MANCHESTER SCHOOL DISTRICT

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					                     MANCHESTER SCHOOL DISTRICT
                  BOARD OF SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEETING
                             November 22, 2010



       The Board of School Committee met on Monday, November 22, 2010, at 7:00p.m.
at City Hall in Manchester. Present were Mayor Gatsas, Vice Chair Gelinas, and
Committee Members Ambrogi, Briggs, DeBlasi, Herbert, Vaughn, Katsiantonis,
Beaudry, Avard, Dolman, Beauchamp, Kelley, and Langton. Present from
Administration were Supt. Brennan; Asst. Supt. Burkush; Asst. Supt. Tursi; and Business
Administrator, Ms. DeFrancis.
       Mayor Gatsas presided and called the meeting to order. The Pledge of Allegiance
was led by members of Cub Scout Pack #290 from St. Pius X Church including Noah
Paul, Aidan Clougherty, Anthony St. Germain, and Suvashish Acharya, 4th and 5th grades
at Green Acres School; Ethan Colby, a 4th grade student at Hallsville School; Noah
McCormack, a 4th grade student at Weston School; and Colin Algozzine, a 4th grade
student at Auburn Village School; and Thomas Algozzine, the den leader. A moment of
silence followed.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING
    Comm. Langton made a motion to approve the minutes of the previous meeting.
Comm. DeBlasi seconded the motion. The motion passed by unanimous vote.

RECOGNITION/PRESENTATION
Celebrating Leadership in Education
       Mayor Gatsas read a proclamation acknowledging Stephanie Wheeler, a teacher at
Henry Wilson Elementary School, as the 2010 NH Recipient of the Presidential Award
for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Congratulations were extended to
Ms. Wheeler. Ms. Wheeler thanked the Mayor and the School Board for honoring her.
She said she is honored also to work with a wonderful group of teachers at Wilson School
and she noted that part of her success belongs to her fellow teachers who work together
for the students of the school.

      Mayor Gatsas called Ms. Paula Cronin forward. Ms. Cronin is a special ed teacher
at McDonough School. Last week he attended a Thanksgiving feast put on by Ms.
Cronin and the special ed students at McDonough School along with a lot of helpers.
Mayor Gatsas said he was impressed with what a feast it was! This has been a yearly
event for Ms. Cronin and her students. She has been a special ed teacher for 35 years.
Mayor Gatsas read a resolution acknowledging Ms. Cronin and he presented her with a
gift.

YMCA Dropout Prevention Programs Update
      Mayor Gatsas said he recently attended a program on drop-out prevention with
Supt. Brennan. At the meeting, statistics were shared regarding the number of drop-out
students in the District and how the number is continuing to go down. Students are
continuing with their education and getting not only GEDs but many are getting diplomas
from their respective high schools. He is looking forward to next year seeing those
students receiving their diplomas with the graduating classes from the high schools at the
ceremonies held at the Verizon Center.
      Mr. Richard Pease, the Chairman of the Board of the Trustees of the YMCA of
Greater Manchester, and Mr. Hal Jordan, the CEO of the YMCA of Greater Manchester,
were present at the meeting to provide an update on the outstanding partnership the
YMCA has with the Manchester School District. Working together they are able to
provide the critical support to middle and high school students who are at risk of
dropping out of school. He thanked the School Board and Administration for the
excellent working relationship that has developed with the YMCA to help the students of
the District. It is a powerful commitment that has been made for the youth of the
community.
      Mr. Pease said the YMCA Youth Opportunities Unlimited Program are
comprehensive, prudent, results-driven programs that prevent school drop-outs and
promote school success for students in grades K through 12. The Program has 3


November 22, 2010                           1
components. Recently the terminology of the programs has been changed so they are a
bit more appropriate for the services they provide. The first program is YSTART, an
after-school educational program at Beech Street School and Henry Wilson School.
YSTAY is an in-school drop-out prevention program that is held in all 4 of the District’s
middle schools. And YSTRIVE is the program formerly known as TAP, is a program
that is offered at the YMCA for students who have been suspended or expelled. Last year
over 200 students were referred to this program.
        Mr. Jordan said a lot of people ask why the YMCA provides alternative education
programs in the middle schools in Manchester and why does the YMCA provide services
in its building for students that have been expelled or suspended. The questions are why
are we doing this and who is responsible? He said his board of directors ask him, their
fundraisers ask him, and they say that is the School District’s responsibility and they
should be providing services in the schools and taking care of the students that are
expelled and suspended. He said “I want to set the record straight this evening to let you
know that when it comes to youth why and who are not the questions. What is the
question. What do they need to succeed, what do they need to achieve a higher place in
life, and what can we do as the YMCA and as the School District to make a difference in
these children’s lives. Those are the critical questions.
        The STAY alternative program has been in existence in the District for 23 years.
Each year a couple hundred thousand dollars needs to be raised to provide this program.
The program serves 60 students each year. They get 150 referrals from the School
District of children that are at risk of dropping out who are in trouble and having
behavioral problems and who are failing all of their classes. They are truant most of the
time and they are in big trouble. This program, along with the STRIVE Program, are
based on some basic principles that you have to start early to address these at-risk youth.
That is one reason why up to 135 students at Beech and Wilson Schools meet every day
after school to get tutored, mentored, and involved in daily exercise and healthy nutrition.
By catching the students at this age this is when the biggest impact will be made. Mr.
Jordan said “it’s the best investment we can make as a community because once they get
to high school oftentimes it is too late.” The STAY Program is meant to catch kids
before they fall. These kids are truant and chronically failing all of their classes. There is
a STAY teacher in each of the middle schools. Each day they meet the students and they
track the students throughout the day and then meet once again with them in the
afternoon. They get the students organized and they provide tutoring and mentorship as
well as resiliency training for the students so they can have a confidence in achieving
success in school. This is a critically important program. Mr. Jordan said 100% of the
students referred to STAY have academic, attendance, or social issues in school and
without this program most of them are not going to make it. Right now in its 23rd they
keep a 1-5 ratio of staff to students. It is a full-year relationship in grades 7 and 8 so the
students are in the program for 2 years. He said they are looking at the possibility of
starting a 6th grade program in the future for that difficult transition year.
        The STRIVE Program for suspended and expelled students served 195 children last
year. This year they have had more students than ever before. They are packed full with
the maximum number of 15 kids that either have been suspended or expelled. Some have
been expelled for up to a full year. It is a program that runs 9:30a.m. to 1:30p.m. each
school day because they are transported after the school children have been brought to
school or have been picked up from school. The program works with the students on
academics, life skills, and conflict resolution. It is a very powerful program.
        In 2009-2010, 82% of those students had an improved attendance from the
previous school year, 78% improved their GPA from the prior school year, and 79%
reduced their internal suspensions and 86% reduced their external suspensions. For this
population these statistics are pretty powerful. Mr. Jordan urged the School Board
members when they receive an invitation to come to the graduation they have each year
to please go as they will be very impressed by the kids. Some kids may have had a 1.5
GPA who then make the honor roll. He said 93% of the youth that participate in the
STRIVE Program return to their school early. That is petitioned through the School
Board. He said 95% of the participating youth who are given assignments complete their
work. The teacher that is provided in the program by the School District gets the
homework and works with the children so when they go back to school they stay on
grade level and they can successfully transition back in. Eighty-three percent of the
students attend the program for at least 4 days. They learn to identify the Y’s core values



November 22, 2010                             2
of honesty, caring, respect, and responsibility. And 77% of the students report they have
learned new ways to deal with anger and conflict resolution.
        Mr. Jordan said “we all know the national, State, and City budgets are in their most
challenging time. We run these programs with about 80% of the funding coming from
the YMCA; 43% of what is needed comes from our partners and from grants and
corporations. There is 14% that comes directly from YMCA fundraising and 18% of the
funding comes from the School District with $24,000 for the STAY Program and
$20,000 for the STRIVE Program. The District provides the teacher in the STRIVE
Program.” He said there has been a 25% gap of about $65,000 that remains un-funded at
this point in this school year. The YMCA’s Board had many discussions this year that
there wasn’t the funding to continue these programs. There was a huge debate whether
they would need to cease services. At the end of the day, the Board stepped up and said
they were not going to stop these programs so they have taken the challenge to raise an
additional $62,000 in some way for this year. Personal gifts from Board members have
totaled $27,000 to fund these programs for this year. This is an amazing commitment.
Leslee Stewart of the Development Office is committed to raising the rest through grants.
        Mr. Jordan said next year it is already known there is another $65,000 of funding
that the Y will not be eligible for and will not get, so the gap next year becomes $125,000
to keep these programs going. This is a huge challenge. The Y has self-funded these
programs to the greatest extent possible and they hope that the School District will work
in collaboration to see if this gap can be closed in order to keep these critical services
moving forward next year. He said “there are lots of reasons why we could just give up
and cancel the programs. That’s easy. But I hope we can work together to find creative
ways to collaborate and to join forces and to find student teachers, interns, anything we
can do to try to manage this gap to keep the STAY, STRIVE, and YOU Programs alive
next year. I ask your support in that endeavor as we move forward. We’re a year out
now. We’re going to make it through this fiscal year but as of June 1 we’re going to face
this bigger challenge as we move forward so I hope you join me in supporting these
programs as we move forward.”
        Comm. Beaudry asked for the fundraising for each dollar that is raised how much
goes to administrative costs. Mr. Jordan said it is about 12%. Comm. Beaudry said the
reason why he asks the question is because there was an article in the Union Leader a few
months ago about non-profits and how much the CEOs and the administration makes in
these non-profits. It really blew his mind. He would like to know as far as the YMCA
how much of every dollar actually gets to services for the child. Mr. Jordan said it is
about 88%. Most of the money they get is directly designated to these programs and it
does not go to any corporate overhead or salaries or operating costs. All of the expenses
they have to run the Y, such as heat and lights etc, none of that is charged. These
programs are peeled away from the Y’s budget. Any grant that goes directly to this goes
directly to the program. These programs have dedicated, earmarked funds just for the
programs through grants and fundraising. The overhead is not charged to these programs
as is done with the rest of the Y’s programs and operations. He said he would be happy
to send the financial reports to back that up if the Board would like to see those. Comm.
Beaudry said he would like to receive that information.
        Comm. Herbert asked if during the budget process the Board could get hard
numbers as to what exactly is being asked of the District in terms of filling this hole that
is expected in the next budget cycle. He said “I’m in favor of finding funds some way.
You’ve always been very creative and I want to make sure that you get it and we address
it as a Board, up or down.” Mayor Gatsas said “I think you will see that the CIP budget
process begins the first week in December. All agencies are filling out their applications.
I know that is a City process and not a School Board process. I know there have been
some funds that came from the School District and some funding came from the City
side. I think we also met a $17,000 shortfall that we were told about after the budget
went out. We found a way to take care of that shortfall in the YOU Program on the City
side.” He said “if you have not visited Beech Street School or Wilson School I invite all
of you to go down to the YOU Program to see it because it is incredible. There are 135
kids that participate and they do incredible things. I don’t know what those children
would be doing if they didn’t have that program. They are students without a lot of
alternatives in life and this is a big one for them. It is important to them and I think we
need to do everything we can do to make sure it continues.”
        Mr. Jordan said “we get $44,000 of direct funding from the School District
funding. In order to close that gap of about $130,000 we have we are hoping that the


November 22, 2010                            3
District can come up with another $50,000. We would fundraise the rest. We would put
that in writing at the appropriate time. I know it’s a lot of money to ask for but if we
don’t get some other funders we’re potentially going to have to drop the programs. I
know the challenge you have and I respect the work that you do very much but that
would be more what we are looking for although it is hard to say.”
       Comm. Briggs said “looking at the numbers here, if you add up all of those as the
total budget and the total number of kids served, which I believe is 173, that is $1,433 per
child, if that is correct. How long is a session? You indicate here the total number of
youth served as 173 over the course of the year. How long is the term? How long are
they there for?” Mr. Jordan said “we have 2 programs; the STAY Program and the
STRIVE Program.” Comm. Briggs said he was interested in the STRIVE Program. He
asked “is this number for both?” Mr. Jordan said the STRIVE Program is for suspended
and expelled students and they can be with us for as short a time as a day or two up to an
entire year. It varies depending on the circumstances. With the STAY Program we are
there for the entire school day. We start when the kids start and end when the day ends
and often times they participate in after-school activities as well. Many of the STAY
students are in a 2-year involvement. This program is in the 4 middle schools and it is
every day. Comm. Briggs asked “once they begin attending the program how many
days….?” Mr. Jordan said “with STAY it is a full year and with STRIVE it would
depend on the length of the suspension. A child could be suspended for 3 days or they
could be suspended for a week or two or they could be expelled for the full year. It varies
depending on the circumstances at the school and how long the suspension is.” Comm.
Briggs said “I’m trying to understand. It’s a great program and I hear wonderful things
about it. I’m trying to understand how these numbers came about. I don’t recall
expelling this many people.” Supt. Brennan said “there can be some suspensions that
extend beyond the 10-20 day period. That would be at the discretion of the
Superintendent without having to go before the Student Conduct Committee. You’re
seeing a mixture. It’s an ongoing thing from the first day that school opens until school
closes so you can see that variance. Not all of the consequences for that type of behavior
ends up in front of the Student Conduct Committee.” Comm. Briggs said “these numbers
are so significantly greater than what we see so that is what brought my question.”
       Mayor Gatsas thanked Mr. Pease and Mr. Jordan for their presentation.

       Comm. Avard said he recently had the pleasure of attending the show just
performed by the West High Theatre Knights directed by Mr. Tim Benner. They put on
All My Sons by Arthur Miller. It was phenomenal. He extended congratulations on the
beginning of another fine season. This is a group to be very proud of as they are one of
the leading high school theatre groups in the Country. He urged people to go to the
group’s spring show.

PUBLIC FORUM
       Melanie Martel, a resident of 168 Poplar Street, came forward. She noticed the
bullying policy is on the Board’s agenda. She is grateful for the Board’s deliberation of
this policy and she is grateful for the opportunity for input. She would bring forward 3
things for consideration as the Board looks at the new language of the anti-bullying
policy. She is hoping there is language in the policy to address the repeated misuse of the
policy. It is possible that repeated allegations of bullying ironically can become bullying
themselves. That should be very clearly specified. Secondly, she is glad to see there is
language in the draft of the policy that addresses consequences for false accusations of
bullying. She hopes that language is kept in the policy. The third item she would like the
Board to consider, and really reconsider, is the definition of the bully and the victim. The
bully is not always a muscle-bound student and the victim is not always a student. It is
unimaginable to her to have to have to even make recommendations for these provisions
but it’s true that a bully can be a parent and the victim of bullying can be a teacher or a
coach or a conductor or a principal. She is hoping the Board inserts language to address
those 3 items so our students really will be protected from bullying.

       Daniel Gagnon came forward. He said he has a son and a daughter on Central
High School’s cross-country and track teams. He is here tonight because of a response he
received to a complaint he filed on September 28. He said the Board has received copies
of this. He is disappointed with how the entire situation was handled from the immediate
escalation to the Superintendent to the appearance of procedures not being followed to a


November 22, 2010                            4
lack of communication during the entire process. What disappoints him the most is the
mis-representation of the solutions that were allegedly put in place as a resolution. He
said “whether you agree with the severity of my complaint or not, you have to agree that
the actions violate the Student Code of Conduct. Incidentally, those actions continued
right up until the last meet held in Thetford, VT just over a week ago. Violations to the
Athletic Code of Conduct should carry some consequence, otherwise, why even have
one.” In closing he would quote from his letter of complaint of September 28 “it is not
my wish to merely land anyone in trouble, I only desire that all team members be
required to demonstrate respect for their teammates, coach, and school.”

       Chris Conrad, a resident of Currier Drive, came forward. He has a daughter on
Central’s cross-country team and a daughter at Hillside. It is fair to say that the group of
folks that have supported Coach Kelly through this situation do not feel that the process
has really come to a close. They feel there are several loose ends and things that are
concerning them. They would like to have a continued dialog with the Board about them.
They do think this is not the appropriate place to have those conversations and they as a
group are asking respectfully that the Board would consider giving them an opportunity
to speak candidly in a non-public session during its next meeting. He thinks it would be
fair to have these conversations off line. As said, he has a daughter at Hillside. She is a
new student there this year as she transferred in from another jr. high outside of the
Manchester School District. He said he has had the pleasure of running into Principal
McCafferty a few times with some very reasonable issues. As the Board knows, there
were some changes made with the algebra program at the school. He said “I cannot tell
you what a big fan we have become of Mr. McCafferty and the job he is doing at
Hillside. I understand a lot of people come here and always have complaints but I think
you should hear the good things too. My daughter absolutely loves it there and she is
having an incredible year. She really enjoys going to school there and we are hearing
good things from everyone who has children at Hillside.”

      Vice Chair Gelinas made a motion to take all comments under advisement and
to receive and file any written documentation. Comm. Kelley seconded the motion.
The motion passed by unanimous vote.

SUPERINTENDENT’S REPORT
        Supt. Brennan said he went to Thetford, VT on November 13 to watch the New
England Cross-Country Championship. Central’s boys and girls teams participated as
both were identified as State champions in cross country. He is very proud to say that
Central High School’s boys’ team became the New England Cross-Country Champions.
        On November 16 he served on a panel at the Red River Theatre at a viewing of the
film, Waiting for Superman, a documentary dealing with the state of public education in
our Country at this time. It was a very interesting and provocative conversation. He is
working to bring the film here for the people of Manchester to have the opportunity to see
it. It is quite a story and it is very accurate.
        November 18 was the first Monarch School Day Event with approximately 1,500
students from across the State with just over 200 students from the Manchester School
District participating. It was an exciting event.
        On November 23 there will be a celebration of accomplishment at West High
School regarding recent accomplishments by students of the school including the a
capella festival winners, the Turkey Trot winners, all-State jazz, scholars of the month,
and the canned food drive. There are many things to be proud of within that school. He
encourages any Board member available to attend that celebration beginning at 8:30a.m.
        Supt. Brennan said he is asking the Board to consider a variation from the norm
relative to a request to approve a field trip. He knows this is typically not something the
Board wants to receive at a meeting without any fore-knowledge; however, this is a time-
sensitive issue. On Friday he received a request that the Manchester Central High School
Music Department participate in the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor in
December of 2011. He had copies of the proposal for the field trip that he distributed to
the Board. He asked that Mr. Ed Sterling, the band director at Central High School, come
forward to speak about the request and to respond to questions.
        Vice Chair Gelinas made a motion to allow Mr. Sterling to come forward to
speak about the proposed field trip. Comm. Kelley seconded the motion. The
motion passed by unanimous vote.


November 22, 2010                            5
       Mr. Sterling came forward. He thanked the Board for their indulgence. Several
years ago when researching for a Memorial Day assembly at Central High School he
came across some interesting information. The attack of Pearl Harbor on December 7,
1941, was well represented by Central High School. That day 4 Central High students
were there. Three died; one at Hickham Field, one on the USS Utah, and one on the USS
Arizona. It was strikingly unusual that a high school so far away in such a small state
would be so well represented. Mr. Sterling said a few months later a special program was
held at assembly day at Central honoring those men. Early this year he received an
invitation for the 70th anniversary of the attack. Looking into it he found there was no
one that would be representing the State of NH and he thought who better to represent the
State of NH then the one school that gave so much on that one day. And he thought what
better students to participate? Central’s students have marched in Memorial Day parades,
Veterans’ Day parades, they have given assemblies, etc. At Central a touching moment
at the end of each assembly for Memorial Day and for Veterans’ Day is when the names
of veterans are read and their pictures are shown and the students exit quietly. What
better group of students to take to Pearl Harbor and to the USS Arizona where they would
sing Central’s Hail Alma Mater and to represent the State of NH. They would also be
going to Hickham Field to lay wreaths and to the USS Utah which is seldom visited. He
said he hopes the Board finds this to be a worthy field trip. The plan would be to
fundraise for this in order to take every single band student. Fundraising will be done to
make sure that the cost is minimal. A viability committee of parents has been put
together and they have decided this would be a good project and efforts should be made
to go forward with it. Students would be asked to put in about $600 of their own money
and the hope is to get corporate sponsorships and individual sponsors. Chaperones would
be paying about 75% of the cost. Since they would not be involved in all of the activities
that the band would be, their cost would be slightly less. So, the chaperones would pay
their own way. Also, the plan is to invite any Pearl Harbor veteran to travel with them.
They have talked to the Governor to see if he would support this and he indicated that if
the School Board would support it he would as well.
       Comm. Beaudry said he had a couple of questions. He asked “obviously your
freshmen are going to be excluded?” Mr. Sterling replied “no.” Comm. Beaudry asked
“how would they make the payments then?” Mr. Sterling said “the payment schedule is
our fees that we would have to pay. They’re broken down by student but that is not how
we’re going to be funding it. We’re going to be funding it through our own sponsorship.
If we get approval tonight we plan on going to the middle schools and talking to the
students and passing on the information to the parents so they can make a decision if they
want to be part of this.” Comm. Beaudry asked “this is during the school year and school
would be on. Would this be excused absences? I’m assuming that in 5 days they’re
going to miss at least 3 days of school.” Supt. Brennan said this would be considered
excused absences. He said “we will also be working to develop a variety of
educationally-based activities of either journaling their experience or making connections
in the course areas they would be taking. There will be some requirements in terms of
educational response.” Comm. Beaudry asked “you mentioned that the chaperones won’t
be with the students all of the time, who will be with the students if the chaperones won’t
be with them?” Mr. Sterling said “the chaperones won’t be performing on the USS
Missouri during the Pearl Harbor ceremony, they’ll be on the shore. Some of the
activities for that and the rehearsal time will be for the band. Chaperones are nice but
they don’t play very well.” Comm. Beaudry asked “there is no fear if anything happens
to the students and the chaperones being on shore?” Mr. Sterling said “they’ll be close
by and we’ll have supervision there on the ship such as myself and other administrators.”
Comm. Beaudry said “as always, your band is great and you do a great job.”
       Vice Chair Gelinas said “you mentioned that the students would have to pay $600.
I assume that is out of their own pocket.” Mr. Sterling agreed. He said “we’ve actually
done some fundraising. The Music Department was planning on going to NY. We
would send the chorus and the orchestra for that plan this year. At the students’ direction
we would direct some of the money they have already raised for their trip to NY and
divert it to the Pearl Harbor trip.” Vice Chair Gelinas said “also, you mentioned you
would be going to the middle schools to invite them to participate.” Mr. Sterling said
“the 8th graders that would be freshmen next year. Because of the timing in December
they would only have a short time with us so we figure we’d give them a head start by
talking to them and getting information out to their parents as soon as possible.”



November 22, 2010                           6
     Comm. Kelley made a motion to approve the field trip request for Central
High School’s band to attend the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor in
December 2011. Vice Chair Gelinas seconded the motion. The motion passed by
unanimous vote.

CONSENT AGENDA

Coordination Committee
Policy: Students #118 Pupil Safety and Violence Prevention Policy—Bullying
Policy: Instruction #122 Field Trips and Approved Excursions
Principals’ Qualifications

Curriculum & Instruction Committee
Building & Sites Committee
      No reports.

Athletics & Extra-Curricular Activities Committee
Coaching Nominations

Information Technology Committee
Manchester School District Website—Information Systems Department
FY2010 Agreement
RFP: Student Information Hosting

       Mayor Gatsas advised if any Board member wished to remove any of the items
from the Consent Agenda to please do so at this time. Comm. Beaudry and Dolman
asked to remove item ‘a’ MSD Website—Information Systems Department FY2010
Agreement of the Information Technology Committee’s report. Comm. Dolman asked to
also remove item ‘b’ from the Information Technology Committee, the RFP for the
Student Information Hosting. Comm. Avard asked to remove the two policies under the
Coordination Committee’s report. Comm. Langton asked to remove item ‘c’ Principals’
Qualifications from the report of the Coordination Committee.
       Comm. Kelley made a motion to approve the Coaching Nominations
presented in the report of the Athletic & Extra-Curricular Activities Committee.
Comm. Dolman seconded the motion. The motion passed by unanimous vote.

Coaching Nominations

Central High School
Varsity Boys’ Winter Track             Jaime Jacobus
Freshmen Boys’ Basketball              Brian Tenhave
Assistant Varsity Boys’ Winter Track   Peter Mallet
Freshmen Girls’ Basketball             Kara Bernard

Memorial High School
JV Boys’ Basketball                    Sudi Lett
Freshmen Boys’ Basketball              Rene Bordello

West High School
Varsity Boys’ Winter Track              Lee Hess
Freshmen Girls’ Basketball              Amy Rumor
Assistant Girls’ Winter Track           Colleen Lehman

Hillside Middle School
Boys’ Basketball B-Team                 Stephen Loughlin

Parkside Middle School
Girls’ Basketball A-Team                Diane Antoscia

Southside Middle School
Boys’ Basketball A-Team                 Nathan Truncellito
Boys’ Basketball B-Team                 Brenna Matarazzo


November 22, 2010                         7
Manchester School District Website—Information Systems Department
FY2010 Agreement
       Comm. Avard referred to page 15 and a typographical error to change ‘by notified’
to ‘be notified’. Under the section ‘investigative procedures’ and #2 in the sentence that
says ‘the investigation may include documentation interviews with the alleged victim,
alleged perpetrator any witnesses’ it is missing the word ‘and’ for the sentence to read
‘the investigation may include documentation interview with the alleged victim, the
perpetrator, and any witnesses.’ He said the real issue he wished to bring up deals with
item #4. He would like this to be worded in such a way to be better clarified. It says ‘a
maximum of 10 school days shall be the limit for the initial filing of incidents and
completion of the investigative procedural steps’. This could be interpreted to say that if
9 days after an incident occurs a report is made to an administrator; a principal or an
assistant principal, that would leave them one day before the 10-day deadline. He knows
that is not what is intended. He thinks it needs to be separated that there is a deadline to
report and a deadline from the report date to the completion of the investigation.
Otherwise we could find administrators that are being bound by a 10-day total when he
doesn’t think that is what was intended by the policy.
       Supt. Brennan asked if Comm. Avard had any recommended language. Comm.
Avard said “my recommendation would be to separate the maximum for filing of
incidents and then a separate sentence for the completion. So the maximum of 10 school
days shall be the limit for the initial filing and then another sentence that says a maximum
of 10 school days would be the maximum for completing the investigation; assuming you
would want that much time for each one. That is my assumption. Just so it is very clear
who has how many days.” Supt. Brennan said “we’re verifying the particulars within the
RSA to make sure things are consistent with the RSA.” Mayor Gatsas said “how about if
we say that a maximum of 10 school days shall be the limit for the initial filing of
incidences and 10 days for the completion of the investigative procedures.” Comm.
Avard said “that sounds very clear. That would work.” Mayor Gatsas said “but I’m not
too sure what the RSA calls for.”
       Comm. Beaudry said he agrees with a maximum time. His concern would be if
anyone would fall through the cracks; for example, if someone were to get injured and
would not be available to file the report. How would that take place? Would they be
covered? Let’s say someone got a physical injury and couldn’t fill out the report, would
that individual be covered once they could fill out a report that they were bullied? That
would be my only concern to make sure that everybody is covered that needs to be
covered. Supt. Brennan said “I agree in terms of ensuring that no one does fall through
the cracks. Once again, we’re trying to align ourselves with the prescriptive-ness of the
RSA.”
       Mayor Gatsas asked “how about we put this on the table rather than trying to run
through this tonight and not finding a proper solution and aligning with the RSA. Can we
have the Superintendent come back within a week with the corrected document?” Vice
Chair Gelinas asked “may I suggest also that if any other Board members sees anything
they feel needs a change that they let the Administration know so we can have it all done
at the same time?”
       Comm. Herbert referred to the comments made by the individual who spoke in the
public forum as to the definition of the perpetrator and of the victim. He said his question
is “are we limited to students here?” Mayor Gatsas said “I think the RSA is pretty
specific on that.” Supt. Brennan agreed. He said it is one of the more specific and
descriptive RSAs. It is limited to students or pupils to use the RSA’s language that was
approved. Comm. Ambrogi said “that was the point I was going to make. I think we are
restricted because of the language of the RSA.”
       Vice Chair Gelinas made a motion, seconded by Comm. Dolman, to table the
item Policy: Students #118 Pupil Safety and Violence Prevention—Bullying. The
motion passed by unanimous vote.
       Mayor Gatsas said most of this policy is written almost verbatim of the RSA.
There isn’t much edification in here by the Administration. Supt. Brennan agreed.

Policy: Instruction #122 Field Trips and Approved Excursions
       Comm. Avard referred to page 23 of the agenda material. He referred to the 4th
paragraph. He said it says “the Board of School Committee shall approve all out-of-state
trips that require an overnight stay and athletic events outside of the 60-mile radius from


November 22, 2010                            8
Manchester.” He said “I don’t understand why we’re not requiring anything that requires
an overnight whether it is in State or out of State but athletics are being held to a higher
standard. I know the trip that we approved for the Student Council to go to Waterville
Valley would not have required our approval under this language because it is in State
but over night. I don’t know that we need the words ‘out of State’. I think overnight is
the defining characteristic that we’re looking at and I think we need to remove the portion
of the sentence that says ‘all out of State’ and it should say ‘all that require an overnight
stay’. Supt. Brennan said “we have no problem with that adjustment.”
        Comm. Avard referred to the next paragraph. He said it is not clear whether the
permission slips that are being sent home would be prior to or after Board approval. That
needs to be clarified and whether or not they need to get the Board’s approval before they
even talk to the students about their trips or if they need to be getting a head count from
students giving them all information on a trip that may or may not be approved. That
needs to be discussed and clarified.
        Supt. Brennan said “I believe it states somewhere that it is ‘prior to’.” He read the
sentence “The principal of each school shall inform the Assistant Superintendent of any
plans for a field trip prior to that date that permission slips are sent home.” Comm.
Avard said “so, it would be before they would come forward to us.” Supt. Brennan
agreed. Comm. Avard said “and it doesn’t say anything in here about the issue that got
the West Student Council situation going that not only does it need to be before the Board
a month before the planned trip but that it needs to be in your office a week prior to that
to be on the agenda. I think that needs to be clarified so that you don’t have someone
giving it to you the Thursday or Friday before a Board meeting thinking it is going to be
presented here. They need to have that in clear and concise language.” Supt. Brennan
said “I believe we would have to adjust that language to ensure that that happens.”
        Comm. Avard referred to the last paragraph and the second to the last sentence in
the bold print stating ‘if an admission fee, transportation, and/or lodging is required
chaperones shall not be held responsible for these costs. All chaperone costs shall be
covered through fundraising or other school funds. I know I started a lot of this
discussion about field trips and chaperone costs and I’m still not satisfied with this if the
students are going to end up spending all of the fundraising they’ve been doing as paying
for their own trips. When they go out and they sell candy bars or candles or whatever
they’re selling that’s to take the pinch off of their family so that they can afford the trip.
Now it looks like we’re going to tell the students that they have to go out and sell these
things so that the chaperones can go. Now, I understand when you’re doing a local trip if
you’re bringing a group of students to the Boston Museum of Science and 50 children are
splitting the cost of the chaperone’s entrance fee and bus trip down there. That makes
sense to me and I understand that. But when you’re talking of a trip to Honolulu then I’m
really concerned if it’s only the students that have an outlay on this because I’ll tell you
I’d love to go on that trip to Honolulu if I could be a chaperone. I think anybody that is
going has to have some degree of a stake in this. If it’s through fundraising, I’m OK with
that if the fundraising is done by the teacher and not done by the students. I don’t think
the students should be on the hook for a $1,500-$1,600 trip. I’m not picking on that trip;
it just happens to be the one that was brought up tonight. We’ve seen trips to Florida,
we’ve seen trips to Europe, and these are very, very expensive trips and I don’t think the
students should be on the hook for that in an economy that we have now where it is very
difficult for some of these families. These are wonderful educational experiences but if
the prices can be kept down for the individual students we’re going to have more students
that are going to be able to take advantage of them.”
        Comm. Beaudry said “with the request of Central’s band that just came before us it
is my understanding that it was said that the chaperones were going to pay their way.
Under this policy it says they shall not pay their way and it is going to be paid through
fundraising. So, maybe we should change the word from ‘shall’ to ‘may’ to allow people
that want to pay their own way to pay their own way and it wouldn’t be against Board
policy. So change the 2 shall words in that paragraph to ‘may’.”
        Supt. Brennan said “one of the reasons why this policy was brought forward is for
the exact reason just described. We had the inconsistencies between which groups did
and did not do and that is why the ‘shall’ is in there as opposed to the ‘may’. The
previous policy allowed that to happen. There was no consistency. What we thought we
heard around the table was let’s make it consistent and that is what we’re bringing
forward. I think if you put ‘may’ back we’re going to be in the same situation that we
were before we brought the revision to you now.”


November 22, 2010                             9
        Comm. Beaudry said “you’re right. There was inconsistency. I don’t know how it
can be rehashed. I agree with Comm. Avard. We have students that are hard-pressed to
pay their own way and some of them work diligently by going out fundraising so that
they can go on some of these field trips. To now make them have to fundraise for the
chaperones, I believe that is asking too much for the students to do. If there is a way the
chaperones can do their fundraising or assist in fundraising or whatever, I would feel
much better about it. I do have a tough time having students going out to pay for
chaperones to go field trips.”
        Vice Chair Gelinas said “I’d like to ask the Superintendent if he feels this needs to
be tabled for any rewrite based on what has been said, not counting the part about the
chaperone fee.” Supt. Brennan replied “no, sir.” Vice Chair Gelinas said “the
Coordination Committee already reviewed this and it was passed unanimously by the
Coordination Committee, including Comm. Beaudry. The Superintendent was correct as
to why we made the change; because there were inadequacies there. We had 2 high
schools that were paying for the chaperones and one that wasn’t. This was brought to the
Coordination Committee because some Board members felt it needed to be changed. We
looked at it in Committee and this is what we’ve come forward with. I think it is a policy
that is fair and equitable for all of the high schools in regards to the chaperone issue. I
would hope that we leave it as the Coordination Committee voted on.”
        Comm. Kelley said “I want to go to that paragraph that talks about the athletic
events outside of the 60-mile radius. I think that has always been our practice but we’ve
also had any teams come forward if they wanted to go out of State. I think that is where
that out-of-State part is more pertaining to the athletic policy. If we had a team going to
Boston it is within the 60-mile radius but they need to come to us to get approval even if
it is just a one-day event unless the intention is to take that out of there. It would allow
athletic teams to go across the border, especially to MA, without getting approval by the
Board. I didn’t know if we wanted to put that in there just for the athletic purposes.
Maybe it would say for athletic events out of State or outside of the 60-mile radius.”
        Mayor Gatsas said “my question is what happens if it is some special event that is
out of State and there is no meeting of the Board for 2 weeks.” Comm. Kelley said “in
the past we’ve always been able to accommodate them. Now that we meet twice a month
they could always come to the Full Board on a special request like we had this evening.
In the past we’ve let them come to us in the Athletic Committee. Those events have
always gone through the Athletic Committee. They’ll come and present to us. If they
don’t do that 30 days in advance of the next Full Board meeting, with the way that we
used to meet that was different but now that we meet twice each month there is usually
enough time to take care of that. As long as it comes to the Athletic Committee, and they
usually do, unless it’s an NHIAA-sanctioned event and then we usually don’t have a
problem with those if it’s a play-off game or something like that.”
        Comm. Dolman said he would reinforce what Comm. Kelley said. He said “the
New England Championship was in VT. We sanctioned them to go prior to the event
happening because they were hoping to make it and if they did make it to go to the New
Englands they had permission to go.”
        Comm. Beaudry said he raised concerns even before this went to the Coordination
Committee that he was uncomfortable with chaperones being paid for through
fundraising. For the sake of compromise he supported it at the Committee level but that
doesn’t mean he shouldn’t raise the issue again here at the Full Board and state his
concerns. He still may vote for this but his concern under what was presented to the
Board this evening and the policy stating that all chaperones’ costs shall be covered
through fundraising they’d be breaking our policy because their chaperones are going to
pay for their way. Mayor Gatsas said “I think we approved their field trip before we
approved this policy.” Comm. Beaudry said “but it’s going to happen again. We might
as well take care of it now before it does happen again. I want the consistency. That’s
why this policy was brought back to the Coordination Committee because of that
situation where 2 groups were paying for their chaperones and one wasn’t. There has got
to be a way if chaperones want to pay for their own way they can do it without going
against a Board policy.”
        Supt. Brennan asked “if a parent wants to pay their fee?” Comm. Beaudry said “if
we pass this and someone wants to go on a trip and pay their own way our policy says all
chaperones shall be covered through the fundraising. So that means the chaperone, even
if they want to pay, can’t pay through our policy.” Supt. Brennan said “unless they
submit it as a fundraising activity. I believe that could be done quite easily. They could


November 22, 2010                            10
collect it and say here is my fundraising activity.” Comm. Beaudry said “so if they’re
selling candy bars they can buy 1,500 candy bars and pay their own way.” Supt. Brennan
replied “yes.” Comm. Beaudry said “we just make policies and it seems like they’re
made to be broken sometimes. I just want to caution us before we make something that
we’re going to be looking at the next time someone goes on a field trip.”
       Comm. Ambrogi said she thinks Comm. Beaudry has a very good point here. She
recognizes the Board approved the Central trip prior to changing this policy but she can
guarantee the Board will be back with this same issue if something isn’t put in the policy
to allow for the Superintendent’s discretion or something to allow us to have
modifications. She can guarantee it is going to come forward again. It would be foolish
to pass this policy when we already imagine a situation where we’d be breaking our own
policy that we just changed. That seems like a very poor use of the resources of the
Board.
       Comm. DeBlasi said “I’d like to start by addressing what Comm. Kelley was
talking about regarding athletics. We did discuss this in the Coordination Committee and
we put in a very specific provision that requests for exceptions to the 30-day submission
requirement shall be submitted to the Superintendent for his or her approval specifically
for the unplanned athletic team that wins an event and moves on and there just isn’t
enough time to get a response in like Comm. Dolman said with heading for VT. There is
Superintendent’s discretion that allows for those unplanned athletic events that come up.
As it relates to the chaperones and the language we’re debating here, I believe Comm.
Avard said this, the whole reason why we started looking at this policy and attempting to
revise it was to satisfy the inconsistencies. I understand the concerns relative to students
paying fees but what is being left out here is we also had concerns about what type of
costs chaperones should be responsible for and absorbing. I don’t think anyone is under
the assumption that chaperones are taking a free trip here. We know that they’re
providing crucial student supervision for a very busy itinerary. I certainly wouldn’t look
at chaperoning a trip as a vacation. We have a difficult time securing chaperones and we
all know that no matter how much money is raised by students they don’t get to go on
trips without this supervision and without the chaperones. I’m in favor of the language as
it stands. I certainly don’t think it precludes any chaperone from donating a portion or all
of the expense should they choose to do that. I can’t imagine any of us with a clear head
would turn down a chaperone who said they were willing to pay their cost and I also
think it highly unfair that we ask a chaperone to pay costs associated with some of these
trips. In closing, the other thing that we came to realize is that for many of the smaller
field trips, day field trips, there are no fees associated with chaperones. Many things like
the Museum of Science or other places waive the admission fees for the adults; the
teachers and the chaperones that are on that trip. With that being said, I would move that
we adopt this policy here tonight with the changes that Comm. Avard brought up to some
of the language and misspellings but with the language as it stands in the final paragraph.
       Comm. Avard said there are a lot of trips where the schools are begging for
chaperones and they’re bringing parents in. Those are for the more mundane trips. From
personal experience he has seen there are trips that parents are not allowed to be
chaperones because there is a waiting list of teachers that want to chaperone these trips.
They’re the trips to New York City to go see a Broadway show or a trip to Florida or to
Hawaii. He thinks there is a certain degree of desire and personal enjoyment that does
come out of these chaperones taking these trips. So he does have a problem with the
students paying for that. If they were to open these up to parents and parents were to
chaperone and had just as much of an equal chance to being a chaperone as a teacher, he
might change his opinion on that. But because he sees there are schools with certain trips
that are limiting the chaperones on these bigger, fancier trips to just teachers and any
parents that opt to go along can go but they have to pay their whole way that really strikes
a chord with him. He has to disagree that not everybody is going on these strictly to be a
chaperone and to be there to watch the kids but there are some that have other motives
when they go on these trips and we’re paying for those trips, or the students he should say
are paying for those trips.
       Comm. Beaudry said he had a friendly compromise. He said “at the end of ‘other
school funds’ add the wording ‘unless an exception is made by the Superintendent on a
case-by-case basis allowing the chaperones to pay their own way’. Then the
Superintendent has a right to allow the chaperone to pay their own way and they won’t be
in violation of our policy. I will vote against this this evening because I do believe we’re
setting a policy that is already going to be violated a year from now.”


November 22, 2010                           11
       Comm. Kelley asked for clarification on the athletic part. She said “if we leave it
as all out-of-State an overnight stay for an athletic event outside of a 60-mile radius I read
that in saying that anything in Chelmsford or Lowell or Lawrence and all the way to
Boston that any sporting event in that area do not have to come before the Athletic
Committee for approval. That’s the way I read that. If someone could clarify that for
me?” Mayor Gatsas said “I think Comm. DeBlasi made it clear. If it comes, the
Superintendent has the opportunity to override but I think they still must come forward in
the same procedure as is outlined.” Comm. Kelley said “the way I read that is they
wouldn’t have to come forward unless it is outside the 60-mile radius. I think the
Superintendent is nodding that that is how he reads it also. So any event that may be in
Chelmsford or Lawrence or Lowell none of those would need to come to us even though
they’re out of State.” Supt. Brennan said that was correct. He said “in terms of trying to
address what Comm. Beaudry was discussing, perhaps at the end of the last sentence in
bold print ‘all chaperone costs shall be covered through fundraising, other school funds,
or donations.’ A donation could come from an individual chaperone. I don’t like the
change but I’d like to get this thing done.” Comm. Beaudry said “at least that would
allow a chaperone to make a donation to pay their own way.” He said “I would amend
the policy to include that language.”
       Comm. Langton said “I have a concern as far as the lack of a medical form. The
current form we have before us only has one line as shown on page 29. I just don’t feel
that is enough information. I think we need current information with the student on every
field trip, depending on what time of the year things in a child’s life could change. I
know I had a conversation with the Superintendent and I would like his input on that as
well.” Supt. Brennan said “I agree with Comm. Langton completely. This is just the
overall form. Every student who attends a field trip must have a medical card with them
as part of the package as they go forward. There would be an adult; a teacher or a
supervisor or a chaperone who would be responsible for monitoring the specific medical
card for all of the students in attendance. That would be in compliance with what we
have at the schools. I believe that would cover your concern. It goes beyond what is
stated here and it is required that they bring a medical form with them identifying any
particular maladies or restrictions on them. Even when we go out on other trips they
must have this medical card as opposed to this type of document referred to in the
regulations.”
       Comm. Langton said “so you’re guaranteeing me that this does happen that every
time a field trip happens, whether it is just a day trip or overnight, the information that is
needed for any kind of emergency is with the chaperones and/or teachers on the trip.”
Supt. Brennan said “I’m guaranteeing that from this day forward that would be the case.”
       Mayor Gatsas asked “ Do I have a motion to amend the motion to include
donations?” Comm. Beaudry made the motion to amend. Comm. Avard seconded.
The motion passed by unanimous vote. Vice Chair Gelinas made a motion to
approve the amended motion. Comm. Kelley seconded the motion. The motion
passed by unanimous vote.
       Mayor Gatsas said “we’ve spent a lot of time on these policies. I believe the public
safety policy has been back and forth to committee twice. I don’t understand if you’ve
got a problem why the problem isn’t being brought forward to the Administration long
before this evening when they’re looking to move something forward to protect students
in our District. I would think that all of members would have a discussion with the
Superintendent if you have a problem. Let’s pick up the phone and call him. There is no
reason to bring them in here. With the word ‘or donations’ is a pretty simple fix. I would
ask members to have those conversations with the Superintendent. If you feel differently
with what came out of the Committee report that would be a different procedure but that
would be a pretty simple fix.” Comm. Beaudry said “a lot of times we discuss things in
Committee and once it is voted on if you think of something you can’t call the
Superintendent to change what was voted on in Committee.” Mayor Gatsas said “but
certainly you can bring it up to him. I think at that point those discussions become moot
at the Full Board meeting.” Comm. Beaudry said “I have to say I have consistently had
an issue with chaperones being paid for by fundraising through the whole process.”
Mayor Gatsas said “but you did vote for it in Committee.” Comm. Beaudry said “I did.
At some point you’ve got to fish or cut bait. I just found out we were going to have
someone violate the policy before we even enacted it. That causes great concerns.”




November 22, 2010                            12
Principals’ Qualifications
       Comm. Langton said she has a concern with the residency requirement to be added
to the job description of principals. She wants the individual who will be a principal in
the schools to be the best individual for the job and not the best individual who lives in
Manchester or who wants to live in Manchester. A residency requirement limits many
teachers with years of service, and decades of service in some cases, who have had
professional development paid for by Manchester taxpayers and those taxpayers won’t be
able to reap the benefits of their tax dollars. A lot of teachers have gone on to attain
higher education certifications and degrees and if they don’t live in Manchester or will
not move to Manchester those individuals will be forced to apply for other school
districts in order to advance in their professions. To her that is a great loss of talent and
experience to the children of Manchester. She said she wished to state her concern with
that knowing that there are a number of teachers that have made it known to her that they
are very disheartened by the fact that they want to continue their service in Manchester
but because they don’t live here or would not be able to move here because of their
family situations they would have to apply out of District to further careers.
       Mayor Gatsas said “or they could move in within 180 days of applying for a
position.” Comm. Langton said “as I said, their concern is if their family has been in a
community for a while and they are vested in that community they don’t want to uproot
their family, especially if children are involved because some times that can be heart-
breaking for the children. I’m just pointing out that for some of our teachers that want to
move on and up the ladder we are limiting them in this District and we may lose them
and I would hate to see that happen.” Mayor Gatsas said “that’s my very point. I think
they should be invested in this community. They should be invested here.”
       Comm. DeBlasi said he agrees with Comm. Langton on this. He certainly respects
the Mayor’s position on residency though he disagreed with the residency requirement
when the Board first voted on it. That aside, he thinks we owe it to the teachers and
administrators who are currently in the District and who have served us with great loyalty
and also built a community within their school, while they might not reside in
Manchester they make a home in Manchester when they are in the schools. Perhaps there
I some type of compromise involved that would permit current employees in the
Manchester School District, our long-serving and bright and upcoming future principals,
from having this opportunity without being beholding to the residency requirement. He
knows currently it is just exempting, if you will, our Superintendent but he does feel there
are many talented people that we run the risk of losing because all of a sudden they see
any potential career advancement completely blocked without uprooting their entire lives
and relocating to the City.
       Comm. Dolman said he supports the Mayor on this policy but maybe there could
be a grandfather clause put in allowing people who are currently employed to have that
grandfather clause. Mayor Gatsas said “I think if you take a look at the residency
requirement it says they have 180 days to move into the City.” Comm. Dolman said “it is
very difficult in the economy to sell a house etc. and uproot a family etc. In concept, I
agree about residency and I would support continuing to have that as a requirement for
future employees but people who are already employed by the District and who have
been involved in the District maybe it would be a fair compromise to have a grandfather
clause for those employees.”
       Comm. Beaudry asked “wasn’t there an appeal clause in place because of the
economy and we gave them 180 days that they could appeal to get an extension?” Mayor
Gatsas said “for another 180 days through the Superintendent.” Comm. Beaudry said “so
they’ve got basically a year to get into the City under the appeal.”
       Comm. Briggs asked “is this policy being extended laterally through other
departments in the City such as the Fire Department, Police Department, etc.?” Mayor
Gatsas replied “yes, it is.”
       Vice Chair Gelinas asked to move the question. Mayor Gatsas called for the
vote on the question. The motion passed by majority vote; Comm. Langton voted in
opposition.

Manchester School District Website—Information Systems Department
FY2010 Agreement
      Comm. Beaudry said he had a question and then he would make a motion on this
item. His question would be when it initially came about that the City would be doing
the District’s website it was his understanding from testimony from the IT Director of the


November 22, 2010                            13
City that this would be coming out of Economic Development and there wasn’t going to
be a charge to the School District at all. He would like to know what happened between
that meeting, which was back in August of this year, to now that we are being charged for
the services. Mayor Gatsas said “I’m not too sure the IT Director can make that
commitment on behalf of the Mayor & Aldermen. At least I’m now aware she is.”
Comm. Beaudry said “she was the representative, I believe, for the City side at that IT
Sub-Committee on transitioning or whatever and that’s what she said. Her argument was
that the reason why it was a good fit was because when people look at moving into the
City they look at a website and schools is one of the top things that they look at. That is
why she felt that the Economic Development would have been the place to charge for
their services.” Mayor Gatsas said “I agree with you. I think it was in April when we
were talking about moving the entire IT over to the City side. That is when she was at
that Sub-Committee that Comm. Briggs ran. I think that is when that discussion was
happening when we talking about moving the entire IT to the City side and that is when
she said that fee would be picked up by Economic Development.” Comm. Beaudry
asked “ but why wouldn’t it be picked up now if it was going to be picked up back then?
Why wouldn’t that happen?’ Mayor Gatsas said “because I think it was clear that the
City side was looking for total integration into that plan to make sure that everything was
happening on the City side. I think that is the message that was sent. Comm. Briggs was
there; correct me if I’m wrong.”
       Comm. Briggs said that was correct. He said “that fee was pro-rated and it covers
some important hosting and continued maintenance and other special projects or special
requests. If you look at what is there, the rate that they are charging for the services that
they would perform, it is very, very reasonable. Even the man-hour rate for future
projects is very reasonable. They’ve done a very good job in delivering that. The interest
of the Committee was to allow us to go forward so that we are not continued to be side-
tracked by this and to get it out of the way to allow us to focus on ASPEN and some other
key issues.”
       Comm. Beaudry stated “I was at most of those meetings. I’m not questioning what
they would or wouldn’t do or how well they would do it. What I’m questioning is the
comment was that it was going to be paid for under Economic Development and now all
of a sudden it is coming out of the School District’s General Fund. That’s my question. I
believe that they could do the work, it’s just where the money is coming from. That’s the
concern I have.”
       Comm. Beaudry said “with that being said, I would like to move this with the
part that says ‘the School District can elect to pay on a month-to-month basis with a
30-day notice requirement for either party to cancel. The monthly charge would be
$300 for November and $1,053 for each month from December 2010 through June
2011’. That is what I would move this evening.” Comm. Kelley seconded the
motion.
       Mayor Gatsas said “so we’re looking to move this so there is no charge to the
School District……” Comm. Beaudry said “no, there is a charge. We could pay it all up
right now or we could pay on a month-to-month basis. I want to pay on the month-to-
month basis. It would end June 30 of 2011 and we would pay on a month-to-month basis
at that rate.” He said he had one suggestion. On page 38 it says ‘the agreement shall be
inoperative during such period of time as delivery or acceptance may be rendered
impossible by reason of fire, strike, act of God, government regulation, or other cause
beyond the control of either party’. I would take ‘strike’ out because public employees
don’t have the right to strike. So why would we put that in a document? The rest seems
to be reasonable.”
       Mayor Gatsas said “you’re looking to change something in that paragraph that is
pretty clear as it stated there that the School District can elect if they want to pay it up
front or pay it monthly. It’s very clear what it says in that paragraph.” Comm. Beaudry
said that was right. He said “but I’m moving that we are electing to pay on a month-to-
month basis.”
       Comm. Briggs said “it’s more expensive administratively to pay month to month.
It’s just not worth it.” Comm. Beaudry said “do the math, it’s all the same.” Comm.
Briggs said “it’s all the same in terms of what they’re charging us but it costs us to do it.
Let’s just get this over with. Why nickel and dime this. We have bigger fish to fry.
Let’s just move this. This is very reasonable. It’s not taking away from anybody and it
just allows us to focus. Let’s get this over with.” Comm. Beaudry said “then vote
against the motion.”


November 22, 2010                            14
        Vice Chair Gelinas said he was not clear with the motion Comm. Beaudry was
making. It seems pretty clear in the agreement that the District can either pay in one
lump sum or the Administration can choose to make the payment monthly. He doesn’t
know why the motion is needed. Comm. Beaudry said “because we are directing the
Administration on what way we want to pay. We’re not leaving it up to them to pay
which way they want to. We’re saying if we vote on this that the District chooses to go
on a month-to-month basis. That’s all.” Mayor Gatsas said he would call for a roll call
and he would ask the members to vote against this motion.
        Comm. Katsiantonis asked Comm. Beaudry why he wanted to do things that way.
Comm. Beaudry said “the reason to go with the month-to-month is for 2 reasons. Our IT
Department has been working for months on developing their own website. In April or
May if the website could come on board I would rather have it come back to the School
District instead of paying the City $1,053 a month to do our website. Again, I believe our
people can do it. This would alleviate right now some of the stress that our IT
Department is going through. They are still one person down. We haven’t hired that
individual that we talked about a month and a half ago that this Board voted on to have an
additional person, a per diem person come in to work there. That still hasn’t taken place.
The parent portal deadline has not been extended due to the fact that they are
understaffed. That is still a February 1 deadline. So, I believe that getting the website
out of their hands until they can bring it in house is an accommodating thing but I
wouldn’t want to just see this staying with the City. Actually, Comm. Beauchamp
brought up a good point. Is the data protected once it goes to the City? Are there
copyright laws that we can’t get that data back? That is something that I don’t think has
ever been answered. Those are the reasons why I would like to go on a month-to-month
basis.”
        Mayor Gatsas said “I hope you have been hearing me for 11 months when I’ve
been saying that this is a City of one. We are one city. So to bring up a copyright law
that you don’t think the City is going to give back data to the School District…..They
gave you $3million to buy books. So let’s not go down that road.” Comm. Beaudry said
“the reason why I go down that road, Your Honor, is because we were told by a City
employee that is in charge of IT that the money was going to come through Economic
Development. All of a sudden 3 or 4 months later we’re getting billed $7,671 so honestly
I can’t believe what is being told by the City side or the representatives that are
representing the City side because it seems like it changes months down the road.”
Mayor Gatsas said “that is why a roll call has been requested.”
        Comm. Vaughn said “I think what Comm. Beaudry is suggesting, I don’t agree
with what he is suggesting, but I think the terms of this contract and the way it is written
is for 7 months and 7 days. So just agreeing to pay on a monthly basis doesn’t mean we
can terminate it at will, the way it is written. So I don’t see the difference how we pay.”
Mayor Gatsas said “and this takes us to June. I would think by then we’d have some
direction and if we don’t we will have a definite direction during the budget period of
where we’re going with IT. That I can guarantee you.”
        Comm. Beaudry said “unless I’m reading this wrong it says ‘the School District
can elect to pay on a month-to-month basis with a 30-day notice requirement of either
party to cancel’. So, if you go on a month-to-month and you give them a 30-day notice,
you can get out of it.”
        Comm. Langton asked whether the Superintendent thinks that is something that the
School District would be able to take over between now and June. Supt. Brennan replied
“ I do not believe we would be able to take it over between now and June with the
schedule that we have in front of us regarding the parent portal.” Comm. Langton asked
“what are your thoughts as far as payment, should it be monthly or up front?’ Supt.
Brennan said “I think it should be up front. I agree with the other comments that it really
doesn’t make that much difference. I would much rather have the 7 months and 7 days to
look at that transition.”
        Comm. Beaudry said “we do have some attorneys on the Board but the way I read
this, if we go by the second sentence, we don’t have the right to get out with a 30-day
notice. If we go by what I just stated we have the right to get out with a 30-day notice. If
we can make it explicit that either way if we pay up front or we pay on a monthly basis
we can get out with a 30-day notice then I could support this. But, if we can’t, then I
have a problem with it.”
        Comm. Briggs said “the way I read this is there is nothing in here binding. They’re
just saying that if you want out take a month to do it. That’s very reasonable to cover


November 22, 2010                           15
that. They’re not binding us at all. They’re the City. They can’t. But on this issue of
transferability; it’s a website. It’s just data. And we are not, there is no way in the world
that we’re going to re-design that. That Economic Development Fund basically paid for
the labor of this guy to sit down to design it. It’s been designed. It’s done. We’re going
to use that. What we might or might not do at the end of this is to take the data and
replicate it somewhere else and change the IP address and create our own server. The
design will remain the same. There is no way in the world that our IT Department even if
we got a whole new IT Department is going to redesign it; it’s just not worth it. That
would be a complete waste of time and waste of money. This is reasonable; what they’re
here. The hard work has been done. What they’re looking to do is to continue on with
answering the phone and providing additional training and support of people at the school
level and in PTGs or other people who have these sites and pages and forms off of the
District’s website. We need to move forward.”
       Comm. Beaudry said “I will withdraw my motion if we can get out in 30 days and
if we wanted to give a notice under that whole paragraph and if we can do that I’ll
withdraw my motion.” Mayor Gatsas said “I think it’s clear what it says in there. It says
the School District can have a 30-day notice. It’s very clear. I don’t know what I’m
seeing that you’re not.” Comm. Beaudry said “I see the 30 day if we go month to
month.” Mayor Gatsas said “I will give you the commitment Comm. Beaudry that if you
want to get out in the 2nd month you’ll get your money back. How’s that? I’m sure you
will remind me of the minutes.” Comm. Beaudry said he would withdraw his motion.
       Comm. Kelley made a motion to approve the Manchester School District
Website—Information Systems Department FY2010 Agreement. Vice Chair
Gelinas seconded the motion. Mayor Gatsas requested a roll call. The motion
passed by unanimous vote of the 14 members present at the meeting.

RFP: Student Information System Hosting
       Comm. Dolman said the reason he asked to have this item pulled from the Consent
Agenda was because of one question he needs answered. He said the Board asked about
a consultant being hired. When will that happen so we can get the extra help that we
need to implement ASPEN and the parent portal? He asked if this should be taken up
under new business. Mayor Gatsas said that would be appropriate.
       Mayor Gatsas said he had a few questions on the contract. Comm. Kelley said Mr.
Steven Lyle from X2 Corporation was present. He came forward. Mayor Gatsas said
this says the data will be hosted by a 3rd party so there must be some very specific
contractual requirements that need to be worked out. He asked if that was correct. Mr.
Lyle said he brought some material on the physical space in which they lease space for
their servers so when they talk about their data center it is their servers that are in a leased
space. He can provide information about that space. Mayor Gatsas said none of the data
would leave the United States. Mr. Lyle said that was correct. Mayor Gatsas said and
whatever state it is in, it would be governed by those state laws. Mr. Lyle said
“absolutely.” Mayor Gatsas said “understanding we will not have NH laws governing
this.”
       He asked what happens to the data if a 3rd party business fails or is sold. Mr. Lyle
said “by the 3rd party you’re speaking of the physical location.” Mayor Gatsas agreed.
Mr. Lyle said he did not have the particular contract with him in hand. It was in his
computer that he has with him and he could look it up but he is quite certain the contract
would ensure the consistency and continuity of data services for all of their clients.
Mayor Gatsas said “right, but that data must be encrypted by that 3rd party at their site
and if they fail what’s the guarantee that we’re going to see the electronic data back to the
School District. I know we were just concerned with what was going to happen with the
City on $7,000. I’ve got a bigger concern if there is a 3rd party administrator out there
and our data is encrypted, where does it go.” Mr. Lyle said that one of the components
of the proposal before the Board is actually a nightly back-up retrieval service. You
would have a nightly back-up on your own servers here in the City from the data center.
Mayor Gatsas said that didn’t answer his question. His question is the data is encrypted
at the data center and once it is encrypted if there is a failure at that data center what
happens to our information. Is it breached? Mr. Lyle said “I guess I’m trying to envision
a situation…if there was a physical breach of the security and the servers were
stolen….?” Mayor Gatsas said “if they’re stolen what happens to the School District’s
data that is encrypted.” Mr. Lyle said “certainly encrypted data, if we were not allowed
access to it, then no one would have access to it.”


November 22, 2010                             16
       Mayor Gatsas said “we have students in this District and if that data is encrypted
and that company fails what happens to our data.” Mr. Lyle said they would provide the
District with your data. Mayor Gatsas said “you’re hiring a 3rd party, they’re going to
take that data and they’re going to encrypt it and that 3rd party goes out of business, how
do you control where that data is at.” Mr. Lyle said the misunderstanding here is the 3rd
party is not encrypting the data. The 3rd party is a physical building facilities and services
security around that building. The data exists on servers that we own. Mayor Gatsas
asked what is the data on. Who puts the data on? Mr. Lyle said “we do.” Mayor Gatsas
said so that is on servers that are encrypted at another location. Mr. Lyle said on servers
owned and installed by us. Mayor Gatsas asked if the servers are somewhere else and
they’re on their servers there is nothing that says that if that company fails that you have
access to those servers.
        He said “let me go on to the next question.” He asked what happens if there is a
data breach. Will Follett Software indemnify the School District? Mr. Lyle said “we do
not offer indemnification with any of our contracts; however, the facility does have a
SAS type 2 certification. That is the highest level of data certification for security. This
is the 3rd data center that we have used in the life of X2 Development and this is the most
sophisticated and highest performing data center.” Mayor Gatsas asked “you feel the
data gives you all the confidence there would be no breaches?” Mr. Lyle replied
“correct.” Mayor Gatsas asked “if you feel that confident then why not give us
indemnification?” Mr. Lyle said that was a good question. He said he would have to
refer to their attorney who makes those decisions. Mayor Gatsas said that is very
important because if that data is breached there would be some serious problems on our
hands. He is sure that credit card companies that were breached a few years ago assumed
that they weren’t going to be breached but there was an awful lot of data floating around
about individuals that he doesn’t think they wanted out in the public. He wants to make
sure that we’re protecting the students in this District.
       Comm. Briggs said the data itself is not encrypted. It is being stored in a very
secure, certified facility in a process of protecting it is securing. What is happening is
when the data travels over Internet between the facility and us it is encrypted on the fly
with a known process, HHS. We’re to take the nightly backup and take physical
possession or it is sent over the network which is the option we have selected it is
encrypted on its way over. The physical data where it resides in the facility, they have a
certified method storing it and it is protected and it does meet our concerns. This is for
the short-term and at the end of the school year we will re-evaluate whether we want to
bring that back here or we’re going to keep it there or somewhere else.
       Mayor Gatsas said he hears everything that is being said but the problem he has is
if the City is being indemnified if there is a breach. That is a very big concern of his and
he couldn’t support this if there is no indemnification.
       Comm. Avard said he was baffled by the need to look at this avenue. His
understanding is when we purchased this package we had the technology to run this
program and to ensure the safety of our data. If we’re having to pay for an outside
company to do this for us now this is 2 years after we purchased this program and it was
supposed to be something that fit with our system. He wants to know how come this is
coming up now instead of prior to us spending the extreme amount of money that we
spent on this SIS system. He wants an answer why we bought a program we can’t
support. He is concerned does this mean we’re not backing up our data and we don’t
have any sort of backup that is protecting and taking our data off site in case there is a
catastrophe? Mayor Gatsas said that might be an answer that Comm. Beaudry can give.
       Ms. Greenspan from the District’s IT Department came forward. She said “yes,
the data is being backed up.” Mayor Gatsas asked “on a daily basis?” Ms. Greenspan
said it was on a daily basis. Mayor Gatsas asked where are those are being held. Ms.
Greenspan said “the tapes are brought home every night.” Mayor Gatsas asked “by
individual employees of the District?” Ms. Greenspan said that was correct.
       Comm. Avard asked why then do we need to pay $33,000 to someone else to store
our data if our data is already being stored securely? And is taking a tape home secure?
There may be a slightly better way of handling the data of 16,000 students and 2,000
employees. Mayor Gatsas said “we probably need a couple of servers off site to do that.
I think I remember discussion about this in the IT Sub-Committee and there was talk of
placing servers on the City side so they would not be stored on site and the process would
work in that direction. It was for a lot less than $32,000.”



November 22, 2010                            17
        Comm. Beaudry said servers cost about $4,000-$5,000 a piece. If we were to do
this internally we would probably need to have 3 internal servers and 2 external servers to
do the hosting. So you’re looking at 5 servers so that would be about $25,000. Plus we
would need another piece of equipment that was another $5,000 or $6,000. It was about
$40,000 is what he was told would be the cost to do this in-house. But getting the
information and having the back-up and trying to get the parent portal up and running and
being understaffed this would alleviate our IT’s staff to do the parent portal updating and
get it running and then in time we could spend the money in the infrastructure to get the
servers and then we could move this back in-house.
        Mayor Gatsas asked “didn’t I understand they were working on a website and it
would be up and running by…..?” Comm. Beaudry said “I didn’t say it would be up and
running. I said they’re working on a website that could be up and running by April but
now they’re not working on anything because it’s over on the City side and they’re
focusing on the parent portal. You guys are putting them in such a time constraint and I
swear you’re doing it to make them fail. I go in periodically and talk to these individuals
and they’re stressed out. You’ve got 4 people doing the work of really 10 people. What
Comm. Briggs said in his report is we need 10-12 in that department and they’ve got 4
doing the work. You want to stress your employees out and then when something
happens you ask how come it happened. Well, I’m giving you the reason and it’s
because they’re stressed. They’re working very diligently to get the parent portal up
which is important to this District. That’s what they’re doing. That’s why I’m going to
support sending this out to X2 so they can alleviate one portion to get that parent portal
up and running in time.”
        At this time, Comm. Beaudry requested a roll call. It was noted that no motion had
been made yet.
        Comm. Kelley made a motion to approve the RFP for the Student Information
System hostung by X2 Development Corporation, a subsidiary of Follett Software
Company, for $33,626.00 yearly including in price $2,000 on-demand retrieval of
nightly backup from hosted environment. Comm. Katsiantonis seconded the
motion. Voting in favor of the motion were Comm. Kelley, Langton, Ambrogi,
Briggs, DeBlasi, Herbert, Vaughn, Katsiantonis, Beaudry, Dolman, Beauchamp,
and Vice Chair Gelinas. Voting in opposition of the motion were Comm. Avard and
Mayor Gatsas. The motion passed by a vote of 12-2.

Finance Committee Meeting
      Mayor Gatsas said the Committee would enter into a meeting of the Finance
Committee of the Whole. Vice Chair Gelinas said there was no report of the Sub-
Committee on Finance this evening. The only items for consideration by the Finance
Committee of the Whole are the 2 items just passed as a Full Board in regards to the IT
issues.
      Comm. Briggs made a motion, seconded by Comm. DeBlasi, to adjourn the
meeting of the Finance Committee as a Whole. The motion passed by unanimous vote.

REPORT OF THE FINANCE COMMITTEE
      Vice Chair Gelinas made a motion to approve the 2 items presented; the
Manchester School District Website—Information Systems Department FY2010
Agreement and the RFP: Student Information System Hosting. Comm. Kelley
seconded the motion. The motion passed by majority vote; Mayor Gatsas and
Comm. Avard voted in opposition of the RFP: Student Information System Hosting.
      Comm. Herbert inquired whether the Board would take up the tabled item, the
School Improvement Grant. Mayor Gatsas said that item would remain tabled. It would
be taken up during the upcoming budget discussions.

ACTION AGENDA

Personnel Report
     Vice Chair Gelinas made a motion to approve the Personnel Report. Comm.
Beaudry seconded the motion. The motion passed by unanimous vote.




November 22, 2010                           18
Personnel Report

Nominations: Administration
Amina Fazlic          Coordinator—Benefits                    Admin.               $21,168

Resignations: Non-Certified Staff
Maria Rojas             Bilingual Parent Liaison               District          $20.00/hr.
Chad Lawrence          Paraprof.—SPED                          Hillside          $12.63/hr.

Leaves of Absence: Non-Certified Staff
Brittany Badman        Paraprofessional                         Beech             $12.27/hr.

Nominations: Non-Certified Staff
Bette Cleveland        Paraprof.—Autism                         Parkside          $11.20/hr.
Courtney Menswar       Paraprof.—SPED                           Southside         $11.20/hr.

NEW BUSINESS
       Comm. Dolman said “we asked for an RFP for a consultant for our IT Department
close to 2 months ago and I would like to know what the status is. Now because of the
delay when that position gets recommended to this Board us that going to have to sit on
the table for 2 weeks because according to the guidelines that we set up administrative
positions that work with standing committees need to sit on the table so we have a chance
to do our due diligence. I don’t want us to hold that up because of that but at the same
time I would like to be able to do my due diligence and make sure that the selection of
that consultant, whoever it is, is someone that we can agree that is not being hand-picked
with a bias in mind and that the person is open to present all sides of that IT issue with no
biases.”
       Supt. Brennan said “the notion of selecting a consultant is not employee driven, it
is a consultant. We may have multiple individuals involved in it. We are currently in the
process and we have developed at least 2 drafts of that request for proposal. We will be
prepared to make that happen within the next 2 weeks to get that out. As far as it sitting
on the table, because it is a consultant, there is no need to do that in my opinion.” Comm.
Dolman said “well I would like to make sure it is given to us not prior to the meeting but
that we have some time to look at who you are selecting as a consultant so we can do our
due diligence and to ask questions of this consultant you’re picking so there is I feel no
bias to that person prior to the selection of them. Sometimes you and I have a difference
of opinion on certain issues and I would like to have my chance to do my due diligence.
You’re doing your due diligence and I would like to have my chance to do my due
diligence.” Mayor Gatsas said “you won’t get it the day of the meeting.” Comm.
Dolman said “that’s all I ask.”
       Comm. Dolman asked “what about the other part-time employee to make that staff
whole so they can work on the ASPEN part, that other worker?” Supt. Brennan replied “I
am seeking feedback from the IT Department regarding the priority position to be filled.
I”ll be ready to move forward on that once we have completed that designation of the
priority as to where we are right now.”
       Comm. Beaudry asked “do you think that additional worker can be on board within
the next 2 weeks?” Supt. Brennan said “we’ll need 10 days to post the position once that
priority position has been identified. As soon as I get that information, then we will post
it.” Comm. Beaudry asked why it would be posted 10 days. It’s a non-contractual
position so why can’t it be posted for 5 days so we can get moving on it? Supt. Brennan
replied “every time I do 5 days I get criticized for it. If you want us to do 5, we’ll do 5.”
Comm. Beaudry said “well, this is my opinion. We’re behind the 8-ball already. Five
days for posting I think would be sufficient. We need someone in there to augment the
rest of the staff if we want to get this parent portal and the rest of the stuff that we keep
demanding on this department to get accomplished.” Supt. Brennan said “if it is the will
of the Board to go 5 days, we can do it for 5 days.”
       Mayor Gatsas said “I would suggest to you that any employee that you would hire
right now you would give them fair warning about our budget constraints.” Supt.
Brennan replied “yes, sir.” Mayor Gatsas said “and make them aware that they could be
laid off by the end of June.” Supt. Brennan agreed. Comm. Dolman said “it’s a
temporary position that we agreed to.” Mayor Gatsas said “I’m just telling him that for


November 22, 2010                            19
any employee that he is hiring that they know that.” Comm. Katsiantonis said “we
cannot win the way you’re doing this. If you say that the employee may get laid off they
won’t want to take the job.” Mayor Gatsas asked “were you here the other night when
we did the presentation on the budget? There is an $11million shortfall. So if you think
it is not fair to tell an employee that in 6 months he may not have a job, that’s unfair to
this District not to give them those parameters.”
        Comm. Beaudry said “to get the feel of the Board I guess I have to make a
motion that we allow the Superintendent to post for 5 days and then to do interviews
and get someone hired in that position.” Comm. Dolman seconded the motion. The
motion passed by unanimous vote.

       Comm. Beaudry said he had another item to bring up. Last month he made a
motion for the sake of coordination to have all of our bands invited to participate in the
Christmas parade. He enjoys showcasing our bands and he supported the motion. Since
that vote he got some calls from folks at Memorial High School that are concerned that
they are being told that they have to march in the parade. The concern is they have a
concert the weekend before the Christmas parade and they have one the following week.
To break to have them practice for the Christmas parade is going to impede on their
performances for the concerts. He said “I would like to do whatever is best for our
students. From what I’m hearing, it would be best for Memorial not to march. Comm.
Ambrogi did make a remark that we should leave it up to the directors. That was my
motion, to leave it up to the directors. I would hope that if for some reason Memorial
chooses not to march in the parade there would be no repercussions to that. I believe the
director would do what he feels would be best for Memorial and his student musicians. I
just want to reiterate that and I hope the Superintendent would follow up on that. From
my understanding, it wasn’t from the Superintendent, but there was a directive that they
have to march. That is not what the motion was.”
       Mayor Gatsas said “maybe you want to tell us who gave them that directive.”
Comm. Beaudry said “from what I was told, the principal told the band director that he
has to march in the parade and it was from the Administration. That is what I was told. I
talked to Dr. Brennan and he assured me that the letter that went out he strongly
suggested that they march but it did not say that they had to march. I just want to state
publicly that……” Mayor Gatsas said “so if the principal thought that it was beneficial
for them to march that was up to him where he is the one running that school. The
principal is the one that suggested to the band director that they march in the parade.”
Comm. Beaudry said “from what I was told he had told them that they had to march in
the parade.” Mayor Gatsas said “that’s the principal’s choice.” Comm. Beaudry said “we
have a policy that says that bands will be on a rotating basis to march in the parades.
West is the band that is this year in the rotation. On our own policy, Memorial would not
have to march. I made the motion for the spirit of the evening to invite them if the band
director chose to march or not. I left it up to the band director, not the principal or
anybody else. He is the one that knows what is happening with his students as far as
orchestra and what they have to prepare for for up and coming events. I did not make a
motion forcing bands to march. That is what I am stating this evening.”
       Supt. Brennan said “I want to reinforce what Comm. Beaudry indicated that the
email that I sent to the principals did not direct them. It strongly encouraged them. I
don’t know where the mis-connect came but I had no conversation at any time that
required any principal to participate on a mandatory basis.” Comm. Beaudry said “I
believe that and that is why I wanted to bring this out in public so if Memorial does not
play I would hope there are no repercussions from anybody because it really is up to the
band director for what is best for his students.”
       Mayor Gatsas said “I would hope that in the interest of Christmas that they would
participate.” Comm. Beaudry added “I do too, Your Honor.” Mayor Gatsas said “if
we’re going to promote this City, we’re going to promote it as one. Sometimes if we
must make difficult decisions and be in different places and do different things…..I can
tell you that came up to me not from my idea but from a constituent that met with at a
Mayor’s night-in. He asked why it is that the bands don’t march in the Christmas parade.
I think that is something we should be looking at and we should be doing it. They used to
do it in the past.” Comm. Beaudry said “you are preaching to the choir because I do
support that but after listening to the people at Memorial I do agree that there is just so
much going on with that school in a short period of time that I would like to see it left up



November 22, 2010                           20
to the director on whether he feels that the band would be ready for their concert if they
were marching.”

       Comm. Briggs said “I was moved by some of the speakers that were here tonight.”
Comm. Briggs made a motion to invite the parents that have been here repeatedly
and who have written many letters to the Board to appear before the Board of
School Committee in possibly a closed session and to follow any rules or guidelines
that might protect and ensure children’s safety and allow them to present and argue
the details of their concerns to the Board for its consideration. He said this issue has
gone on too long. They are some very fine citizens of our community and they feel as
though they have been penalized for simply for following the rules and asking for the
equal application of policy. They feel as though they are being punished by simply
following these rules and being good citizens. They tell certain stories of things I believe
need to be followed up, not the least of which was as an example a young girl being
abandoned by her teammate and allowed to run through a very concerning part of the
City. Those need to be followed up, Your Honor. Comm. DeBlasi seconded the
motion.
       Comm. Briggs said he is also concerned about the direction of this needless
investigation and about the need of Board members to see the direction that the District is
responding to these concerns of the community. He believes that they need to be heard.
Mayor Gatsas said “I don’t have a problem with the motion but I think this Board is very
familiar with the statement that I made a few weeks ago, and no disrespect to the people
in the audience or those that would want to come to a non-public session. I will not
participate in non-public sessions because anything that happens in a non-public session
never stays non-public. I think I told you all very clearly some 3 weeks ago that you can
go into non-public session. I’ll call it but then I’m leaving. We participate in non-public
session here at this Board more, we haven’t been in non-public session as the Aldermen
and the Mayor since last December, but this Board goes into non-public session on a
routine basis and almost weekly. And when we leave there the discussions that we have
never stay there. So, regardless of the motion you would have made tonight I was pretty
clear that if there is a non-public session I’m not staying, I’m leaving.” Comm. Briggs
replied “I’m not insistent that it be in non-public. I believe it was the expression of the
person who spoke. It would be my preference to be public but to go by some guidelines
that protects whatever interests we have to protect the identity of any children or of
anyone affected. I don’t think anyone is out to point to an individual. We’re looking to a
process. They want to see the process corrected. I think it is very clear to me that while
we’re supposed to run the District consistent with community standards it is very clear by
the community out here that we’re at odds with community standards. It is important in
this case being that it has gone on and on and on and it is so well documented that we
hear their concerns. I think that is all that they want. They want us to hear their
concerns, acknowledge it, and ask ourselves is the handling by the District gone that we
think that it is and it is the direction that we have placed our confidence in. And is it
reaching any resolution? That’s all that we want. Acknowledge what we’ve heard and
see if there is any basis for continuing. I think it ends with acknowledgement and
listening to their concerns. They’re outstanding members of the community and they’re
worth being heard. One of their biggest concerns is how can a single squeaky wheel get
so much more attention than all of these other members. Again, they have abided by the
process at every issue and yet they don’t collectively get as much attention as potentially
the one squeaky wheel. I think it is time that we get this issue resolved.” Mayor Gatsas
asked “when would you propose this to happen?” Comm. Briggs replied “the very next
meeting of the Board of School Committee.”
       Vice Chair Gelinas said “I know this is a difficult issue for all of us but I think this
is an unprecedented move. In the 18 years or so that I have been on the Board, never has
the Board held a meeting with a particular group to hear a grievance that in the opinion of
that group was not being handled properly. I know community standards have been
mentioned here but sometimes community standards change with every issue. We do
have a policy or rules of the Board that all communication is to be handled through the
Superintendent. The parents have asked for a meeting with the Superintendent and he
has agreed to hold that meeting. I think we should allow the parents and the
Superintendent to hold that meeting. If from that meeting there are no solutions to come
about, then I think the motion that Comm. Briggs has made would be one that we would
want to consider at that time. I think we should allow the meeting with the


November 22, 2010                             21
Superintendent to go on, wait to see what happens from there, and then we can take it up
at a further date if need be.”
        Comm. Beaudry said “I would never want to disallow a constituent to come
forward to talk to the Board if they so choose. Comm. Gelinas is incorrect. I know of at
least 2 instances where community members have come forward. It was about athletics
again, and members came forward and talked at that time to the Athletic Committee
about the termination of a coach or something that dealt with athletics. So, constituents
have come forward and talked to Board members. I will support this motion because as I
just stated they are taxpayers and I would like to hear what they have to say.”
        Comm. Kelley said she is in favor of hearing what the members present have to say
but the next Board meeting scheduled for December 13 is not going to start until
8:00p.m. so it could be very late to have that happen. She didn’t know if this could be
done some time after the Coordination Committee meeting or something.
        Supt. Brennan said counsel was present this evening. He would ask she be allowed
to make some comments relative to the procedures to be followed and honored if this
were to go forward.
        Atty. Lauren Irwin, a partner of Upton & Hatfield, came forward. She said she is
concerned on behalf of the School District that a School Board meeting should be used to
entertain or to allow conduct of students who really are particularly identifiable at this
point because of previous coverage of the issues and if that happens in a public setting at
a public hearing even if the School Board members are not the ones making the
comments the concern would be that the School District would be creating a forum for
potential violations of FERPA or other laws in talking about individual identifiable
students. And at this point even if the students’ names aren’t used, I think the students
are identifiable. I am concerned about that. I am also concerned about public discussion
of disciplinary matters of employees. That is not supposed to be done in public session
either unless the individual employee asks that something be done in public session.
        She said “even if this were done in a private session with the Board I would
probably have the same concerns; not as high level because it wouldn’t be a public
hearing covered on television but there still would be the School District creating a forum
for airing of identifiable information about students. There is a real concern about this
issue not going through the Administration and rather going to the Board where the
students have been essentially identified at this point. I think there is grave concern and I
hope that the School Board members as well as the Administration understand the
concerns. FERPA is a pretty unforgiving law and it does have individual liability. I
would suggest that if Board members want to speak with the City Solicitor about those
issues you may want to do that before deciding whether you want to have a meeting
where parents are talking about people who are not their children who are identified
students.”
        Mayor Gatsas said “the City Solicitor doesn’t represent this Board.” Atty. Irwin
said “I was just coming up with an alternative if the Board wanted to have some advice
from another attorney.”
        Vice Chair Gelinas asked “if we were to conduct this meeting or hearing would the
Board be opening itself up to a lawsuit?” Atty. Irwin replied “I think there are some
concerns that would come from any of the students who are discussed that there could be
a claim for a FERPA violation. Typically, it would be the school sharing information,
but my concern would be if the forum was opened up and everyone was sort of going
back and forth talking about these students who have been identified, without the studens
permission or without their parents’ permission and really in direct knowledge of the
students and their parents’ objection to it happening, I think certainly is risk there of
litigation.” Vice Chair Gelinas asked “if the Board would have this meeting, could the
meeting be used in the part of some interests of using the Board as an avenue for a
lawsuit on their own part?” Atty. Irwin said she did not understand the question. She
asked “if the Board has this meeting could the meeting itself be……?” Vice Chair
Gelinas asked “could the Board be drawn into a situation where it would be being used so
that a lawsuit could be brought by the parents onto another parent or vice versa?” Atty.
Irwin said “I think it has the potential to sort of be a mess in that way. We clearly do
have people who have different interests here. That’s OK. I mean there is no problem
with people having different interests. The problem is some people talking about
someone else’s child in a way that is identifiable in a public setting.”
        Vice Chair Gelinas asked “would be required to have a meeting of this nature
under the same rules and guidelines that we have our expulsion hearings?” Atty. Irwin


November 22, 2010                            22
replied “I’d have to look into that. I would want to look into whether these issues could
possibly be cured in any way depending on the way that you conducted the hearing. I
think what you are asking is if you have a non-public session in some way would that
cure the issues. I’m not sure it would where there would be a mass of people coming to
the non-public hearing so there would be a lot of people here who were not the Board
talking about someone else’s child who is now publicly identifiable. I’m not sure it could
be cured by calling it a non-public session and not having it on television. I would want
to have our office further look into that and give you an opinion on it.” Vice Chair
Gelinas asked “what if the meeting or the hearing were in public?” Atty. Irwin said “I
think it would be definitely in-advisable and very risky for the School District to hold a
public meeting where people are talking about someone else’s children who are
identifiable at this point whether names are used or not without the students’ or their
parents’ permissions.” Vice Chair Gelinas asked “would we be pretty much forced
anyone that had an interest in this to bring their own attorney?’ Atty. Irwin replied “I
think there are risks all around to the School District, to individual Board members, to the
people who come here, to maybe participate. I think there are a variety of laws and
issues that could arise from it. FERPA has to do with information that comes from
student records but I think there is sort of a mixture of the student record issue because
sometimes people can be talking about histories and things that can cross into a public
record and I think there is a lot of danger here particularly by holding it in a public
setting.”
       Comm. Beaudry said “so to get it clear, if we were to go into non-public and the
Board itself says nothing and just takes in information we would be pretty much on safe
ground.” Atty. Irwin responded “you know I thought about that tonight and one reason
why I came tonight was that I wanted to listen if perhaps I should suggest that the Board
take a break if people spoke tonight. People seemed to be careful tonight. In my opinion,
there wasn’t anything that was said that spoke about a student who was identifiable in
particular, and so I didn’t jump in. I was prepared to say I think there is risk for the
School Board both to participate and also to allow this forum to be used to discuss
information that could be covered under FERPA.”
       Mayor Gatsas asked Atty. Irwin to explain what FERPA means for people that may
be watching the meeting. Atty. Irwin said “it’s the records’ procedures that are the
federal law that protects student records from disclosure. I don’t claim to be an expert on
FERPA so I can’t tell you for sure that you would be safe if you didn’t say anything but
the people who were here said something. My concern is that the School Board would be
creating this forum and that there would be some back and forth. Even if there wasn’t,
the concern is that this would be a setting that would be facilitated by the School District
and it could end up having a problem if there was talk about an identifiable student.”
       Comm. Beaudry said “we understand what the issue may be about but we really
don’t know what the individuals that would come forward would actually tell us until
they actually come forward. They may be able to speak eloquently enough to not violate
FERPA.” Atty. Irwin said “that is why I was listening tonight. I think it’s fine if people
talk generally if people talk about a bullying policy and that sort of thing and I think that
is really what we saw tonight. But I don’t expect, from my limited knowledge of the
situation, that is what would happen if the parents were told you’re to come talk about the
issues that you’ve raised with the Superintendent. I don’t think that would be the case. I
think there would be information that would be identifiable about certain students who
had not given permission.” Comm. Beaudry asked “the significance of coming out of
non-public and sealing the minutes, those minutes once they’re sealed, could they still be
subpoenaed by a court or are they sealed so that whatever is said in that meeting stays in
that meeting?” Atty. Irwin said “I think it would depend on a judge ruling on that issue.
I think a judge can probably take a position. Again, I would say that I’m not sure that
these problems would be cured by having a non-public session because there would be so
many people involved talking about someone else’s child in an identifiable way that
essentially the meeting itself, even if it were not broadcast on TV, would essentially be
considered public because all those people are there. So, I would want to look into that
issue to see if just calling it a non-public meeting actually does anything to protect
anyone.” Comm. Beaudry said “I do support listening to constituents but I want to make
sure that we are on legal ground. I would hope that before this meeting takes place that
we would have an opinion from our legal counsel on what we can do to protect the Board
from any litigation.”



November 22, 2010                            23
        Comm. Dolman said “I understand the concerns of the people involved. Is there
another way we could do this? For example, would it be feasible that since the concern
seems to be that they have not been heard, maybe we initiate the investigation again and
we allow these parents to be heard by an impartial party or by the same party that did the
initial investigation or whatever, so that they get their concerns heard but we’re not put at
risk. I know they have concerns and I think we need to hear their concerns but without
putting ourselves at any risk and by not breaking any laws so they can get themselves
heard. They want to be heard and maybe this would allow that to happen.”
        Comm. Briggs said “what I’m uncomfortable with is anyone telling me basically
that I can’t do my job. You know the Mayor was elected because of his specific
confidence to implement certain policies. This man over here, the Superintendent, was
hired to run the institution of the schools. I was elected to represent these people and
other people to make sure that the school system is run consistent with community
standards and that the rules and access and opportunities are equally applied. These
people back here and many others like them are telling me that they are on the verge of
losing faith in this important institution because of exactly those issues of inequality and
of a failing to apply policy and failing what we say we will do in the execution of our
schools. It has gone on so long and there have been so many reports and there are
inconsistencies with the reports that says to me further in order for me to do my job I
can’t risk any more to simply having them go forcing the Superintendent to talk to them.
I now need to hear what it is they are saying to ensure that it is being responded to
correctly. One of the other things that I do is I evaluate the Superintendent. I will need
to evaluate the Superintendent on this issue and the only way that I can do it is to see the
difference between the community and the execution. I need to do my job on this. I
think that my job is more important than some of the things that you are raising.” He said
“if you can suggest a process that we can do this to make sure that we don’t trample on
anyone’s rights….I don’t think anyone here and I certainly don’t see anyone back there
being willing to trample on rights. Certainly no one has mentioned anything about 2
children. We’re talking about a process. We’re talking about how these issues of
bullying and false reporting get reported and controlled and get acted upon, the very
policies that we are here to vote upon. These people have testimony that would affect our
interpretation of these policies before we vote on them. What you are telling me is I can’t
do my job and I just cannot respect that. If you can provide me guidance with how to
conduct this, I would appreciate that, but I’m going to do my job. I was elected to
represent them and other people. And so were we all. We must represent. We’re not
here to lead, we’re here to represent, at least sitting at these desks.”
        Atty. Irwin said she appreciates the Committee Member’s comments. Certainly
legal counsel would not be telling anyone what you can and cannot decide on policy
issues. Their concern is about public disclosure of facts that are supposed to be private.
She would welcome the opportunity to have their office try to figure out a way that the
Board if they choose to directly hear concerns if there is way that can be done without
violating FERPA or any other laws. She did not jump up when someone was talking
about what they’d like to see in the bullying policy. It might be that you want to talk
about the policy generally with what people would like to see with the practices or the
procedures in the policy for bullying without having to do with anything to a specific
issue. I can’t see there would be a problem with that but her concern is that is not what is
going to happen and that is not what she thinks is expected to happen. She doesn’t put
any ill will or any motives to anyone who wants to come to share their problems. They’ve
asked to come to share their concerns and hopefully we can figure out a way to do it
without violating any laws. That is what they will try to look into. It may be that things
have to go in a different direction than a Full Board meeting that would end up being
public because the laws are strict on talking about individual students.
        Comm. Briggs said “I appreciate what you are saying and I appreciate the
obligation that you have being an attorney and the obligation you have to your client.
But we cannot take a dilution. We need to hear with our own ears what these people
have to say. I completely agree with Comm. Beaudry. We don’t have to reply, we just
have to listen. We might conclude that a lot of what they say doesn’t hold water. We can
figure that out. We need to hear what the issues are and the difference between public
opinion and what they think is a big issue and how the handling of that has been. We
don’t even know if what is being investigated is what the people think is being
investigated because we don’t necessarily know all of the facts either. Maybe thw rong
thing is being investigated. I don’t know. But there is enough concern out there by


November 22, 2010                            24
people of the community that we are supposed to represent that it is time that we hear
them so that we can do our job on this. We can’t diminish or dilute it or allow some any
other thing to prevent us from doing our job. There must be some constitutional reason
that we were voted in and put here to begin with and we have a job to do that can’t be
superceded by many of these things that you are alluding to.”
        Atty. Irwin replied “I would only point out there are privacy laws that control what
school districts do with information in many different areas. There are certain situations
where student information cannot be shared. I’m sure the Board has seen that.
Sometimes the Board has seen that with personnel information. Certainly, with student
information it’s a primary concern that students’ personal information is not shared in
certain settings. Certainly we would be willing to look into how there may be some way
for the Board to hear all this. I can tell you that generally investigations are not shared
just generally with the public. Investigations are not generally shared that way. If you’re
talking about telling a group of citizens what happened in an investigation where there
was a student complaint, I think there may be problems with that as well. We’ll
definitely have to look at that. You know, I really want to protect the students of this
City as well as the Administration and the Board.”
        Comm. Dolman said “I understand Comm. Briggs’ concern. I strongly support
constituents and I want to hear their concerns. We never heard the other concerns directly
either. That went through an investigation. We were supposed to remain neutral and stay
out of it in case we had to be involved in the process. I want to keep the playing field
equal. Let’s keep the playing field equal. I want to hear their concerns but let their
concerns be directed to legal counsel or let their concerns be directed to a 3rd party or
somebody. If they feel they are not getting a fair shake at the administrative level, then
let’s give this to a 3rd party and let them hear it and like we did with the investigation
originally, and then let them report back to us if there is legitimacy to their concerns. I
think that way we’re not put at risk and everyone has had equal opportunity. I do feel it
is important that their concerns are listened to.”
        Comm. Avard said “this is a really difficult situation. I really have to take the
FERPA law seriously. In my profession I have to follow HIPPA laws and it is the same
kind of thing. It’s the protection of the individual. I don’t know what the answer is. I
can propose something to see what you think of it. What if we had closed doors with
cameras off in non-public with sealing records afterwards with individuals or individual
family units coming in? They would come in and give us their testimony and then they
would leave. If we would do it that way, would we be required or would it be in our best
interest to invite anybody who could reported about to be here with their attorney so they
would have an opportunity to argue or cross-examine or to challenge anything even being
brought out that they’d feel would be in harm of their family unit? I’m just questioning
because I don’t know what is the best answer to this.”
        Atty. Irwin replied “I think we really want to look at that. I’m definitely going to
go back to the office and talk with the other school attorneys to see if we can figure out a
way that would not violate any law and would allow people to come directly to talk about
someone else’s child to the Board. I just an not sure that there is a cure for it. I think one
thing you are pointing out is certainly if the students and the parents agreed to some
process and agreed that it wouldn’t be violating the law, you know that would be fine. I
can’t say I have a great amount of hope that would happen.”
        Mayor Gatsas asked Supt. Brennan if there has been a meeting attempted to be set
up with him with regards to this. Supt. Brennan replied “yes, sir, actually I did respond
to a request and I am just waiting to set one up.” Mayor Gatsas said “this is a very
sensitive issue, extremely sensitive, for all people concerned and not just the citizens that
are sitting here but citizens of the City. I would ask that if Dr. Brennan has a meeting set
up that they have an opportunity to talk to Dr. Brennan…….” Someone in the audience
made a comment. Mayor Gatsas said “I understand but he is looking to respond.” Supt.
Brennan stated “I did respond, Your Honor, I responded today and I said to contact the
office for a meeting.” Mayor Gatsas said “I see heads nodding back there. I assume you
responded to somebody.” A gentleman in the audience said “the response was made to
me to a request that I made 6 weeks ago.” Supt. Brennan said “that’s right.”
        Mayor Gatsas said “let’s not get into a…..you know, non-public session with this
Board never stays non-public. I don’t know what the propensity is but I know the press
loves it because they get information. That is why regardless of this situation I will never
sit in in another non-public session of this Board because I think it is unfair to people that
discussions that you hear end up leaving these walls and make the newspaper. We have


November 22, 2010                            25
pretty good reporters that do their work well and I don’t begrudge them that but I just
won’t participate because I don’t think it is fair.”
       Comm. Kelley said “if we’re concerned of having them come to us as a Full Board
as an issue what would prevent them from having a few members, especially the few
members that represent them in wards 1, 2, 3, 4 come to those Committee members.
There is not a quorum. Those members that represent them……” Mayor Gatsas said “it
is a quorum if any of those people sit on the same committee. If there are 3 of them that
sit on the same committee then it is a quorum.” Vice Chair Gelinas said 3 of those
members sit on the Student Conduct Committee and on the Building & Sites Committee.
Comm. Kelley said “so 3 members instead of 4 members sit together. What I’m trying to
do is to allow these constituents the opportunity to have their ear and to be heard so that
they can feel as though they’re being represented and we can feel that we’re doing our
job. If there is an informal way where we go to them instead of them coming to us where
we can circumvent some of these other issues that may arise, it’s an informal
conversation among certain Board members and their constituents.” Mayor Gatsas said
“the right-to-know law is very clear.” Comm. Kelley said “assuming there is not a
quorum of anything.” Mayor Gatsas said “I have a tough time getting a meeting in my
office with 3 members that I’m trying to have conversation with that are on the same
committee.”
       Atty. Irwin said “I would point out there has been some litigation, sort of the idea
that no good deed goes unpunished. Some times when Board members do some informal
thing to try to participate and then act as an appellate body, there can be problems with
arguments of bias. There is a case that went up to the NH Supreme Court that went to a
bias issue. It is a concern that people meet informally and sort of get involved in
administrative work and then it is very difficult for them to serve as the appellate body
without at least an allegation of a bias.”
       Comm. Kelley said “I would agree with that except that we have a duty to our
constituents, every single one of us here. I would sit with them any day, I would sit down
and I would talk with you. That’s my job. That is what I’m elected to do. You have
concerns and I am going to listen to you. What I do with that after that is my constituent
service. That is what I do. All of us feel as though we are not doing that. We’re not
doing our jobs. So there has to be a way that these people’s needs are met and there isn’t
a disconnect between what is going on with the Administration……They’re unhappy.
They feel as though they have been dealing with this for months now and they’re not
getting any response. As a representative I feel that is a terrible feeling. I have received
these emails because they go through the Administration. We let them go through the
Administration and the Administration, the Superintendent, updates us. But it is
frustrating. I’m sitting here looking at them and they’re here every single time. They’re
fighting not necessarily for what happened but to resolve so that it doesn’t happen again
in the future. That’s our job. To make sure that policies are enacted so that in the future
these things don’t go this way. And that their concerns are met. We need to do this.
That is what we were elected to do. We’re here for constituent services and to provide
the best education that we can for the children in the City of Manchester. That’s why I’m
here. There has to be a way that if we can’t meet as a Full Board then we can meet
individually with these parents. There has to be a way.”
       Atty. Irwin said “I appreciate what you’re saying. I will certainly give some
thought as to whether the Board can do something on this to meet as a group or
individually without violating the laws. I want you to hear what I said about discussion
of policies going forward and writing policies and the Board’s position on certain
policies, that doesn’t present a problem from what I can tell. That is why I didn’t stand
up tonight because I think constituents can always talk about the way they’d like to see
policies or amended for general use in the school.”
       Comm. Herbert said “I’m uncomfortable with the Board sitting as a body and
hearing that kind of testimony when there is significant disagreement. You don’t have to
say the names at this point in time. What I am comfortable doing; however, I mean one-
on-one I can hear anything from a constituent and that’s fine. It’s also my job to make a
decision that may or may not be satisfactory to the person that is talking to me. But I
would at least listen. I would prefer that if we’re going to act at all in this that it be
specific because I don’t really have an understanding of what specific rule or regulation
or guideline that is felt was ignored or not applied evenly or fairly. I would rather that be
very specific and then we can sit down and discuss the policies or guidelines that
apparently were not well applied. I mean, we may have the right guidelines and they


November 22, 2010                            26
weren’t applied. We may have the wrong guidelines and therefore we mis-applied
actions. I really don’t know. I’ve heard the stories but I really don’t know what is being
asked of me other than to listen. I’m very uncomfortable getting involved in doing that
as a body. I think once we do it as an official body the simple fact of the matter is the
other children have the same rights that any of the children do and I’m concerned and I
don’t want to be put in a position officially making choices there because I don’t think
that is my job. I think my job here is to apply of find out what is not being applied fairly
in our existing regulations and then if we can fix that, fix it. I don’t have a problem at all
doing that and having employees understand that there are no exceptions to these
guidelines. You know what I’m saying, it’s not your job. You stick within these
regulations and apply them fairly and if somebody is upset about that there is your
regulation and you do this or you’re not on the team. I have no problem doing that.”
       He said “if I’m being asked to do something as a Board member I want it to be
specific. I don’t really care what the stories are behind it. It’d be interesting to know
where they were mis-applied. I feel there were probably regulations and guidelines in
our existing structure that were not applied fairly and uniformally. If that’s the issue,
then we can deal with that on the employee side. I think at this point we have maybe
clumsily reversed a decision already and made a movement but if we’re missing
something, then fine, I want to see it and have it explained to me. You can do it one-on-
one and then I’ll deal with it in the best way that I feel I can. I don’t want a public
hearing of any kind or a private hearing of any kind that definitely deals with a 3rd party.
We’ve skirted this a couple of times in other instances and I’m very uncomfortable with
it and I don’t think it is in the Board’s position or responsibility to put itself or any
children in jeopardy at all. And I’m not going to be a party to it.”
       Comm. Dolman said “I’m going to reiterate the fact and based on the reaction I
saw when we said to meet with the Administration it appears that they feel they have
communicated with the Administration and did not get anywhere. I see that in their
reactions to what is being said. I understand the laws that we have to watch out for and
that is why I’ve said maybe a 3rd party, to have a neutral 3rd party to listen to their
concerns and hear what their problems are who would then report back to the Board and
letting us know what policies they feel that we need to change so this doesn’t happen
again. I think that gives it the same avenue as the other situation. I’m just trying to be
fair because I too am concerned about constituent service. There are laws so we have to
be careful. I saw their reaction to meeting with the Administration and I think that maybe
someone else needs to hear their concerns.”
       Comm. Briggs said “I believe that the person that these people go to when they
can’t get any response from the people who were hired to run the school system, the last
opportunity is to go to their elected officials. That’s us. That’s our job. It’s to listen to
this once it has gone too far and it has gone on too long. And it has gone too far. One of
the things that has been mentioned has been safety. I have read every one of these
emails. What I’ve seen in there with several occasions was safety, child safety, and that
is why I think it needs to be brought up. We need to hear this. We are the last resort. It
has gone on too long. We need to hear it. It is our job. It’s not some 3rd party’s job. It is
not up to some attorney to tell us the process that we have to listen. This is our job to
listen. If we want to suggest that there is a way to conduct ourselves in a public forum
with respect to what you shouldn’t mention with names etc., that’s fine. I think any one
of them back there can oblige that and take responsibility for their own concerns. And if
you say that we’re here to listen to them without getting interactive, that’s fine too. But it
has gone too long and it is time for us to hear what their story is and the difference
between what we think is being investigated and what is actually being investigated and it
is time for us to do what we are elected to do which is to reconcile the difference between
the reality of our institutions and the public opinion and expression of how they should be
run. That is why I would argue with the members here tonight that we need to move
forward on this motion and we need to hear them. That’s all. If you can come back with
a set of guidelines or with rules for doing that that allows us to do our job and allows
them to stand before us and communicate their concerns and allows us to make a decision
based on information, I would appreciate that. I want to do my job without my hands tied
behind my back.”
       Atty. Irwin replied “I certainly will do my best to try to come up with some
guidelines. I would just point out attorneys don’t make decisions for a school district.
All we can do is to advise you what the consequences of what you choose to do. That is
what we would do is to tell you what the consequence is if you decided to go in one


November 22, 2010                            27
direction or another. It’s the School Board’s decision and we would only give advice on
that.”
       Comm. Avard said “I agree with Comm. Briggs’ entire sentiment and we do need
to bring this thing forward and deal with the issue but I’m not comfortable voting on this
motion, at least I’m not in favor of this motion until we have some clarification from the
attorneys as to the legalities that we place not only on ourselves but on every single
person that testifies; the Administration, the people on the receiving end of the discussion
and the complaints. I think there are too many people at risk until we have something
clearly defined. Every single one of these parents is welcome to contact any Board
member and many of them have. My in-box on my email has been smoking. Because
we have been getting so much information. That’s how we represent our people and we
bring forward the problems or the complaints from there. As much as I support with
going forward with resolving this issue, I think we need to have some very clear answers
before I’m willing to vote to have such a meeting. Barring that he cannot support the
motion made tonight.
       Comm. Dolman said he has spoken with some of these parents, they have called
him about some of the issues or other parents have spoken of other issues with programs
at different schools. They know he is available and they can talk with him. He is
concerned that nobody is put at risk. He believes in constituent service also. If I disagree
with the way we may be doing this it doesn’t mean we don’t believe in constituent
service. I take that a little personally because I strongly believe in constituent service and
I want to hear their concerns but I want to do it in a way where everybody is protected;
including myself because I don’t want to leave myself open to any kind of lawsuit.”
       Comm. Avard made a motion to table the motion made by Comm. Briggs
regarding meeting with the constituents to allow for the attorney to investigate and
bring back information to the Board at another meeting as to how we can
accomplish this is in a legal manner. Comm. Dolman seconded the motion. The
motion passed by unanimous vote.
       Comm. Beaudry said there was no timing to the tabling motion. He asked if the
attorney would be coming to the December Board meeting. Atty. Irwin said if she can’t
come to that meeting she would see about having one of the other school attorneys could
come. Comm. Beaudry said there isn’t a second Board meeting scheduled for December
so this could go to the January meeting. It sounds like most Committee members would
like to get this resolved so if this can be scheduled for the December 13 meeting he
would appreciate it.
       Mayor Gatsas said if the group of parents want to meet with him they could meet
anytime. His door is always open.

       Comm. Avard said it has come to his attention that students at a particular school in
the District have been told they are not allowed to use the words ‘Christmas’ or
‘Hanukah’. He said “I think this is a disgrace and I think that turning very simple words
into dirty words and when we’re banning them in our schools and I don’t think we should
be censoring what any student says in any of our schools.” Comm. Avard made a motion
to create that no employee in the District shall make or enforce any rule that prohibits the
use of the words “Christmas’ or “Hanukah’. Mayor Gatsas asked “is there a rule like
that?” Comm. Avard said “they’re creating it in the classrooms and in the buildings so I
want us to make a rule to prohibit them from enforcing any in-house rules of that sort.”
       Vice Chair Gelinas asked whether the Superintendent has heard of this. He said “I
don’t want to pass a rule just on hearsay.” Mayor Gatsas asked if Dr. Brennan has been
made aware of this. Supt. Brennan replied “no, sir, this is the first I have heard of this.”
Comm. Avard said “well then I’ll turn it into a directive to the Superintendent to
investigate why students in certain classrooms are being told they can’t use the words
“Christmas’ or “Hanukah’. I think it is a disgrace that we start removing these terms
from this season. Supt. Brennan said “I will follow up, absolutely.”

NON-PUBLIC SESSION
      Mayor Gatsas said the next item on the agenda is regarding going into non-public
session for the discussion of matters covered under RSA 91-A:3, Section II. Supt.
Brennan said there was no reason to go into non-public session at this meeting.

ADJOURNMENT
    Comm. Herbert made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Comm. DeBlasi seconded


November 22, 2010                            28
the motion. The motion passed by unanimous vote. The meeting was adjourned at
10:05p.m.

A TRUE RECORD ATTEST:



Suzanne O. Sears
Clerk of the Board




November 22, 2010                       29

				
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