Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee 3-21-17

Amherst Regional School Committee Meeting 3-21-17

Title: 
Amherst Regional School Committee Meeting 3-21-17
Description: 

A JOINT Meeting of the AMHERST-PELHAM REGIONAL and UNION 26 School Committees
6:30 PM
TUESDAY, March 21, 2017
Library, Amherst Regional High School
AGENDA
 Welcome and Call to Order 6:30 p.m.
 Approve Minutes—March 15, 2017 6:30 p.m.
 Announcements and Public Comment 6:35 p.m.
 Collaborative for Educational Services with Dr. William Diehl 6:45 p.m.
 Interim Superintendent’s Update 7:05 p.m.
 New and Continuing Business
1) Superintendent Search Process Discussion 7:15 p.m.
ADJOURN UNION 26
2) Legal Counsel Solicitation 8:15 p.m.
i) Discuss process to identify proposal review subcommittee
3) Policies 8:40 p.m.
i) JQA: Food Services Collections—Vote
ii) New Policy: Protection of Undocumented Students—First Reading
4) Accept Gifts (if any received) 9:00 p.m.
 School Committee Planning 9:05 p.m.
 Adjourn 9:10 p.m.
Amherst-Pelham Regional and Union 26 School Committee Meeting
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Library, Amherst Regional High School
IN ATTENDANCE
Eric Nakajima, Region Michael Morris, Superintendent
Vira Douangmany-Cage, Region Sean Mangano, Finance Director
Anastasia Ordonez, Region & Union 26 Kathryn Mazur, Human Resources Director
Emily Marriott, Region Faye Brady, Student Services Director
Cara Castenson, Union 26 Rachel Bowen, Human Resources Assistant Director
Katherine Appy, Region & Union 26 Mark Jackson, ARHS Principal
Phoebe Hazzard, Region & Union 26 Tom Colomb, Esquire
Ron Mannino, Union 26 Derek Shea, Crocker Farm Principal
Trevor Baptiste, Region & Union 26 Paul Wiley, Executive Director of Leadership
ABSENT: Jo Ann Smith, Special Education Administrator
Stephen Sullivan, Region
Audra Goscenski, Region
1. Welcome and Call to Order 6:33 p.m.
Mr. Nakajima called the Regional School Committee to order and Ms. Ordonez called the Union 26 School Committee to
order at 6:33 p.m.
2. Approve Minutes—March 7, 2017; March 8, 2017 6:34 p.m.
Ms. Appy moved to approve the minutes of March 7 and March 8, 2017. Ms. Hazzard seconded and the motion was
unanimously approved with Ms. Marriott abstaining. Mr. Mannino moved to approve both sets of minutes on behalf of the
Union 26 School Committee. Mr. Baptiste seconded and the motion was unanimously approved.
3. Announcements and Public Comment 6:35 p.m.
There were no public comments. At Mr. Nakajima’s request, Ms. Appy reported on the recent high school musical and Mr.
Jackson reported on the ARHS hockey and boys’ basketball teams, which both made it to the finals.
4. Interim Superintendent’s Update 6:38 p.m.
Dr. Morris thanked the committees and Ms. Castenson, in particular, for their efforts to advocate on behalf of the schools in
opposing the expansion of the Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School. He also thanked Ms. Douangmany Cage
for her efforts in spearheading the Community Meeting that was held on Saturday in support of immigrant members of our
community. Dr. Morris also reported on several items including:
● He, Ms. Douangmany Cage, Ms. Ordonez and Mr. Mangano attended the MASS/MASC summit Poverty: It isn’t just
“someone else’s” problem anymore. Ms. Douangmany Cage and Ms. Ordonez reported on the break-out sessions they
attended. Mr. Nakajima noted that he would like to schedule a meeting at which there can be a more in-depth discussion
of what was learned at the conference and what is being done in the district.
● The Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Award recipients this year are Marcia Gomes, ARMS; Leanne Hunt, Pelham;
Naishin Kuo, Wildwood; and Trevor Takayama, Fort River.
● Nat Woodruff is in Finland as part of his sabbatical request that was approved for this year. He has started a blog and
invites the School Committee to follow his work at https://nwwfinlandfulbright.wordpress.com/. Ms. Douangmany Cage
asked if Mr. Woodruff can report back on what he is observing regarding homework, vacation days and school food in
Finland. Dr. Morris said he will send him that request.
● The first of five water filling stations, financed by the ARHS PGO, is up and running in the lobby outside the cafeteria.
● Two sixth grade students have qualified for the state Geography Bee, which will be held at Elms College on March 31.
5. New and Continuing Business 6:53 p.m.
A. Superintendent Search Discussion
DOCUMENT: Memorandum to Eric Nakajima, Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee, and Anastasia Ordonez,
Union 26 School Committee Chair; CC: Kathryn Mazur, Director of Human Resources, from Thomas W. Colomb, Esq.,
dated March 13, 2017 regarding Written Application for Superintendent of Schools Search
Mr. Nakajima distributed copies of the memo that was forwarded to School Committee members via email. Mr. Nakajima
spoke about Chapter 256 of the Acts of 2010 “An Act Reforming the Administrative Procedures Relative to Criminal
Offender Record Information and Pre- and Post-Trial Supervised Release” (CORI Reform) and the background about why it 
was signed into law by Governor Patrick. The law forbids employers from asking a job applicant about his/her criminal
record in the preliminary application process and forbids asking at any time about charges that did not result in a conviction.
Mr. Nakajima explained that Ray and Associates, the search firm contracted to help with the Superintendent search, utilized
an application in the search that does not comply with this Massachusetts law. Ms. Ordonez noted that she and Mr. Nakajima
felt it is important to bring this matter to both committees to have the full committees help determine what steps should be
taken. Mr. Nakajima noted that the district has not received any of the applications or application materials from anyone who
has applied for the position with Ray and Associates. Discussion then followed. At Mr. Nakajima’s request, Attorney
Colomb reviewed what types of questions can be asked of applicants at each stage of the application process, and Ms. Mazur
reviewed district practice in ensuring compliance with this law since it was passed in 2010. Mr. Nakajima opened the floor to
questions and discussion. Ms. Douangmany Cage noted that we are self-acknowledging that we have not been compliant in
this search and asked what the consequences would be with non-compliance. For instance, could an applicant bring a
complaint or suit against the district for including the question on the application? Mr. Baptiste said that our not being in
compliance has to do with our contracted search firm not taking the law seriously. He noted that the intent of this law is to
help ensure a diverse pool. Mr. Baptiste suggested keeping the search open for some additional time without that question on
the application if it would indemnify the district. Ms. Appy noted that she is less worried about liability than about people
who may not have applied for the position because they saw the question and chose not to apply. She expressed concern that
such potential applicants will not apply even if the process is kept open for an extended period. Ms. Appy also expressed
concern about moving forward with a search firm that found it OK to disregard Ms. Mazur’s information and use an illegal
application. Mr. Mannino asked how Ray and Associates addressed the issue that they violated the law in Massachusetts.
Mr. Nakajima noted that you can see in the memo from a month ago that they were fairly dismissive of Ms. Mazur’s
concerns. Ms. Mazur reported that she spoke to Dr. Rush to let Ray and Associates know that they should hold off on the
search until the Committee can address their serious concerns. Ms. Castenson noted that she has the same concerns as those
expressed by Ms. Appy, noting that the harm has been done if applicants chose not to apply due to the question on the
application. Mr. Nakajima stated that there is a clear obligation for the employer to follow the law, noting that we know
there are flawed materials in our possession that may have disadvantaged certain applicants and prevented them from
applying. Ms. Hazzard thanked Ms. Mazur for catching this issue on the application. She said she believes it would be
ethically very difficult to go forward with a search that did not comply with anti-discrimination laws. Ms. Appy noted that
she believes that this search is seriously flawed, used an illegal and discriminatory application, and she believes this search
has failed for those reasons. Mr. Baptiste stated that the search fails when the committee says it has failed. He said he
believes we should figure out a way to make this a search that the constituents will accept. He noted that he believes we
should see if the pool is diverse and move forward if it is. Mr. Baptiste noted that school committee members have broken the
law in the past through open meeting violations. Ms. Appy noted that there is a major difference between an unintentional
open meeting law violation and an intentional search with an MCAD violation. Mr. Nakajima noted that he does not care
about anything that happened in the past, he does not want any laws broken right now. He stated that he believes two
questions must be answered: What do we do right now about this? and How do we deal with Ray and Associates as a search
partner? Mr. Colomb noted that the reality is that the district does not know what the liability will be as a practical matter, but
the CORI question is not one that the district asks and his firm’s legal advice is always not to ask it. Mr. Colomb noted that if
it were the will of the committee to continue with the search, he would recommend that the new application be completed by
every candidate and that the committee never know the identity of the applicants who have applied to date through the
current application. Mr. Nakajima noted that the question tonight is whether to move forward with this search and, based on
that decision, the question for next week’s meeting would be how or if to move forward with Ray and Associates. Extensive
discussion followed regarding how to move forward. Mr. Nakajima asked for a motion regarding whether to discontinue the
current search. On behalf of the Regional School Committee, Ms. Appy moved to discontinue the current search for a
superintendent. Ms. Marriott seconded and discussion followed about the wording and intent of the motion with Mr. Baptiste
expressing concern that it is not clear. After discussion, Ms. Appy agreed to amend the motion to replace the word
“discontinue” with “suspend.” The motion to suspend the current search for a superintendent was then unanimously
approved. On behalf of the Union 26 School Committee, Mr. Baptiste moved to suspend the current search for a
superintendent. Ms. Castenson seconded and the motion was unanimously approved. This topic will be on the agenda at the
next meeting with the Chairs presenting options for moving forward after talking with Ray and Associates and legal counsel.
Mr. Mannino moved to adjourn Union 26 at 8:47 p.m. Ms. Appy seconded and the motion was unanimously approved. 
B. 2017-2018 School Year Calendar Vote
DOCUMENT: 2017-2018 School Year Calendar (Pre-Sept. 1 Start Draft)
Dr. Morris reported that the APEA worked with district administration to draft two calendars, the one presented and one with
a Post-September 1 start, which is required contractually. The APEA membership reviewed both and also supports the PreSeptember
1 start the committee is being asked to approve. Ms. Appy moved to approve the Pre-Labor Day start calendar for
the 2017-2018 school year. Mr. Baptiste seconded and, after brief clarifying questions, the motion was unanimously
approved.
C. Amended Regional Method of Assessment Vote
DOCUMENT: School Votes--March 15, 2017
Mr. Mangano briefly noted that the assessment method being recommended by the Assessment Working Group will be
supported at all four Town Meetings if the School Committee approves it tonight. Mr. Nakajima read the motion as follows:
To amend the Amherst Pelham Regional School District Agreement such that, notwithstanding Section VI, for Fiscal Year
2018 only, 10% of the operating budget assessment shall be allocated to each town based on proportionate shares of a five
year average of statutory minimum contributions (FY14-18), and the other 90% will be allocated to the member towns in
accordance with the per-pupil method found in the Amherst Pelham Regional School District Agreement. Since FY18
minimum contributions will not be finalized at the time of this vote, the District will use the state’s preliminary figures with
estimated corrections provided by the state. Ms. Marriott so moved, Mr. Baptiste seconded and the motion was unanimously
approved.
D, FY2018 Amherst-Pelham Regional School District Budget Vote
DOCUMENT: School Votes--March 15, 2017
Mr. Mangano distributed updated budget pages, including changes based on the assessment method which the Regional
Assessment Working Group has agreed to support. Ms. Ordonez moved to adopt a budget of $31,317,900 for Fiscal year
2018 for the Amherst Pelham Regional School District and to assess member towns according to the method in the just
approved amendment such that 10% of the operating budget assessment will be allocated to each town based on
proportionate shares of a five year average of statutory minimum contributions (FY14-18) and the other 90% to each town
according to the per-pupil method assessment method specified in the Regional as follows:
Amherst $15,502,710
Pelham $1,035,183
Leverett $1,492,715
Shutesbury $1,735,946
Total $19,766,554
Ms. Appy seconded and the motion was unanimously approved.
E. Capital Plan Vote
DOCUMENT: School Votes--March 15, 2017
Mr. Mangano noted that the vote is the required legal language to enact the capital plan as proposed. Mr. Baptiste moved
that the District hereby appropriates the sum of $155,000 for the purpose of paying costs of the following projects, including
the payment of all costs incidental or related thereto: (i) Field Improvement Study in the amount of $30,000; (ii)
Architectural Services for the Middle School Roof in the amount of $75,000; and (iii) Removal of the Middle School
underground oil storage tank in the amount of $50,000, 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 by the District 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. Appy seconded and, after brief discussion, the motion was unanimously approved.
F. Special Education Stabilization Fund Vote
DOCUMENT: School Votes--March 15, 2017
Mr. Mangano noted that this motion will be setting up the reserve fund for unanticipated special education costs, as
authorized by the State. This vote will just establish the fund, which will then go to the Town Meetings for approval. After
brief clarifying questions, Mr. Nakajima read the motion which is to move that the School Committee vote to accept the
provisions of Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 40, Section 13E, which allows the establishment of, and appropriation or
transfer of money to, a reserve fund to be utilized in the upcoming fiscal years, to pay, without further appropriation,
unanticipated or unbudgeted costs of special education, out-of-district tuition or transportation. Ms. Hazzard so moved, Ms.
Marriott seconded and the motion was unanimously approved.
G. Accept Gifts
DOCUMENT: Memo to the Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee from Jill Berry, Amherst-Pelham District
Treasurer, dated March 3, 2017
Ms. Hazzard moved to accept $500 from Jones Group Realtors for a scholarship; $500 from Florence Bank for a scholarship;
$2,000 from anonymous for the Boys’ High School Lacrosse Team; and $12,500 from Amherst Education Foundation for the
ARHS Digital Music Lab, Century Biology and SE Technology. Mr. Baptiste seconded and the motion was unanimously
approved.
6. School Committee Planning 9:28 p.m.
Dr. Diehl from the Collaborative, policies, superintendent search, and attorney selection will be on the next agenda.
7. Adjourn 9:29 p.m.
Ms. Appy moved to adjourn at 9:29 p.m. Mr. Baptiste seconded and the motion was unanimously approved.
Respectfully Submitted,
Debbie Westmoreland
AMHERST PUBLIC SCHOOLS, PELHAM ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, AND AMHERST-PELHAM
REGIONAL DISTRICT POLICY MANUAL
STUDENTS: FOOD SERVICES COLLECTIONS
1. Purpose:
The purpose of this policy is to establish consistent meal account procedures through the district. Unpaid meal
charges place a financial burden on the food service department which results in a financial strain on the
general operating budget. The goals of this policy are:
- To establish a consistent district policy regarding charges and collection of charges
- To treat all students equitably and with dignity in the serving line regarding meal accounts
- To support positive situations between district staff, students, and parent/guardians to the maximum
extent possible.
- To establish policies that are age appropriate.
- To encourage parent/guardians to assume the responsibility of meal payments and to promote selfresponsibility
of the student.
2. Scope of Responsibility:
The Food Service Department: Responsible for maintaining charge records and notifying the school district
of outstanding balances. The food service department is also responsible for notifying the student’s
parent/guardians of low or outstanding balances.
The School District: Responsible for ensuring that all students have access to a meal each and every day,
creating a line of communication between families and the food service department, and supporting the food
service department in collection activities.
The Parent/Guardian: Payment of charged meals.
3. Administration:
Free and Reduced Lunch Students
A) Free lunch status students are entitled to a free meal every day.
B) Reduced lunch status students will be allowed to have a negative account balance up to a maximum
dollar equivalent of ten (10) reduced price meals which will be known as the account cap. When the
child reaches the account cap they will only be offered a designated meal alternate. The meal alternate
will be charged to the child’s lunch account at the reduced rate. Parents/Guardians are responsible for
payment of these meals to the food service department.
All Other Students
A) Elementary school students will be allowed to have a negative account balance up to a maximum
dollar equivalent of ten (10) full price meals which will be known as the account cap. When the child
reaches the account cap they will only be offered a designated meal alternate (Ex. Cheese sandwich
with fruit and vegetable). The meal alternate will be charged to the child’s lunch account at the
regular lunch rate. Parents/Guardians are responsible for payment of these meals to the food service
department.
B) Middle School students will be allowed to have a negative account balance up to a maximum dollar
equivalent of five (5) full price meals which will be known as the account cap. When the child
reaches the account cap they will only be offered a designated meal alternate. The meal alternate will 
be charged to the child’s lunch account at the regular lunch rate. Parents/Guardians are responsible
for payment of these meals to the food service department.
C) High School students will be allowed to have a negative account balance up to a maximum dollar
equivalent of two (2) full price meals which will be known as the account cap. When the child
reaches the account cap they will only be offered a designated meal alternate. The meal alternate will
be charged to the child’s lunch account at the regular lunch rate. Parents/Guardians are responsible
for payment of these meals to the food service department.
Balances Owed
A) The food service department will send periodic notices to parent/guardians of low or outstanding
balances. The food service department should work proactively with parents/guardians to keep them
informed of their students’ balances.
B) The ARPS Family Center will be available upon request to act as a liaison between parents/guardians
and the food service department.
C) The school district will take into account individual circumstances that may affect the
parent/guardian’s ability to pay. Balances owed may be partially or entirely waived at the discretion
of the superintendent or his/her designee.
D) Charges outstanding at year end will carry forward into the next school year. Seniors must make
arrangements with the school district (food service department) to fully or partially pay outstanding
balances prior to graduation. Failure to do so may prohibit the student’s participation in graduation
exercises. This action should only be taken in extreme circumstances and only after the school district
has exhausted all other means of recouping the accrued overdue balance. The school district will
document all attempts to communicate with the parents/guardians.
Remaining Balances
A) All seniors will receive a notice in May of remaining funds in their lunch account and may elect to
transfer those funds to a sibling’s account or receive a refund. All refund requests must be submitted
to the Food Service Department and then forwarded to the Business Office for payment.
Unclaimed Funds
A) All refunds must be requested within one year of graduation. Unclaimed funds will then become the
property of the Food Service Department.
APPROVED:
Region—March 10, 2015
AMHERST PUBLIC SCHOOLS, PELHAM ELEMENTARY SCHOOL,
AND AMHERST-PELHAM REGIONAL DISTRICT POLICY MANUAL
___________________________________________________________________________
STUDENTS: PROTECTION OF UNDOCUMENTED STUDENTS
Existing District practice requires all visitors to state the reason for their visit and be cleared for
entry into a space with students. Consistent with that practice, any Immigration and Customs
Enforcement (ICE) employee, or employee of any other agency acting as immigration agents,
intending to enter any Amherst, Pelham or Amherst-Pelham Public Schools’ property must first
notify the Superintendent and the District’s General Counsel of its intention, in person, with
adequate notice and copies of a warrant signed by a judge or magistrate so the Superintendent and
General Counsel can take steps to provide for the emotional and physical safety of its students and
staff.
The Superintendent and/or General Counsel are authorized to ask for the agent’s credentials, ask
the agent why he or she is requesting access, and ask the agent what evidence of reasonable
suspicion exists via a warrant. If all of this information is not provided, the Superintendent will not
allow access of immigration agents into the school setting.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel, or employees of any other agency acting as
immigration agents, will be refused entry to District property unless the Superintendent and
District Counsel are provided with a warrant signed by a judge or magistrate authorizing the
immigration agent’s entry onto the property.
Amherst, Pelham and Amherst-Pelham Regional Public Schools staff will not refer students or
families to ICE if they inadvertently or intentionally disclose their immigration status. Pursuant to
FERPA, Amherst, Pelham and Amherst-Pelham Regional Public Schools staff shall not disclose,
without parental consent, the immigration status of any student.
If a representative of ICE, or any agency acting as immigration agents, contacts the schools or
District offices regarding any individual student(s), school personnel shall immediately contact the
student(s)’ parent/guardian and share contact information for appropriate support groups or
agencies.
SEE ALSO: JIH: Interrogations and Searches
KI: Visitors and Public Access to Students
Resource Guide: Supporting Undocumented Youth (Massachusetts Department of
Elementary and Secondary Education

Production Date: 
Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee

The Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee is responsible for the operations of the secondary schools, 7-12, which serve students from the Towns of Amherst, Pelham, Leverett and Shutesbury.

The secondary schools include Amherst Regional Middle School and Amherst Regional High School.

News

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May 10, 2018

The Regional School Committee meeting this past Tuesday was a popular one. The meeting itself was well attend and our video has been in high demand. Watch the video online and on cable on channel 15, and check out the Gazette's reporting.

Apr 17, 2018

Due to technical difficulties there was a delay in the finalizing and uploading of the video for the April 10th Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee meeting. The video is now available!