Andover School Board Minutes – January 4, 2023

In Person Board Present: Aimee Menard, Dan Newton, Steve Chella, Kayla Chandler

Administration Present: Mark MacLean, Randy Wormald, Dennis Dobe, Beth Page, Dennis Audet
Public Present: Donna Crisp Duclos and Christine Frost

Finance Report
MacLean gave the finance report. The overages are due to special education needs. Other overages have been transferred and cleared. 

Board Chairperson Report

Happy New Year. The Board is looking forward to a very good 2023. The Board has an opening and is looking forward to welcoming a new member after voting in March. The Board meeting on February 1 will start at 6 PM to have additional time to review the organization of the Annual Meeting, and the official School Board meeting will begin at 6:30 PM. 

MacLean reported that the intention is to hold the Annual meeting in the AE/MS gym. The Board is unsure who the monitor will be; this will be researched. Monday, March 6, at 7 PM is the date and time for the Annual Meeting. In years past, the Board has elected to deem this to be the monthly meeting for March. Chandler motioned to have the Annual Meeting suffice as the School Board’s monthly March meeting, Newton seconded. All were in favor, the motion passed.

Principal’s Report

Dobe reported about festivities taking place at AE/MS during the holiday season. The Holiday Shoppe went amazingly well, as well as some other festivities within classrooms with staff and students. Dobe spoke of the success of the basketball team. The annual ski and skate program will begin this coming Friday.

Page reported that the interventionist and paraprofessional staff schedule at AE/MS has undergone some major changes for the new school year, which has provided some benefits in regard to the timing of services and utilization of staff. The FTA’s next meeting will be held remotely on January 12. 

The Outing Club recently went on an excursion to indoor Rock Climbing in Concord, which went very well.

Audet spoke about the drinking water quality, which is up to standard at all the drinking fountains within the school. The lock system hopefully will be updated over the February break and funded through a grant.

MacLean asked whether local emergency response agencies will continue to have access; yes, this is being arranged.

Boiler quotes were reviewed; prices have increased significantly as compared to last year. There is also a quote for removal of the old oil tank; if there is contamination in the ground, prices for this will increase. There will also need to be trenches dug to accommodate some of the supplies for the new system. 

MacLean spoke of some grant opportunities which may support an upgrade to our energy system. Dobe noted that these types of projects are hard to make a jump on due to the very high cost. This issue has been a part of AE/MS before the current administration started here a few years ago. The cost of this project is getting bigger as time passes. 

Menard asked that, with the costs rising so quickly, if a contract is signed now to start the project over the summer, will the prices be locked? Audet reported that all quotes are only good for a month, and costs likely won’t change unless the supplier’s costs change. 

The Board discussed how to go about solidifying a vendor in the context of the fiscal year and available funding. Newton asked if the district would purchase their own propane tanks, to be able to put fuel out to bid? This is what MV does. 

MacLean spoke of a draft warrant article that will be written to raise and appropriate funds through the unassigned fund balance. Page asked about the timeline for this, and would construction interrupt AE/MS’s summer school program? Scheduling with contractors was discussed, and Wormald offered thinking creatively by utilizing some space elsewhere in
the district (or in MV) for summer instruction.

Old Business

Newton motioned to accept the 2023-2024 budget as presented, Chella seconded. MacLean reviewed the budget as presented. The overall budget is a 0.09 increase as compared to the 2022-2023 adjusted budget. All were in favor, the motion passed.

New Business

The school calendar was reviewed. There was an issue found in this current school year’s March calendar; March 14 is the day of voting for the town, not March 7. Chandler motioned that the teacher in-service day currently scheduled for March 7 be moved to the 14 to pair with the town voting day; Newton seconded. All were in favor, the motion passed.

The 2023-2024 school calendar was reviewed. The proposed calendar pairs with the Merrimack Valley School District calendar. One major change is that MV’s draft calendar has three fewer student days; Andover’s calendar runs three additional days to make up for this difference. 

Newton made the motion to approve the presented calendar, Chella seconded. Menard asked whether to consider starting school after Labor Day? Wormald noted that the begin date lines up with students taking classes at CRTC, which is why the start date is before Labor Day. The Board can waive any instructional days up to the minimum hour state standard. 

This being said, teacher contracts are based on the number of in-session school days, and other hourly staff are impacted by waived days. The School Board asked if Dobe would be able to garner some feedback from the teachers on this item. Wormald will prepare a second draft to have as a comparison for teachers. It was decided to gather further information, and this item will be brought to the next board meeting for action; no vote.

MacLean noted that at the Annual Meeting Menard will report on the contract, and Chandler will report on the budget. A Board member will also speak to the boiler reserve article.

Superintendent’s Report

MacLean reported that AE/MS had their first remote learning day in December. Dobe reported that attendance was good, and that students were engaged and productive. MacLean spoke of the value of remote learning days in preparing students for future education and balancing this with screen time. MacLean is looking forward to the last six months of his tenure.

Assistant Superintendent’s Report

Wormald reported that the transition into the Superintendent role has been going well. Wormald is looking forward to his new role in the new school year.