Common Ground Board of Directors- Minutes May 2017

Board of Directors Meeting 5/22/17

Present: Bob Parker, Melissa Spear, Cornell Wright, Deb, Jane Lee, Claudia Merson, Frank Mitchell

Staff: Betsy Sneath, Elena Augusewicz, Joel Tolman, Kimball Cartwright, Liz Cox, Jesse Delia

Guests: N/A

Public Participation: TaQuann Brown, DeaMonte Godley

Bob called the meeting to order at 5:35

Ta-Quann and DeaMonte introduced themselves and stated that they were here on behalf of The Cultural Uplift Group. They are seeking more representation of people of color within our organization. They are hoping to fill the student spots on the board, and  would like to allow students to vote on these spots. There are currently two slots to be filled. They do have a couple of sophomores in the group that could potentially run. They would like to move forward with laying  out the foundation for the upcoming year. Taquann wanted to know what the board thinks and what they would want/need for the June meeting?

The board agrees that this would be an excellent project for students to work on. It was suggested by Cornell that they should organize an info session at the beginning of september to show interested students what being on a board, as a member, is all about. Liz suggested that TaQuann and Deamonte come to the next board meeting with a layout /plan for the election process.

Business Requiring Approval:

Jane moved approval of the minutes of the April 24, 2017 meeting, Claudia seconded.

Invoice for Rock to Rock for Massaro Farm $16959.94 (Joel)

Invoice for Agilix, previously known as  Brainhoney software, upgraded to “Buzz” with improved functionality. Charging annual license fee of $5785

Invoice for ACES $30,000 for Curriculum consultant, funding should be coming from CEIO but if it does not Melissa stated that it has been budgeted for.

GT Landscape and Excavation $9995 for tree planting paid from CT DEEP grant

Beth moved approval of all above payments, Jane seconds the motion

Liz passed out the newest versions of the High School’s Non-discrimination and Sexual Harassment policies and grievance procedures. Grievance about staff or administrator would go to a designated Title 9  Compliance review officer (Betsy Sneath) who is then able to start review. Complaints regarding other students can go through any trusted adult and then to the Director. There is a 15 day timeline for investigation to determine finding and actions required. Then there is a 15 day period that allows for appeal.

Melissa and Betsy stated interest in adding these documents to the employee handbook and applying the same guidelines to staff policies but with a slightly different grievance procedure that is being formulated.

Bob had the proxy votes of Kerry Lord and Michael Doolittle. Melissa moved approval of these policies, Beth seconds the motion.

Executive Director’s Report:

The Executive Director gave a powerpoint presentation on the status of the draft budget for 2017-2018.  The draft budget is based on the EDs best guess of what the State Budget will include for the per pupil reimbursement and seat allocations to charter schools.  These numbers are unlikely to be decided on by the State until the fall.   The Board will have to vote on a budget at their June meeting.  It is likely an amended budget will be presented to the Board for a vote once the State budget numbers have been finalized

Finance Report:

Jane reported that the committee met prior to this meeting. They reviewed the bank reconciliation and the credit card statement reconciliation.  They are considering doing an audit style review in the future.

Programs Report:

Rebecca was not present for the meeting however Betsy stated that the Farm Festival and seedling sale went very well this weekend, we brought in about $8000.

Impact and Engagement Report:

Joel stated that the health committee met this week to discuss data results collected in partnership with Yale. There were positive dietary results such as our students eating more fruits and vegetables than average. Some things to work on would be addressing above average screen time and lack of adequate sleep.

Joel also passed out invitations for the two community workshops that have been organized to discuss curriculum redevelopment. May 24/May 31.


Development Report:

Kimball discussed the upcoming “Common Sense Shindig” on June 8th which is a invitation only celebration. There will be food, cocktails, and discussions with students. Kimball proposed organizing a phone call “party” on May 30th 5:30-6:30 for the Board members to follow up with people to make sure they received their invitation and get their RSVP.  We have invited 350 people, 45 RSVPs so far, we are looking to double that amount by having board members engage donors through these phone calls.

Kimball also mentioned that Sekou’s fund raising campaign to pay for his teacher certification is 33% of the way there but still needs to raise $3000 more. Sekou needs this money by mid June to move forward.

Other good news: raised almost $17,600.00 for Joan Gillette Scholarship award. We will be able to offer an award of $1000 to a graduating student each year. Other founders have shown interest in setting up similar scholarship funds.

Old Business:

Bob decided that we would push the board retreat feedback to another time.

Melissa stated that open bids for the bathrooms next to the farmhouse will wrap up next week.

Meeting adjourned @ 7:17pm

Next board meeting: Monday 6/26/27 @ 5:30


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