHER VOTED: That within forty-eight hours from the date on which this vote is adopted the Secretary be and hereby is
instructed to notify the Board of Selectmen of each of the member towns of this District in writing as to the amount and
general purposes of the debt herein authorized, as required by Chapter 71, Section 16(d), of the General Laws, and by the
District Agreement. In addition, the Committee shall cause the same information to be published within 10 days after such
authorization as a paid notice in a newspaper circulating in the District.
Ms. Marriott seconded, and the motion was unanimously approved.
C. Fees Vote
Mr. Mangano distributed and briefly reviewed the small athletic fee increases proposed for FY19. They are tiered in a
way to allow all interested students to play a sport. Ms. Ordonez moved to approve the fiscal year 2019 fee schedule
(attached) as presented. Ms. Marriott seconded, and the motion was unanimously approved.
D. School Choice Vote
Ms. Hazzard moved that the Amherst-Pelham Regional School District remain a choice district in the 2018-2019 school
year. Ms. Marriott seconded, and the motion was unanimously approved.
E. PVCICS Expansion Appeal Letter Vote
Mr. Demling very briefly reviewed the changes to the letter since it was sent to the Commissioner of Education. He
noted that this letter is to advocate that the Board of Education support the Commissioner's decision not to approve
the PVCICS expansion request. Ms. Goscenski moved to approve the letter as presented. Ms. Ordonez seconded, and
the motion was unanimously approved.
F. School Committee Protocols
This item was tabled until the March 20th meeting due to the lateness of the hour.
G. Accept Gifts
Ms. Goscenski moved to accept $20,000 from Arthur and Barbara Elkins for the Barbara Elkins scholarship and $250
from the Wildwood PGO for a high school scholarship for a Wildwood alumnus. Ms. Marriott seconded, and the
motion was unanimously approved.
6. School Committee Planning 10:48 p.m.
The draft agenda for March 20, with School Committee Protocols added, will be sent to the full committee.
7. Adjourn 10:49 p.m.
Ms. Goscenski moved to adjourn at 10:49 p.m. Ms. Marriott seconded and the motion was unanimously approved.
1. Regional School Committee Minutes of February 13, 2018
2. Superintendent's Update to the Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee dated March 12, 2018
3. Motion Language for Assessment Method, Debt Assessment, and Capital Plan Bond Authorization
4. School of Preference Agreement between Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School and the Amherst-Pelham
Regional School District
5. Letter to the ARPS Community from Superintendent Morris dated March 6, 2018
6. Letter to ARHS Parents and Guardians from Principal Jackson dated March 7, 2018
7. Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee Protocols Draft
8. Letter to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education from the Regional School
Committee dated March 7, 2018
9. FY2018 Fee Review and Proposed Changes for FY2019
10. Memo to the Regional School Committee from Jill Berry, Amherst-Pelham Regional School District Treasurer, dated
March 7, 2018
I hereby certify this to be a true record of the Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee Meeting of March 12, 2018.
Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee and District Secretary
Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee
Who We Represent
We represent the needs and interests of all students in the district and place their interests
above all others in the decisions we make.
How We Govern
We will establish a vision, create policies, and assure accountability to sustain continuous
improvement in teaching and learning, and monitor progress on the indicators of success.
We will operate transparently and respectfully, maintain confidentiality, and respect the Open
We will not evaluate school employees publicly inside or outside of meetings as it may violate
terms of their contract.
We recognize the importance of working collaboratively with town officials to improve our
schools and we will actively seek ways to enlist their support for our efforts.
Once the School Committee has taken action or made a decision, Committee members will
support the official position of the School Committee.
We will follow and respect the chain of command and direct others to do the same. We will
refer constituent complaints and concerns to the appropriate individual within the district chain
of command and refer personnel complaints and concerns to the Superintendent. The
Superintendent, not any School Committee member, has the authority to investigate. The
Superintendent shall provide Committee members with his/her response. It is not the role of
the School Committee to resolve issues.
How We Communicate
It is our responsibility to set the tone for the entire school system, and we will make every
effort to promote a positive image for our school system, one another, and the School
Committee as a body.
We shall advocate for the public schools and public education as ambassadors of the school
system by promoting support for public education and spreading the news of our success.
The Superintendent and the School Committee recognize the importance of proactive
communication and agree that there will be no significant surprises. If School Committee
members have questions or concerns, they agree to contact the Superintendent well in
advance of a meeting.
In order to promote consistency of communication, only the School Committee chair and/or
his/her designee shall have the authority to speak for the School Committee to other public
bodies, the media, or individuals who reach out to the body as a whole. Individual members
may express their views and opinions to the media and community but should state them as
Committee members who know they will be absent from or late to meetings will notify the
Committee chair and the Superintendent and will take the initiative to find out what
they may have missed.
We will contact the chair prior to a meeting if we have concerns or questions about the agenda.
We shall provide full disclosure of information and not withhold information from other
We will exercise discretion and good judgment in maintaining a website, social media page, or
How We Treat Each Other
We will work to build trust between and among School Committee members and the
Superintendent by treating everyone with dignity and respect, even in times of disagreement.
Criticism of things is okay; criticism of people is not okay.
We will exhibit professional conduct and behavior.
Role of the Chair
The chair is the servant of the School Committee, not the master. As such, the chair must
represent both School Committee members and citizens, present or absent, to ensure that the
meetings are fair and that all members are treated equally and fairly. Other than presiding over
meetings and the duties inherent in that role, the chair takes their authority from the
membership. The chair recognizes that the agenda is the property of the membership, not the
chair or the Superintendent.
How We Conduct Meetings
We acknowledge that a School Committee meeting is a business meeting of the School
Committee that is held in public – not a public meeting. As such, the public is encouraged to
attend and to make use of the public comment period, but the Committee will not engage in
dialogue with the public.
We shall strive to make each meeting effective and efficient, giving each member an equal
opportunity to express their views and opinions and to relay their input in a concise and topicfocused
manner. No one member should monopolize the discussion.
We shall conduct business through a set agenda that is tied to district goals. Emerging items
shall be addressed in subsequent meetings through planned agenda items unless it is
determined by the School Committee chairperson that it would be detrimental to delay the
issue until a subsequent meeting. Requests to add items to an agenda shall be made to the
Superintendent or the School Committee presiding officer in accordance with the law.
We will speak to the issues on the agenda, not engage in inappropriate debate. Facts and
information needed from the administration will be referred to the Superintendent.
We agree to prepare for discussions in advance and review the materials distributed prior to a
We will make all reasonable effort to attend all Committee meetings, Committee assignments,
sub-committee meetings, hearings, and work sessions.
We will not put the Superintendent or other Committee members in a position to discuss items
or make recommendations in the absence of appropriate information and preparation.
We will speak only when acknowledged by chair; not engage in side conversations.
We will encourage critical thinking and thoughtful debate.
We will listen actively and keep an open mind.
We will maintain a positive attitude.
We will follow Roberts Rules of Order.
How We Improve
We shall develop and maintain a district new member orientation program.
All new School Committee members will attend a MASC orientation session.
We will devote time to periodic evaluation of the accomplishments and potential for
improvement of the Committee.
We will review of the operating norms of the Committee annually (through the Policy
Subcommittee as appropriate).
July August September October November December January February March April May June New Amherst Charter - new members Current Amherst Calendar - new members Budget Vote Leverett Town Meeting Shutesbury Elections Pelham Elections
Meeting of the Superintendent Evaluation Subcommittee
February 20, 2018
Jones Library, 43 Amity St., Amherst MA
The meeting was called to order at 4:15 p.m.
There was no public comment.
Discussion of calendar of town meetings/elections and how to best schedule the Superintendent
Pelham Town Meeting - 2nd Saturday in May
Shutesbury Town Meeting - 1st Saturday May, new SC come on 9 days later
Leverett Town Meeting - Last Saturday of April
Amherst elections - end of March
If Amherst Charter passes - elections November, new members on early January
Based on these calendar considerations, the subcommittee drafted the following options:
Option 1 (current Amherst calendar):
Public evaluation and vote occurs middle of March
Evaluation survey goes out three weeks prior, allowing two weeks for completions, one week for
Superintendent must present evaluation materials mid February
Goal-setting in May/June
Given the differing town calendars, this allows longest time for all members to sit on the
committee before completing the evaluation
Very early for evaluation, conflicts with budget calendar, may be untenable for
Superintendent and committee
Option 2 (current Amherst calendar):
Public evaluation and vote Mid-April
Superintendent presents evaluation materials mid-March
Goal-setting/vote in May/June
-Small town’s regional reps will be on for evaluation
-Mid-April is a reasonable time frame for evaluation, allowing goal-setting to follow in the
next couple of months
-Amherst elections occur prior to evaluation. 1-2 Amherst members may be new at time
Possible idea: Could members have the optional opportunity to complete mid-cycle eval
that could be considered part of summative? Discussion of why this may be problematic for
committee members and supt.
Option 3 (current Amherst calendar - most similar to what we do now):
Public evaluation/vote end of May
Superintendent presents evaluation materials early may
Goals setting/vote end of May/June
-Most in-line with school year calendar
-Worst-case scenario: If small town Committees reorganize and Amherst has two new
members, only standing evaluators for Region could be three Amherst members
Options if Amherst Charter Passes:
-Evaluation/vote in mid-April (similar to Option 1)
-4 months for new Amherst members, all small town reps are still on
-Option 4 - Evaluation/vote in June
-New Amherst members on for 6 months, potentially small towns have no contributors
-Option 5 - Evaluation/vote in October, goal-setting in January right when new Amherst
members come on
-Allows 10 months for Amherst members to be on, 5 months for small-town members to
be on (two of which are summer)
Recommendation for this year:
For this year, all current members are eligible to participate in the Superintendent evaluation.
We want to make it clear to the new members that they are not obligated to complete the
evaluation. School Committee members can only evaluate based on what they have
experienced during their tenure as a Committee member (which includes artifacts presented by
the Superintendent), therefore what members may have observed or experienced prior to
coming on the board cannot be part of the evaluation. Given this, new members may not feel
they have sufficient knowledge or context to complete the evaluation. However, if they feel that
they are adequately informed, they may choose to do so. New members should be aware that it
has not been unusual for new board members to abstain from the process. All Committee
members will have the opportunity to comment and vote on the composite evaluation in public.
Proposed timeline (check contract for required completion date of evaluation):
Superintendent presents artifacts in May (after new members from small towns are sitting)
Two weeks for completing survey
one week for chairs to compile results into composite evaluations
Public evaluation/vote last meeting in June
Recommend same process as last year re: survey - Debbie provides pdf records for all
-Generally, all of these timelines are problematic in some way
-It would be really great if there was a way for towns to align when new members come on
-Would there be any way to have the small towns have a “lame-duck” session for members that
would allow them to stay on through the end of May, even if new members were voted in at
town meetings in April? If under the new charter Amherst members can have a lame duck
session, why can’t the smaller towns as well?
-Any long-term policy should require members sit on the Committee for a minimum of four
months before completing the evaluation
-Ideally, goals should be voted in June, allowing the Superintendent to work on them over the
-The meeting with the public evaluation/vote could include feedback towards next year’s goals.
At the following meeting, the Superintendent could present the goals, with the goals being voted
at the meeting that followed.
These proposals will be brought before the Committee at the March 7th meeting. However, the
subcommittee agreed that, apart from this year’s scenario, it doesn’t make sense to discuss the
options until we know whether or not the charter passes.
Adjourned 5:31 p.m.