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RSD #17 BOE Meeting Notes 2/6/18

By Kathy Brown.

On Tuesday, February 5, 2018, the Regional School District #17 Board of Education met in the Central Office board room at 57 Little City Road in Higganum. The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Board Chair, Joanne Nesti. One board member was late. Approximately 5 people were in the audience, including this reporter.

During the first public comment session, Chip Frey of Haddam spoke about the Board of Education’s focus, which he thought should be about education, and not about making a political statement, in response to a member of the Board kneeling during the Pledge of Allegiance. He suggested that if someone wanted to change social injustice that they volunteer in places that have bigger issues than our two communities.

Next on the agenda was approval of the meeting minutes, which was accomplished quickly.

One Act Play – photo by Vivek Badami

Nolan Serbent, student representative from Haddam Killingworth High School, gave a report on happenings at the high school. He mentioned the student-directed one-act plays that went on last weekend, and the upcoming Mr. H-K pageant (more information HERE).

Board Committee Reports were next on the agenda.

  • Facilities Subcommittee report was given by Eric Couture. They met recently to discuss the Capital Plan, and the process to add to the Capital Plan, as well as delay/snow day procedures. They also discussed the white barn on the HKHS campus; it is in need of structural repairs.
  • Finance Subcommittee report was given by Suzanne Sack. They reviewed the budget, and looked at short term borrowing for capital projects. Bids will be back soon. They reviewed the audit, which will be presented at the next meeting.
  • Policy Subcommittee report was given by Eric Couture. They are on the brink of bringing a stack of revised policies to the Board for consideration based on the lawyer’s recommendations of which policies needed to change first.
  • Communications Subcommittee report was given by Gerry Matthews. They met January 11. They would like to change public perception of the Board and they want to regain the public’s trust. Gerry said they wanted to use social media to show that the Board is independent of the school system. He also said that he would like to change the mission statement of the Board. Superintendent Thiery clarified that the present mission statement is for the school district, not just the Board. Gerry said he will propose a mission statement for the Board and bring it forward at a future meeting.
  • Personnel and Evaluation Subcommittee report was given by Suzanne. Nurses’ Contract negotiations are about to begin. And they need to ratify the Support Staff contract.
  • The Strategic Capital Planning Subcommittee report was not given because they had a later report during the Old Business section of the agenda.

Board Liaison Reports came next. There were no reports from the Healthy Communities-Healthy Kids Coaltion, or the Haddam or Killingworth Board of Selectmen, however it was noted that the First Selectmen of both towns recently came in and talked to Joanne Nesti, Suzanne Sack, and Superintendent Thiery about reducing costs through shared services. There was no report from the H-K Parks & Recreation liaison. Suzanne Sack gave the report for LEARN liaison, where she noted that the East Haddam Superintendent presented their district’s STEM program, and they approved a contract.

For Old Business, Doug Rogers of CREC spoke about the boiler project at the high school. The bids came in, and the Public Building Committee recommended going with the lowest bidder, M J Daly, a Waterbury based company, who was also the most qualified bidder. The contract will be to install new dual fuel boilers at the high school, as well as abatement work, and new piping. The motion was made to award the contract for $2,185,000 to M J Daly by Sue Twachtman, and it was unanimously approved after more discussion.

The Strategic Capital Planning Committee Report was made by Suzanne Sack. The two upcoming informational meetings on February 8 and February 21 were discussed at length. The purpose of those informational sessions is to “inform, dispel misinformation, and answer any and all questions,” said Committee Chair, Suzanne. The meetings will be recorded and televised. Decisions will be made about the restructuring plan AFTER those two meetings. If there are any questions before or after the meetings, they should be sent to or The questions will be answered either on the FAQs on the website (which are being updated) or at the meeting. On the wesbite, when you go to the link for FAQs, there is now a link at the top of the page to submit questions. One item was mentioned of note: if the decision is made to do the proposed restructuring, it will be for the 2019-2020 school year, NOT 2018-19. It was emphasized that this restructuring is to improve the manner in which we educate students. The informational meetings will contain an approximately 30-minute presentation which will discuss the high levels of each point, then they will take questions which will drill down more of what people really want to know.

HaddamNow will Livestream the February 8 meeting on the Facebook page for those of you who cannot attend the meeting and want to watch from home.

Next, Gerry Matthews made a motion to accept the consent agenda as presented, which was unanimously approved.

For New Business, a new policy for Sexual Harassment was discussed (Policy 5145.5). This updated policy was a result of an investigation from four years ago by the Office of Civil Rights. No finding was made, however, they did suggest that we update our policy. This policy has now been reviewed by two law firms. Two motions were made regarding this policy. The first was made to waive the “second read” requirement. The next was to approve the actual policy, which was unanimously approved, with a few minor edits.

Superintendent Thiery gave the Legislative Update. The legislature is about to go into session. The Superintendent of our district, as well as many others, are focused on the budget and what decisions are going to be made. There is a new ECS formula but no one knows if they are actually going to use it.

Budget transfers were approved unanimously.

There were no comments made by the public in the second Public Comment section.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:15 p.m. for a non-meeting about negotiations.

The next regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting will be Tuesday, February 20, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. in the Media Center at Haddam Killingworth Middle School.

When the official minutes are released, they will be found HERE.

For more information about the Restructuring Meetings, please see THIS ARTICLE.


One Response to RSD #17 BOE Meeting Notes 2/6/18

  1. Earle Decker

    February 10, 2018 at 11:26 am

    Thank you for these detailed meeting minutes!