School Board Reorganization meeting summary

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May 13, 2011, 4:03:37 PM5/13/11

Last night, the school board reorganized for the upcoming year.  New board members, Stephen Levine, Al Miller and John Van Noy were sworn in and Tim O'Brien was installed as President, with Suzanne Brennan appointed by the board as Vice-President.

In addition, standing committees were reconfigured somewhat, to streamline the number of committees, and appointments to the committees were made.  I cannot recall the complete list, though they will be posted on the district website soon, I am sure. 
Those that I do recall include Tim O'Brien as chair of Labor (the position he held last year when contract negotiations with the HTEA union began), Suzanne Brennan
as chair of Community Interaction (formerly Community Relations), Jeanette Smith as Policy chair (the position she held last year), John Van Noy as Finance chair, Al Miller as Education/Education Technology chair, and Pat Dowling as Operations/Operational Technology chair (I believe a combination of Facilities Committee and Buildings and Grounds, the latter of which Mr. Dowling chaired last year).

The district is seeking citizen members for each of its committees so please visit the district website to find where and when to submit your committee requests.

In addition to the above action, other notable action took place including the approval of increasing the percentage of students in the district that would be allowed to apply for and attend an out of district school that participates in the Interdistrict Public School
Choice Program.  I do not recall the initial percentage (I want to say 2%) but it was increased to 10%.

Also, the board approved a resolution supporting legislation that would reinstitute the labor negotiations tool known as "last best offer." Essentially, last best offer means that, after the parties have negotiated without successfully reaching an agreement and after all other options have been exhausted to break through the "impasse" (including factfinding and mediation), the board is allowed to impose an agreement, or its last best offer, without that action being considered an illegal unfair labor practice.  With any luck, it will not come to that anyway and the parties will reach a mutally agreeable resolution, but it is a tool that had existed in labor law for may years and was, under a pilot program of the McGreevey administration as I recall, replaced by another labor tool (super mediation).  The proposed legislation just resets the clock to the practices that had existed for some time several years ago.

Non-essential professional and administrative appointments were tabled to a future meeting, allowing the committees to meet and review these appointments before these appointments expire on June 30, 2011.

Those are the highlights that stuck out for me.  But, please take the time to watch the rebroadcast meeting on either Channel 77 or online at for full details.

The next meeting is May 25.  See you then.

Amy Fankhauser

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