Common Ground Board of Directors Meeting Minutes: May 23, 2022

PLEASE NOTE: In order to comply with adjusted CT Open Meeting laws, this Zoom meeting will be recorded and posted on the Common Ground website



Present: Monica Maccera Filppu, Bob Parker, Abby Roth, Beth Klingher, Chris Hayes, Errol Saunders, Ky Andersson, Joseph Melendez, Peter Ludwig, Terri Snell, Gioa Connel, Carly Osbourne, Babz Rawls Ivy,  Alexis Smith and Charles Negaro entered the meeting at 6:00pm

Staff: Elena Augusewicz, Rebecca Holcombe, Audrey Nefores, Ana Rosa, Betsy Sneath, Carla Lia, Iris Jiminez, Deborah Greig, Heather Neilson, Dylan James, Mel Morales, Sierra Dennehy, Nuria Miller, Rikki Brown, Stefan Christiansen, Suzanne Crelin, Allison Hornak, Bev Greene,  Karen Climis, Alex Eager, David Girard, Victor Rios, Chris Cane, Cherry Paquette Emmanuel, Morgan Larson, Tim Dutcher, Joel Tolman, 

Public: Chelsea Farrell 


Bob called the meeting to order at 5:34

Public Comment (5:30) (two minutes per person for a total time limit of 30 minutes, or by email; see instructions below) Sign up for Public Participation HERE: No Public Comment

Business Requiring Approval (5:34)

Invoices Needing Approval

Errol moved to approve the Zangari Cohn and Thurston Foods invoices, Kyeen seconded the motion to approve these invoices. Joseph abstained. The motion was approved with one abstention. 

Zangari Cohn $24,090.13– Lawyer fees 

Thurston Foods $11,199.19- monthly food costs

On May 13, 2022 the Finance Committee approved payments totaling $13,950 owed to Higher Heights. This is the vendor used for college guidance/preparation services this school year. 

Beth moved to approve the April Board Meeting Minutes, Joseph seconded the motion to approve these minutes. Terri Abstained. The minutes were approved with one abstention 

Minutes of the April Board Meeting

School Calendar change: Eid-al-Fitr was on May 3, it is now May 2. Bob received 9 “yea” votes from board members approving the requested calendar change regarding the observation of Eid-al-Fitr. The change is approved.

Executive Director Report (5:38) (Monica )

Monica gave a brief introduction and explained the norms of how a board meeting typically runs. She let everyone know that private messaging was disabled, all chat messages are to the whole group or the host only. 

Presentation of the draft FY 23 Budget (no vote)

  • Budget Draft
    • Abby had a question about the instructional supplies line and would like to know why the budget for next fiscal year is lower than the actual expenses this fiscal year. Monica will follow up with that question when she has more detailed information in front of her.
  • Budget Presentation

Urban Farm Update (Deborah)

Deborah thanked everyone who participated in and attended the seedling sale. She said that there will be a press release with the Mayor and the New Haven Food Policy Division this wednesday from 1-2pm to celebrate our new compost area and to highlight the organizations that are connecting in New Haven over composting. All are invited, we will be celebrating our students and their work on this project.

Audit Committee (6:26) (Deloris) 

Did not meet during the month of May 2022, there are no future meetings scheduled at this time. 

Building Committee (6:27) (Bev) 

Did not meet during the month of May 2022, plan to meet in June.

Development Committee Report (6:27) (Alexis)

Alexis said they are celebrating and recognizing the staff and students who participated in Rock to Rock this year. She also wanted to thank Beth for bringing in a new donor who is contributing substantial matching funds. On the horizon, Bob will be hosting a gathering for potential and existing donors at his home. This is a potential way to connect us to donors. 

Audrey has met with individual members of the Development Committee in the month of May. We have had great success with individual donors and are actively planning a donor gathering for early June.

Finance Committee Report (6:29) (Beth)

The Finance Committee met on May  13th to review the draft FY23 budget as well as Budget vs  Actuals as of April 30, 2022. The next meeting of the Finance Committee will be on June 20th at 4:30 pm.

Beth stated that we are ending this year with a slight net amount of money, however, we did use reserve funds as budgeted this year. 

Governance Committee Report (6:31) (Bob)

The Governance Committee met on May 19th. The discussion centered on prospective new board members, the ongoing negotiations with our union, and the annual Executive Director Evaluation. The next meeting of the committee will be Thursday, June 15th at 1:00 PM. 

School Committee Report (6:32) (Monica)

The School Committee did not meet in May. We are seeking information about the NHPS SY 22-23 calendar so we can create 1-2 draft calendars for staff feedback and board approval at the June board meeting.

New Business (6:33)

Joseph opened a discussion about holding future Board Meetings in person or on zoom. The board has decided to hold the June meetings on zoom at this but will continue this discussion in the future. 

Executive Session (6:57)

Bob gave a quick overview of what an Executive Session is and why the board enters into it. He explained that it is not a time when votes can be taken. This is a time to discuss personnel and vendor matters that contain sensitive information. This year they have decided to set norms by entering into executive session at every meeting. 

Babz moved to enter into executive session. Alexis seconded. The movement to enter into executive session was approved unanimously.  

The board returned from executive session at 7:12

Adjourn (7:12)

Peter moved to adjourn the meeting. Babz seconded the motion to adjourn. The motion to adjourn was approved unanimously 

Next Meeting: Monday, June 27, 2022 (via Zoom)

Annual Meeting of the Board: June 28, 2022

Public Comment: 

In order to comply with adjusted Connecticut Open Meeting laws, any member of the public wishing to participate in the meeting must sign up on the Public Participation Sign-up Document. Sign-ups for Public Participation will open at 5 pm on the last business day before the meeting (Friday, May 20th) and will close at 5:00 pm on the day of the meeting (Monday, May 23rd). Public Participation is limited to 2 minutes per person up to 30 total minutes. Anyone wishing to make a statement to the board can also submit testimony in writing to  by 5:00 pm on the day of the meeting. All submitted documents will be included in the publicly shared meeting minutes.


Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.