Common Ground Board of Directors- Nov. 26, 2018 Minutes

Meeting of the New Haven Ecology Project Board of Directors
November 26, 2018

Present: Wendy Battles, Bob Parker, Beth Klingher, Charles Negaro, Michael Doolittle, Brian Springsteen, Jane Lee,

Staff: Kimball Cartwright, Deborah Greig, Henry Chisholm, Rebecca Holcomb, Liz Cox, Elena Augusewicz, Betsy Sneath, Joel Tolman

Regrets: Kyeen Andersson, Errol Saunders, Babz Rawls-Ivy, Terry Snell

Public Participation: Shelly Hicks

Meeting called to order by Bob Parker at 5:37

Business Requiring Approval:

Minutes October 2018
Charlie moved to approve
Michael Seconds

Suspension/Expulsion Policy
All students are now required to be provided with an alternative learning plan equivalent to the education they have been receiving. Families are also required to be given 5 business day notice before the hearing and the right to delay the hearing if need be. Also supposed to provide info for legal aid and support services. Bob proposed to review the document and allow for approval at the next board meeting.

Finance Committee

Jane explained that the finance committee just met and reviewed some procedures to make sure things operate smoothly with Melissa gone. The Finance Committee will continue to meet the hour before each board meeting. The audit will be up for review by the board in December and the budget process will kick up in January and February as usual. There is a TD/Scott Trade account that needs to be opened, this allows us to receive gifts of Stock and sell them. We would like Kimball to be the representative to open this institutional account.

Beth moved to approve Kimball for Scott Trade Account
Wendy Seconds

Financial Dashboard

Betsy said things are looking ok but cash flow has been slow since we paid Newfield and PCLB. This is not abnormal for this time of year. Hoping to get $800,000 in from the State of CT to pay back PCLB grant and the other money from the construction bond that will be put into a reserve account. Late in January we will do a full projection of Budget v. Actuals.

HR Report

Three job postings are currently up on our website. One position is moving from part time to full time. We also have a New Grants Associate.

Organizational Updates

Liz explained that our absentee rate is a problem and could be a problem during renewal next year. We need to do the best we can this year to improve this rate. Saturday Academy started late last year but we started that right away this year. Gives students who need more time or additional help in on the weekend. Teachers and Support Staff are doing outreach to families.

Deborah said a lot of Community Programs students have been coming through the farm and visiting the animals. Hoping to be rethinking some strategic planning within the farm, not quite sure what direction we want to move in. Programs could be more consistent such as Mobile Market, educational farm Vs. production farm, how do people see the Farm as a Program. Try to make sure everyone is on board and invested in what the farm is becoming.

Executive Director Search

Another meeting of that committee this wednesday. Bob said the hope for this meeting is to get a job description finished, that job description will be brought to the next Board Meeting for review.

Strategic Plan process

Joel said the strategic planning committee is now thinking of altering or updating the organization’s mission. That was not part of the original plan but it has come into the discussion during the last meeting. Will most likely keep the “Four Ps” plan that we used last time. Having focus groups this week to get some different opinions into the mix. The goal is to bring the framework to the board in January and we will ask the board to review and use it during the ED hiring process.

Old Business

Bob wanted to thank the Board members who came out to the PCLB Board training seminar last month. The public notice piece of our communications could be improved or changed. We need to make sure we’re complying. We need to determine what is a meeting, what is a committee, what notes need to be taken and how transparent we need to be.

New Business

Henry said Giving Tuesday is tomorrow, we’re at $1800 as of today. Whoever brings in the most individual donors gets a month gift card to Junzi, there are some other prizes for 2nd and third place. The Annual Appeal will be going out in the beginning of December, there will be a signing and stamping party on Dec. 6, 5:30pm.

Kimball said there will also be a Thank You signing party in January once the appeal money comes in. We want to make sure we’re doing a really good job of showing people we appreciate their gifts.

Deborah reminding people about the Dec. 8, 10:00-2:00 Winter Festival. School parents are very involved in this event too.

Bob adjourned the meeting at 6:26

Next Meeting: December 17, 2018, 5:30 PM


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