Andover School Board Minutes January 4, 2022

Condensed from approved minutes.

In Person Board Present: Dan Newton, Lisa Burbach, and Aimee Menard

Administration Present: Mark MacLean, Randy Wormald, Dennis Dobe, Hilary Denoncourt, Beth Page

Public Present: Caden Heath, Susan Chase, Nancy Robart

Finance Report: Hilary reported that overages are the same as last month, in special ed contracted services, and special ed transportation. Dan motioned to accept the finance report; Lisa seconded. The motion passed.

Public Comment: Heath commented about COVID-19 and masking protocols.

Board Chairperson’s Report
The 2022 Annual Meeting will be on March 7, 2022 at 7 PM in the AE/MS gymnasium.

Principal’s Report
Mr. Dobe discussed the Wizard of Oz production in December and the athletics department’s basketball games happening this evening at AE/MS. Other initiatives discussed include the Response to Intervention program and the Ski and Skate program. We are watching COVID rates, and as they vary, AE/MS takes this into account in regard to programming.

Staffing continues to be a challenge; staff absences are being filled by current staff, no substitutes are available at this time. Mental health issues for AE/MS students were discussed; the team is working toward wraparound services for students who may have that need. Proctor has also gifted ASD a $5,000 grant for substance abuse prevention. Ms. Page reported that the Title I annual meeting is scheduled for January 19, with invitations sent. Everything else is running smoothly.

Mr. Audet reported that alternate heating options are still being researched. Quotes for the windows continue to be researched. All faulty lights in the gym have been replaced. Menard added that the middle school lunch enrichment program has been very impactful to her students.

Old Business

Budget Update: Superintendent MacLean has been in communication with the Budget Committee. Burbach noted that tomorrow night at 6 PM is the next Budget Committee meeting to review the AE/MS proposed budget again (now that the Budget Committee has had a few weeks to process). Wednesday, January 12, is the public hearing for the School Budget. It will be at the Town Hall at 6 PM.

COVID-19 Update: Today the CDC confirmed that COVID guidance has changed and has been posted on their website. NH DHHS will interpret this advice and consider how this will impact local protocols. 

AE/MS continues to follow NH DHHS guidance for COVID-19 isolation and quarantine. The regional number for the eight attached towns right now is 1,349 per 100,000, which is about 13.5x higher than the amount that ASD determined would put the school in the red zone to require masks (adopted per NH DHHS recommendations). Andover’s infection rate is 1.35% right now – higher than the current infection rate in Merrimack County.

Superintendent’s Report
Education Freedom Accounts (EFA), which went into effect last year (state level EFA), were discussed. An amendment to HB 607 (a bill that was tabled last year) is being proposed to allow families to request local educational money through an EFA, which would come from local budgets, specifically in this case, Andover’s School Budget. 

Per student, this could cost ASD approximately $9,000 to $12,000 per student (calculations vary a bit based on interpretations of the proposed legislation). This would have to be voted in by the town by way of a petitioned warrant article that receives at least 60% approval from the legislative body. 

If the home school population, the private school population, and 10% of the current Andover student body applied for and accessed an EFA, it could potentially cost our Andover School Budget approximately half a million dollars.

Assistant Superintendent’s Report
Dr. Wormald commended the staff in how they’ve gone above and beyond through staff shortages and quarantines.