Note: Common Ground’s May board meeting was rescheduled for June 1, 2015

Present: Frank Mitchell, Monique Frasier, Bob Parker, Beth Klingher, Wendy Battles, Ben Gardner, Babz Rawls Ivy, Jane Lee, Joel Tolman, Kimball Cartwright, Melissa Spear, Liz Cox, Betsy Sneath

Regrets: Kim Futrell

Welcome: Members congratulated staff and Avi Zapiro of Roia on another successful Common Table despite steady rain.

Minutes: Mike moved a motion to approve the minutes and Bob’s voice was the second. The body approved the minutes.

Business Requiring Approval:

Liz presented the updated Educator Evaluation Policy. The plan for 2015-16 is identical to the current plan except for one aspect. Teacher evaluations will be based on a new fraction of student achievement and on goals for student achievement. Standardized tests, if they exist in subject area, will be incorporated. Another goal will be measured by course specific assessment for progress over time. Other measurables include the practice side review related to Common Core standards, administrator observation, and a parent goal.

Administrator evaluation will be tied to high school graduation rate, school improvement plan goals, and a practice side with multiple indicators as well. The full plan is available for review. Monique made the motion to accept the plan and Babz was the second. The board approved the Educator Evaluation Plan for 2015-16.

Invoices for Review and Approval:

  • URI—Green Job Corps $8,723.00
  • CBIA insurance— health and life insurance   $20, 477.13
  • GEI consultants for construction $5517.18
  • Newfield construction for work thru April 30 — excavation, concrete, Bensonwood prefab, CM fees and onsite supervision $509, 280.10
  • Milford public school refund $15, 426.25
  • Corporate System Consulting $19, 600.00
  • Elm Shakespeare $11, 128.00
  • Rock to Rock partner payments: Massarro Farm, Shoreline Greenway trails, Interreligious Eco justice Network

Bob made a motion to accepting the invoices and approving payment. Mike was the second voice and the body voted to approve the motion.

Diversity Committee/CEIO update: Niyonu Spann and Cornell Wright joined the meeting for shared introductions. After everyone present identified and shared a little history, the group focused on the charge. CEIO is an opportunity to provide organizations that are community serving and have a justice mission with needed internal alignment. Niyonu described the schedule and the process with the next milestone being an assessment that will begin the fall. There are opportunities for deeper engagement as the partnership with All Our Kin, Planned Parenthood, and CEIO that include Deeper Change forums and the Community Leadership Program (CLP)—Common Ground Board has several CLP alumni. The work continues from several points that include a broad range of CG participants. We will continue to be engaged.

Director’s report: Melissa distributed the budget snapshot with actual vs. budget and noted that this continues to be a good year with development yielding some surprises. She moved to the budget for next year which did not reveal a major change from the current year. There is growth in direct contributions and non-government grants and a decrease in federal and state grants as those funding sources shrink. The budget is an attempt to standardize salaries to keep CG staff competitive with other districts. This continues a steady but measured progression to increase salaries and or benefits in all areas of the organization as resources make that possible. That means a possible salary adjustment for some program staff, revising teacher salary grading, and offering raises to those who move into new categories. An operating surplus of approximately $30,000 makes all this possible. There are some new positions in the budget: curriculum coordinator h/t, field trip coordinator, h/t, assistant farm manager ft, administrative assistant and some of that is related to retirement or other staff departure. The budget evolved collaboratively with program managers submitting budgets and defending their choices before drawing that all into one document. A new program area for the budget is the community impact and engagement work that Joel manages. Kimball followed with a quick presentation on revenue side during which he mentioned notification of an unexpected increase from a major funder—see report.

Bob made a motion to approve the new salary schedule for 2015-2016 and Beth’s voice was the second. After some discussion the board voted to accept the new schedule.

Bob then moved and Wendy was the second on a motion to approve next year’s budget. Several questions during the discussion led to conversation about our seat expectation (185 with announcement on that still pending). The body approved the budget.

Melissa finished with comments on the construction budget schedule— panels from Bensonwood should arrive in July— and recognition that our legislation continues to move.