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Legislative Meeting (2/27/2013)

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A. Preliminary Information

  • Video of Legislative Meeting
  • Board Members Present: Brentley, Colaizzi, Fink, Hazuda, Holley, Isler, McCrea, Shealey, and Sumpter
  • Board Members Absent: none
  • Meeting Time: 7pm-9:30pm
  • 7 Volunteer Contributors

 B.  Summary of Meeting

Heather Hopson (communications and marketing) announced this month’s meeting celebrates the career and technical education program (CTE).  A number of students in the district, who participate in this program, were honored during the presentation.

The following items from the agenda review were further discussed at the legislative meeting:

Committee on Education

Item #26 (Hill House Passport Academy Charter School)

  • Brentley, Isler, Sumpter, and Colaizzi asked related questions on the differences between “pulling” vs. “tabling” an item, as well as,  “tabling” vs. denying the charter school application.
    • Mr. Weiss explained that whether the board approves item #26 (which results in the denial of the charter school application) or tables it, the charter school application will be denied and they have the option to resubmit an improved application or appeal the denial. The only difference is if the board tables the item (rather than denies it), the charter school applicant is exempt from needing signatures should they decide to appeal it.
  • Brentley, Holley, and Shealey expressed that the district should reach out and establish a relationship with this charter school applicant, whether or not it’s approved.

 **Sumpter made the motion to table item #26, Isler 2nd. The item was tabled in a 5-4 vote; the breakdown of the vote is as follows:

    • Yes (5): Brentley, Holley, Sumpter, Isler, Shealey
    • No (4): Colaizzi, Fink, Hazuda, McCrea

 **The report was approved (9-0), other than item #26, which was tabled.

Committee on Business and Committee on Finance

Item #7 (B & S Communications)

  • Colaizzi concerned with subcontracting (i.e. the company B&S Communications hiring other companies to come in and do some of the work in schools)
    • Mr. Weiss noted the contract with B&S will state that there is to be no subcontracting of work.

Item #17 (Sale of Schenley Facility)

  • Brentley commented on the poor accommodations for the public at this meeting and expressed his disappointment.
    • Ms. Shealey noted that as a board there were no discussions or agreements about where legislative meetings would take place.
  • Brentley added that there are creative people who want to keep the building in the district and recommended the board table it to allow some time for people to make suggestions on how we can reopen Schenley as a school.

 **Brentley motioned to table item #17, which was defeated (4-5), and therefore remained on the agenda. The breakdown is as follows:

    • Yes (4): Brentley, Holley, Sumpter, and Shealey
    • No (5): Colaizzi, Fink, Hazuda, Isler, McCrea

Discussion on the sale of Schenley High School ensued, each board member defended their stance on the subject in a somewhat heated debate.

  • Opponents of the sale stressed that with more time, the district could get a better offer for the building or have more innovative ideas on how to use the space. Brentley noted that race was playing a divisive role in the matter while Holley expressed concern that the owners could sell to a university in which case it would become a tax-exempt property.
  • Proponents of the sale felt the board would not get a better price for the building, that the five years Schenley has been closed has been a long enough time for people to come forward with their bids and ideas for the building, and that the tax dollars generated by the development will be important for the district.

 **The whole report was approved (8-1), item #7 approved (6-3), and item #17 approved (5-4). The breakdown of the votes is as follows:

    • No on the whole report: Brentley
    • Yes on the report, no on item #7 (B&S Communications): Colaizzi and McCrea
    • Yes on the report, no on item #17 (Sale of Schenley): Holley, Sumpter, and Shealey

Personnel Report

  • Colaizzi, Holley, Fink,  Sumpter and McCrea thanked retirees and military personnel

 **The whole report was approved. The break down of the votes is as follows

  • Yes: Colaizzi, Fink, Hazuda, Isler, McCrea, and Shealey
  • Yes on the report, abstention from section Q: Brentley
  • Yes on the report, no on item #9: Holley and Sumpter

Budget Matters: No budget matters

  • Isler questioned what the end of year will look like financially, based on projections and actuals
    • Mr. Joseph (budget manager) noted the district expects to close better than originally projected

 New Business: No new business



 Board members present: Brentley, Colaizzi, Fink, Holley, Isler, McCrea, Shealey, Sumpter

Board members absent: Hazuda

 **all committee reports were approved unanimously (8-0)


C. Reflecting on Meeting

 Good Governance Practices:

Focus on Mission– (Equity) Holley noted that while the travel abroad to Costa Rica program at Pgh Coflax was a great opportunity for the 10 8th grade students going, she would of liked to see more children have that opportunity.

Transparency– (Public Input) Brentley stated his disappointment that the legislative meeting couldn’t be held in a bigger space for more community members to attend and have seats.

Conduct– (Respect) Shealey was respectful as prompter of this meeting.

Competency Board members asked appropriate questions on the differences between “tabling” and denying a charter school application in order to understand those differences before making a vote

Role Clarity– (overall Budget Matters) Despite not having any budget documents in front of the board, Isler asked what the end of year looked like financially for the district (projections versus actuals)

 Board’s actions supporting equity and great teaching:

The board spent the majority of the meeting discussing the sale of Schenley High School. While there were two opposing sides on the matter, both dealt with questions of equity. Proponents of the sale felt it was best for the district and ultimately the students to sell the building and begin receiving tax dollars from the property. The opponents felt giving it more time could enable creative ideas to possibly open a new school and benefit students that way.