Minutes – Common Ground Board Meeting November 30, 2015

Present: Bob Parker, John Jessen, Frank Mitchell, Kerry Lord (& Julian), Mike Doolittle, Melissa Spear, Claudia Merson, Beth Klingher, Monique Frasier, Liz Cox, Rebecca Holcombe, Betsy Sneath, Joel Tolman, Kimball Cartwright

Regrets: Jane Lee, Kim Futrell, Wendy Battles, Babz Rawls Ivy

Meeting opened with introductions followed by Bob’s motion to accept the minutes and Claudia’s second. The body approved the minutes.

Business requiring approval:


  • Newfield construction through Oct 31 $635, 955.72
  • CBIA insurance $19, 455.65
  • LaRosa construction $7000.00
  • GO architecture $7912.50

Members reviewed credit card statements. Mike made a motion to approve the invoices and financial reports and Beth was the second. The motion passed. At this point Cliff Schneider of Charter School Board Training joined the meeting. There were introductions. Betsy and Melissa described the update to our nondiscrimination policy (which was already pretty inclusive) which is required by the national school lunch program. Bob moved the motion to update the language and Claudia’s voice was the second. The board affirmed the motion.

Audit Committee: Mike and Frank presented highlights of the audit, the committee conversation (with Jane), and the one concern from the accountants regarding a construction payment reimbursement from the state. Melissa and Betsy explained the situation and the changes made. The committee recommended affirming the audit. Claudia made a motion to accept the audit and Mike was the second. The board voted to accept the audit.

Construction Update: Melissa presented the plan for summer renovations on the current school building. New construction updates include paving around the new construction before the middle of December and some tours of the building’s progress. The renovation PowerPoint was based on the Gray Organschi plan with a projected cost of 1.7 million will require some choices to meet our budget. Building improvements include a new office for Liz, new conference rooms, a copier room, new office/reception area, kitchen, an elevator, a folding wall, and new bathrooms. The plan also recommends polished concrete floors, new siding, skylights, cathedral ceiling with skylight and HVAC improvements. Members discussed the priorities and the elements that could be deferred. The HVAC, especially cooling in summer, was noted as a priority. The budget goal is closer to 1.2 million and staff has begun the review of funding options. For work to be completed this summer, we’ll need to go to bid by February. Camp may be a little smaller but certainly possible though it will have a cost. Planning for the construction will continue.

Program reports: Liz directed attention to details on the dashboard. The all school community service day b4 Thanksgiving had 94% attendance and good reports of student engagement. Plenty of professional development activity pending and some of those opportunities will generate an interim assessment system. Rebecca noted a demographic shift in afterschool participation, which is now 49% white 51%non-white. They are still thinking through what produced that change. Bob reported on progress he, Claudia, and Liz have made on evaluation and rubrics to assess her work. Referencing the new CT evaluation system, Liz offered some comment too. Bob also noted progress on the CEIO process, encouraging members to participate in the online survey that will be distributed widely. There was some discussion about CEIO and the evaluation conversations. Rebecca reminded the body of the Dec 12 craft fair and wreath- making event at Common Ground.

Development & Outreach: Joel reviewed the dashboard noting the 4 yr. graduation rate at 100%. There were some questions and discussion. Kimball mentioned #Givingtuesday, saluted members who had active pages, and invited members to join a building tour on Dec 12. Joel suggested ending the year with a review of the strategic conversation data last seen in July.

Budget: Melissa pointed to the budget graphics on the dashboard and noted efforts to fine-tune the analysis of our burn rate (with Jane’s support). Of note was the summer camp revenue activity, which begins with February registration and the annual appeal response that results in a Dec income spike. There was some discussion of the budget graphic. The meeting adjourned by 7:15.


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