Common Ground Board of Directors Meeting Minutes: March 27, 2023

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

New Haven Ecology Project

March 27, 2023 

Zoom Recording

Present: Bob Parker, Monica Maccera Filppu, Jeff Carter, Alexis Smith, Michelle Sepulveda, Errol Saunders, Gioia Connell, Kyeen Andersson, Charles Negaro, Abigail Roth, Patience Christopher, Beth Klingher, Jennifer Burke, Chris Hayes

Staff: Elena Augusewicz, Deborah Greig, Dr. Nash, Rikki Brown, Rebecca Holcombe, Jonathan Carney, Nuria Miller, Crystal Fernandez

Public: Enroue Onigbonna Halfkenny


Bob called the meeting to order at 5:31pm

Public Comment (5:31): No Public Comment

Business Requiring Approval (5:32)

Minutes of the February Board Meeting

Charles moved to approve the February Board Minutes, Abby seconded the minutes. The minutes were approved unanimously

Invoices Needing Approval

Jeff moved to approve the invoices as presented, Kyeen seconded the motion to approve all invoices as presented. The motion to approve the invoices was approved unanimously.

  • Zangari Cohen $17,851.34,  February legal fees 
    • CGHS- $6,256.50, personnel issues 
    • Orgwide contract negotiations – $11,594.84 
  • Thurston Foods $13,829.49, March food orders
  • STEAM Train $6,358.00 (3rd invoice of 4 for approved course)

Items Needing Approval

Healthy Food Certification annual process for school nutrition program 

Charlie moved to approve the healthy food certification and Beth seconded the motion, The motion was approved unanimously. 

  • At their March 27, 2023 Meeting, Common Ground High School’s Board of directors voted “yes” to implement the healthy food option as indicated below.
    • Healthy Food Option: Pursuant to C.G.S. Section 10-215f, the board of education or governing authority certifies that all food items offered for sale to students in the schools under its jurisdiction, and not exempted from the Connecticut Nutrition Standards published by the Connecticut State Department of Education Department of Education, will comply with the Connecticut Nutrition Standards during the period of July 1, 2023, through June 30, 2024. This certification shall include all food offered for sale to students separately from reimbursable meals at all times and from all sources, including but not limited to school stores, vending machines, school cafeterias, culinary programs, and any fundraising activities on school premises sponsored by the school or non-school organizations and groups.
  • The Board also voted “yes” to allow food and beverage exemptions, as indicated below.
    • Exemption for Food Items: The board of education or governing authority will allow the sale to students of food items that do not meet the Connecticut Nutrition Standards provided that the following conditions are met: 1) the sale is in connection with an event occurring after the end of the regular school day or on the weekend; 2) the sale is at the location of the event; and 3) the food items are not sold from a vending machine or school store. An “event” is an occurrence that involves more than just a regularly scheduled practice, meeting, or extracurricular activity. For example, soccer games, school plays, and interscholastic debates are events but soccer practices, play rehearsals, and debate team meetings are not. The “regular school day” is the period from midnight before to 30 minutes after the end of the official school day. “Location” means where the event is being held, and must be the same place as the food sales. 

School Calendar Update per request of the Instructional Leadership team. Shifts the date of parent/teacher conferences to accommodate the Community Service Day Schedule. Does not add or reduce the number of school days.

Errol moved to approve the School Calendar change, Abby seconded the motion. The motion to approve the calendar change was unanimous.

Executive Director Report (5:47pm) (Monica)

Monica introduced Dr. Nash as the interim school director while Cherry is out on maternity leave. Candi will be acting as the assistant director. 

Deborah updated the board on spring happenings on the farm including the upcoming Seedling Sale and the Summer Farm Share. She gave an overview of new partnerships with Peels on Wheels Composting and the Huneebee Project.

Monica gave a presentation on the Budget Process and the goals we’re trying to meet. Link is included in the ED Report. 

Audit Committee (6:01)  (Gioia)

No meetings until Fall 2023

Development Committee Report (6:02) (Alexis) 

The Development Team welcomed Amanda Byam as their newest, and final full time member! Amanda will be our Communications Coordinator. The Development Committee will meet in April to discuss the June 11 small event as well as the Rock to Rock Fundraiser happening on April 29th. 

The Development Committee will be meeting in April to help plan for rock to rock and other spring campaigns. 

Finance Committee Report (6:03pm) (Beth)

The finance committee met on March 21st to review Budget vs Actuals as of February 28, 2023.  Minutes of our meeting can be found here. Our next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 19th at 5pm. For more info contact Beth Klingher.

Beth said that it’s important for expenses to be below budget going into June because of high payroll in the spring. Our cash on hand is a little low as we wait for our last per-pupil payments from the state to come in. 

Governance Committee Report (6:05) (Bob)

The Governance Committee met on March 7th to discuss Executive Director Evaluation and the recruitment of new board members, including the officer slate for FY 24.  The next meeting is scheduled for April 18th For more info contact Bob Parker.

There will be officer positions opening up in the new year: Co-Chair and Treasurer

School Committee Report (6:07) (Monica)

There was no school committee meeting in March  as there were no agenda items. 

New Business (6:07)

Executive Session (6:07)

Enroue Halfkenny will be presenting a report to board members. He compiled this report after his time as the environmental leader in residence. Monica did not join this executive session. 

Charlie moved to enter into executive session, Abby seconded the motion The motion was approved unanimously and the board entered into executive session at 6:08pm. . 

Adjourn (8:02)

The board returned from executive session at 8:02 pm, no votes were taken. 

Ky moved to adjourn the meeting. Erroll seconded the motion to adjourn. The movement to adjourn was unanimous.

Next Meeting: April 24th

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, March 24th) and will close at 5:00 pm on the day of the meeting (Monday, March 27th) 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.


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