The Windham School Board will be holding a meeting on Tuesday, June 9, 2015 at 7:30 PM at the Windham Town Hall. Please join Windham LINK at the meeting to show your support for our schools, teachers, and administrators. Following is an update from the June 2, 2015 School Board Meeting.
During public input it was asked if all of the Windham School District Administrators and Directors have been offered contracts for the coming school year. Those who are certified were renominated in April and typically would expect to see their contract in April or early May with a July 1 start date. Administrators and Directors are part of the non-union pool of School District employees and have been working with the District to amend the terms of their compensation and benefits for over a year.
The district’s Business Administrator, Adam Steel, who has been acting as a liaison between the Administrators and the Board, stated the negotiations began because in his opinion the “Administrators wanted to be adequately compensated.” He went on to say, “They (the Administrators) would prefer contracts. They are nervous and anxious about it.”
After public input and Board discussion, Dennis Senibaldi made a motion “To approve the signing of Administrator's contracts, as they currently are, with revisions to happen as soon as possible that are considered fair and equitable by Administrators and the District.” The motion was seconded by Rob Breton. The motion failed 2-3. (Tom Murray, Daniel Popovici-Muller, Ken Eyring opposed.)
Business Administrator, Adam Steel, along with Russo Bar, a professional firm hired by the District, recommended the replacement of Windham Center School roofs sections “C & E” this summer. A motion made by Dennis Senibaldi, "to replace the roofs as outlined by the Business Administrator for Windham Center School roof sections C & E.” The motion was seconded by Rob Breton. The motion failed 1-4. (Tom Murray, Daniel Popovici-Muller, Ken Eyring, Rob Breton opposed.)
The Board discussed conducting a survey to get information from school staff and the public about education issues, including public opinion about facilities. Preliminary quotes for the survey range from $8,300 - $27,000, depending on the scope of outreach. Based on these quotes, the Board voted to 3-2 to move forward with the survey with Panorama Education as proposed. (Rob Breton, Dennis Senibaldi opposed.)
The School Board is creating an Interim Superintendent Search Committee. Interviews of potential candidates will begin in mid-June. If the Board does not find a suitable candidate at that time, the Board will appoint an acting or interim superintendent. Rob Breton suggested that the Board appoint Adam Steel as acting superintendent to take advantage of the time that Superintendent Feneberg is still here.
One resident expressed disappointment that the Board did not take into consideration the extensive public input that encouraged the Board to appoint an interim superintendent, rather than going through a search process. Mr. Feneberg said that he does not want the Board to underestimate the job at hand. He stated, “It is a complex job”, and went on to say the Board should, “be mindful that as much transition time as you can give whoever comes in is going to be beneficial to the District as well as the person.”
Golden Brook School Facilities/Option 2+
During last week’s meeting, Tom Murray asked that other professionals be brought into the Option 2 review process. He also noted that he would like to use the survey data and information to then make an informed decision.
A motion was made by Dennis Senibaldi "to move forward with Phase 2 of Option 2 as prescribed by the Business Administrator." The motion failed 3-2. (Tom Murray, Daniel Popovici-Muller, Ken Eyring opposed.) A second motion was made by Tom Murray "to engage groups B & C with K-8 educational experience and disclose that they have worked for or with any school board member in the past." The motion passed 4-1. (Dennis Senibaldi opposed.)
There is a lot going on in the Windham School District. Windham LINK would like to encourage you to be part of the process and attend a School Board meeting, write a letter, and/or thank a teacher TODAY. Your support matters and does make a difference. Thank you!
The next School Board meeting is at 7:30pm on Tuesday, June 9, 2015 at the Town Hall.
The Agenda has been set for the Tuesday, June 2, 2015 School Board Meeting which will be held at 7 PM at the Windham Town Hall. (Please note the change in location.)
Opening remarks are expected to include an update by Business Administrator Adam Steel on Option 2 and specifically he will be reporting on the consultation that was had with architects, site/civil, structural and MEP (Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing) engineers, the Fire Department, Administrators, School Board members, and Facilities Committee representatives.
Mr. Steel is requesting $87,500 to contract with Eckman Construction, Lavallee Brensinger, and Tighe & Bond for the purpose of developing a conceptual site plan, a code-compliant conceptual building design, and a project budget for the proposed GBS renovation/addition and the Middle School renovation.
Some of the information that can be found in the Agenda Packet for the 6/2 meeting is:
Meeting Agenda Items for June 2nd Include:
The School Board held a meeting on Tuesday, May 26, 2015 at Windham High School. The meeting was scheduled as a continuation of the previous week's meeting. Agenda items included Goal Setting and an update on Golden Brook School Facilities.
After calling the meeting to order, the School Board opened the meeting to public comment. The first person to speak was Windham Middle School Principal, Dan Moulis, who read a letter to the School Board on behalf of Principal Kathy Bates, Principal Rory O’Connor, and himself. They advocated that the District hire an Interim Superintendent. The letter endorsed and recommended the District's Business Administrator, Adam Steel, for the Interim Superintendent position. Current Superintendent, Winfried Feneberg, resigned in April, leaving the position vacant as of July 1, 2015.
Public comment continued for an hour or more, with the majority of residents encouraging the Board to take swift action and appoint an interim Superintendent. The School Board plans to conduct a search for an interim Superintendent and told the public that internal and external candidates can apply for the position. (Windham LINK previously stated that the Board voted not to assign the position to an internal candidate. The correct information is the Board has not decided to appoint an internal candidate.)
The first agenda item was Goal Setting. The Board distributed a spreadsheet that listed categories, projects, due dates and responsibility assignments. After extensive public input, the Board indicated they would form a sub-committee to further define their goals.
The second agenda item was an update on Golden Brook School Facilities. At a previous meeting, the Board authorized Adam Steel to consult with architects, site/civil, structural and MEP (Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing) engineers, the Fire Department, Administrators, School Board members, and Facilities Committee representatives. The group met on May 11, 2015 with Adam Steel and is scheduled to present its findings to the Board on June 2, 2015.
School Board member Tom Murray expressed an interest in gathering more input regarding options and pros & cons of different solutions. Murray indicated that he reached out to additional groups to ask if we might be able to have them offer a second and third opinion on the facilities project. The Board decided to ask the Superintendent to have Adam Steel conduct exploratory vetting of the second and third groups Murray recommended. The vetting is to determine if the groups are qualified as vendors for our District in order to proceed in reviewing the feasibility of the Option 2+ project.
To view the Board Meeting, click here or go to the following website wctv.pegcentral.com.
The next SB Meeting is Tuesday, June 2, 2015 at 7 PM at the Community Development Department.
We would like to encourage you to attend the Windham School Board Meeting on Tuesday, May 26 at 7 PM at the High School.
We ask you to consider what this will mean for our district and join us at the next school board meeting in support of appointing an interim superintendent by July 1.
Some things to consider:
1. We should appoint an interim Superintendent by July 1, based on the fact that we have several internal candidates who are qualified, including Adam Steel, Kori Becht, Rory O’Connor and Bob Dawson. (Dan Moulis is also qualified but has resigned as principal of the Middle School).
2. We have a new Principal at the High School and will have a new Assistant Principal at the High School, a new Assistant Principal at Center School, and a new Principal at Middle School. With so many changes in school leadership, it would be in the best interests of the District to appoint someone who is highly qualified and familiar with the day-to-day operations of our schools.
3. The School Board relies on the guidance and leadership of the Superintendent to determine the educational goals of the District, develop long-range plans and identify short-term objectives. In turn, the Superintendent is responsible for overall administration and leadership services of the District, including:
NEW MEETING ADDED: Special School Board Meeting on Tuesday, May 26, 2015 at 7 PM at Windham High School. Please plan to attend this meeting as the Board will be discussing Goal Setting for the coming year and giving an update on facilities.
Superintendent Search Update and Timeline
Early May - The Windham School Board learned of the resignation of Superintendent Winfried Feneberg. His last day in this position is June 30, 2015.
May 5, 2015 - School Board meeting with public input then a non-public discussion regarding the Superintendent search.
May 19, 2015 - Superintendent search on the agenda for discussion. There are several current Windham School District Administrators who are qualified for the position of Superintendent. Public input was heard whether to appoint an internal Administrator to serve as interim Superintendent, due to the impending vacancy on July 1, 2015, or to conduct a search to include outside applicants. The Board voted 3-2 to conduct a search for an interim Superintendent.
July 1, 2015 - Start date of an appointed Superintendent or Superintendent position is vacant.
A typical Superintendent search can last 5-7 months and cost between $12,000 - $20,000. Ted Comstock, the Executive Director of the New Hampshire School Boards Association, recently stated that in New Hampshire,“there are many more vacancies for good superintendents than there are good superintendents to fill those.” This was reiterated by Mr. Feneberg, who also noted the long hours and demands of the job that keep qualified candidates from pursuing a career as a Superintendent. In Windham, the Superintendent is responsible for managing a District of nearly 3,000 students, a $43 million budget, and the day-to-day operations that go along with that position.
The School Board has included Goal Setting on the Agenda for three meetings since March. Goal Setting is an opportunity for the Board to discuss what they hope and plan to achieve as a collective body. During the meeting on May 19th, the Board decided to table that discussion and will include it in an additional meeting to be held next week, on Tuesday, May 26, 2015 at 7:00pm at WHS. Goals, objectives and expected outcomes are important for establishing the educational direction of the School District and something Principals, teachers and staff look to for guidance. Goal setting is an essential part of planning for our School District and it is important that the Board move forward with this discussion as soon as possible.
New Assistant Principals at Windham Center School and Windham High School
Two new Assistant Principals have been hired in Windham. Our new Center School Assistant Principal, Kimberly Freccero, comes to Windham from the Nashua School District where she was an Elementary School math and science Instructional Lead. She joins Principal, Kathy Bates.
The new Windham High School Assistant Principal, Matthew Malila, was a teacher and the Chair of the Science Department at Exeter High School. He joins Bob Dawson who was recently promoted from Assistant Principal to his new role as Principal of WHS. Please join Windham LINK in welcoming Kimberly Freccero and Matthew Malila to our School District!
Windham LINK attended the School Board meeting on Tuesday, May 5, 2015 at the Community Development Department. The agenda contained important items such as Goal Setting, the High School Accreditation, and Facilities. Below is an update on these and other items that were discussed at the meeting.
State Funding for Education
Members of the Windham School Board and Administration will meet with the Superintendent and School Board member(s) of the Bedford School District to discuss legislation regarding changes to the way NH funds education. The current formula for distributing education adequacy funds prohibits towns from receiving more than 108% of what they received the previous year, regardless of student population growth. According to a recent article in the Eagle Tribune, “since Fiscal Year 2012, the Windham School District has lost out on $11.7 million.”
Track and Grass Field Presentation
Windham High School Assistant Track Coach, Marjorie Dastous, appealed to the School Board to include a Warrant Article for a track and grass field on the ballot in March 2016. Currently there are 65 students on the Windham High School Track Team and 115 on the Windham Middle School Team. These teams practice on busy roads, dirt trails, and in parking lots. She noted safety concerns, injuries from training on pavement, and reminded the Board that other sports teams and the Windham community would also benefit from a track. The Board requested that Business Administrator, Adam Steel, use the track plans that were designed in 2008 to seek bids for review. To watch the video Marjorie presented to the Board, click here.
NEASC Accreditation Report
Windham High School Vice Principal, Rob Dawson, gave a presentation about the report received from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), the organization that oversees the school accreditation process. Mr. Dawson shared the committee’s commendations and recommendations. The full report can be viewed here.
School Board Goal Setting
The School Board presented its list, in no particular order, of various goals they would like to see addressed in the coming year. Some of the items included:
The timeline for moving forward with an addition and renovation of Golden Brook School and a renovation to Windham Middle School was presented by the Business Administrator. Mr. Steel expects to present a rough conceptual design of what Option 2 would look to the Board on June 2, 2015. Assuming the Board approves the conceptual design, the District will move forward to narrow the cost basis by September. This would involve having an architect draw up a conceptual design, a site person doing sight plan, and a construction manager would then do a cost estimate on the whole process.
The School Board Meeting on April 21, 2015 began with the Board reading into the record a statement they wrote to the public regarding the release of confidential documents by Ken Eyring. According to the statement, the Board met with counsel on April 7 and again on April 14. The statement says, “From those meetings, the board has learned that not all attorney-client communication is privileged and confidential, even if marked as such. In opinion of the school districts counsel the letters in question were covered by the attorney client privilege, however it was deemed by counsel that the release was a minor mistake.”
The statement goes on to say, “While there may be occasions when the release of privileged and confidential attorney-client communication is helpful to voters and helpful to the School Board, the fact is that the authority to release privileged and confidential attorney-client communication belongs to the full School Board when it is convened in accordance with the Right-to-Know Law and to the duly-authorized administrative officials. A single board member acting alone has no authority or right to bind the board or the district.” The School Board did not discuss any consequences or offer an apology to the pulic regarding this issue.
The Citizens Facilities Committee presented its plan for Option 2 which recommends a renovation and addition to Golden Brook School as well as renovations to Windham Middle School. The Board approved the recommendation and asked the Business Administrator to move forward with getting quotes from an architect and engineering firm as well as other professionals to begin fully vetting the proposal. Preliminary figures by the Citizens Facilities Committee estimate the project to cost $17.2 million.
The Windham PTA presented Employee Appreciation plaques to Stephen J. Plocharczyk, who served as the first principal at WMS and to employees who retired with 30 or more years of service in the Windham School District, including Nancy Donegan, Donna Maroon, Judith Newcomb, Joan Tsoukalas, Stephen Plocharczyk, Nancy Fahey, and Judith Kryzynski, Eileen Frigon, James Flynn, Kathleen Barry, Mary Beth LaSalle, Joyce Bohenko, Coralyn Mangelinckx, Rose Boda, James Burns, and Doreen Mercier. Please join the PTA and Windham LINK in thanking all of these administrators and teachers for their years of service and dedication to our children.
Windham LINK attended the Citizens Facilities Committee Meeting on Monday, April 13, 2015.
In order to best meet the educational needs of the students, the Administration and District employees requested that approximately 8,000 square feet of space be added to the plan for Option 2 to accommodate: a more adequate sized media center/library, special education rooms, office space, storage space and the appropriate number of classrooms needed per grade at Golden Brook School.
The Facilities Committee was receptive to input provided by the Administration and District employees, adding the requested space to the plan that will be presented at the next School Board Meeting.
The next Facilities Committee meeting on April 20, 2015 will focus on refining the presentation that will be shared with the School Board in hopes of receiving approval to expend the previously budgeted funds for an Architecture and Engineering firm to review the plans for Option 2.
Windham LINK highly recommends that the public attend the presentation to the School Board to learn more about Option 2 and the plans to solve the overcrowding in our District. The Committee is hoping to present at the School Board meeting on April 21, 2015.
Please like WindhamLINK on FB for an agenda update or follow @WindhamLINK on Twitter. You can also watch the School Board meeting live on Channel 20. (Replays can be watched on WCTV by clicking here.)
Windham LINK attended the Citizens Facilities Committee Meeting on Monday, April 6, 2015. There was a large turnout including District educators and administrators who raised questions about whether an Elementary School of the magnitude being considered (1000 students, grades Pre-K - 4) is feasible and would best meet the educational needs of our children.
School District employees who attended the meeting included the GBS Principal, Library and Media Specialist, and a PE teacher. The meeting was also attended by the District’s Director of Student Services. According to school employees, the current plan is missing 9,000 sq. ft. of adequate space to accommodate a media center/library, special education rooms, storage, and offices at GBS alone. There was no discussion about the renovations to the Middle School that are included as part of Option 2, nor did they discuss how the 6th grade would be integrated into Center School.
Community members raised concerns about whether a “super-sized” school is setting our children up for failure. One attendee stated that less than 5% of elementary schools in the country are this size and research shows that test scores go down and negative behaviors increase proportionally with the size of a school.
Members of the audience and the Committee felt that if the proposed Option 2 is expanded to include the list of needs presented by School District employees and if the plan is feasible, then it could be a viable solution to the overcrowding in our District. However, Option 2 has not been reviewed by a professional architectural and engineering firm (A&E firm). An A&E firm would determine if the plan is possible on the site and if it can support 1,000 students/staff and the associated:
The next Citizens Facilities Committee Meeting will be on Monday, April 13, 2015 at 5PM at the SAU Building. The Committee is planning to present Option 2 to the School Board on April 21, though the agenda for that meeting has not been set. Both meetings are open to the public.
Windham LINK was part of a large crowd of community members who attended the Windham School Board Meeting on Monday, April 7, 2015. It was expected that the School Board would share the opinion of School District legal counsel regarding the allegations that Ken Eyring released confidential information to Mount Vernon State Representative William “Bill” O’Brien.
During public comment, residents encouraged the Board to update the public on what had transpired during the “non-meeting” that took place prior to the public School Board meeting. Specifically, residents wanted to know:
Also at the meeting, the Superintendent recommended that the School Board accept the nomination of Bob Dawson as the next Principal of Windham High School. The Board did not discuss the nomination during the meeting and gave no indication of whether or not they accepted the nomination. Mr. Dawson is currently the Assistant Principal at the High School.
We encourage residents to contact the School Board with any comments or concerns and/or attend next School Board Meeting on Tuesday, April 21, 2015 at 7 PM.
We welcome your comments, but you must be a real person. Please provide your first and last name. Any comments that are not viewed as appropriate by LINK will not be approved. Thank you!