LWV OBSERVER REPORT FORM
Board or Commission:
Date of Meeting: November 6, 2008
Members present: All
Nature of meeting Routine __X_____ Special_____________
Called to order (time):7:03 p.m. Adjourned (time): 9:53 p.m.
Main items on the agenda were the election of officers, an update on the superintendent search, acceptance of educational specifications for 5 school construction projects, enrollment projections, a report on progress towards district goals, and a presentation by the energy conservation committee.
The board unanimously reelected Terry Schmitt as chair, Jack Darcey as vice chair, Bruce Putterman as secretary, and Clare Kindall and Diane Mudge as financial examiners.
Eliza Holcomb of CABE Search Services presented to the board a leadership profile for a new superintendent of schools. The profile identifies the key characteristics desired in a candidate and was developed based on input from the search committee, the board, administrators, faculty, support staff, parents, and community members. The profile concludes that “a dynamic, innovative and highly visible educational leader with a quantifiable record of success in raising the achievement level of all students will best suit the needs of West Hartford Public Schools. The ideal candidate for this position will be a results-driven individual who recognizes human capital as the cornerstone of a first-class teaching and learning institution. The next superintendent must have superior communication skills and the ability to inspire others and build community confidence during an economic cycle that impacts voters. Consistent with this, the next superintendent should demonstrate financial acumen that encompasses budget development, fiscal responsibility and transparency, knowledge of alternative funding sources and creative solutions.” The full report may be viewed at http://www.whps.org/suptsearch/Leadership%20Profile%20-%20FINAL%20Report%20-%20November%202008.pdf. Ms. Holcomb indicated that a number of applicants have already expressed interest in the position, including some from out of state.
The board unanimously accepted educational specification for 5 construction projects valued at approximately $1.9 million. All were included in the Capital Improvement budget adopted by the board in February and are eligible for an estimated 40% reimbursement from the state.
They represent necessary maintenance and/or code compliance work at KP, Aiken, Conard, Norfeldt, and Bugbee. Assistant Superintendent Tim Dunn pointed out that, though most capital projects are on hold due to the fiscal environment, essential work continues.
Director of Finance and
Planning Chip Ward presented multi-year enrollment projections that, for the
first time in a decade, indicate a long-term decline in
The annual report on the new 2007-2011 board goals indicated that the district has met or nearly met almost all of the whole district goals—performance on CMT, CAPT, graduation rates, AP enrollment, parent/student satisfaction, and parent participation in conferences. Performance with respect to sub-groups continues to fall short, however. The areas most in need of improvement are minority results on the CMT and CAPT, the rate of improvement of students below mastery, and minority participation in athletics and extracurricular activities. Also, surveys indicate that many students believe there is a bullying problem in the schools. Though there are programs in place to combat bullying, Assistant Superintendent Tim Dunn acknowledged that more needs to be done in this area. Summary and full reports on board goals may be viewed at http://www.whps.org/board/agenda-documents/20081106/Board%20Goals%20-%202007-08%20-%20November%206,%202008.pdf and http://www.whps.org/board/agenda-documents/20081106/Goals%20review%2011-8-08%20full%20text%20with%20discipline%20.pdf.
Morley principal Ellen Stokoe, science teacher Tim Decker, and student Gerry Son reported on the efforts of the Energy Conservation Committee to reduce electricity consumption in every school by 10% during November, which could generate budget savings of $300,000 if continued over an entire year. To that end, they have initiated a Conservation Challenge where schools’ efforts will be tracked and a trophy awarded to the one with the largest reduction. Conard has already reduced its consumption by 24% this week. For more information see http://www.whps.org/conservationchallenge/.
The next board meeting will take place November 18 at 7:00 p.m. in room 314 at Town Hall.
Observer name: Kathy Wilson