Common Ground Board of Directors Meeting Minutes: Meeting May 20, 2024

Minutes of the Common Ground Board of Directors

May 20, 2024


Zoom Link to Recording

Present: Brian Kelahan, Alexis Smith, Liz Cox, Bob Parker, Ky Andersson, Monique Frasier, Peter Ludwig, Terri Snell, Alisha Crutchfield, Karen Jenkins, Jen Burke

Staff: Cherry Pacquette-Emmanuel, Rebecca Holcombe, Joel Tolman, Deborah Greig, Dr. Nash, Elena Augusewicz, Peggy Middleton, Audrey Nefores, Lauren Violette

Public: N/A


Alexis called the meeting to order at 5:35pm

Public Comment (5:30): No public comment

Business Requiring Approval (6:00)

Liz Cox moved to approve the Minutes of the April 29th Board Meeting, Bob Parker seconded the Minutes.  The motion to approve the Minutes was approved unanimously

The NHEP/CGHS Form 990 was reviewed and approved by the Finance Committee and our accountant submitted it by the federal deadline of May 15th. It appears that Monica Maccera’s name was still present but Karen Jenkins was able to sign. The accountant will be contacted to note that. 

Invoices Needing Approval

Brian moved to approve the following invoice, Bob seconded the motion to approve the invoice.  The invoice was approved unanimously.

  • Corporate Systems Consulting – $10,897 (March/April monthly help desk, 2 new computer setups) 

Liz moved to approve the following invoice and all following IES invoices until Oct. 2024, Brian seconded the motion to approve this invoice and all following invoices until Oct. 2024. This invoice was approved unanimously. 

  • Interim Executive Solutions – $16,000 Approve for 6 months. Will be brought to the board again in Oct. 2024 to review. Liz moved, Brian seconded

Brian moved to approve the following invoice, Bob seconded the motion to approve this invoice.  The invoice was approved unanimously.

  • Thurston Foods – $10,566.47

Executive Director Report (5:59) (Karen)

Link to May Director Reports

Committee Reports (6:07)

Minutes of all Committee Meetings will be Posted on the Board of Directors Webpage by the end of each month

Audit Committee

The Audit Committee will not meet again until November or December 2024 to review the FY 24 audit.

Finance and Development Committee Report (Brian) 6:07

May 20th Version: 2025 Draft Budget: Have reduced the overall deficit by $155,177 since the last board meeting. Additional changes are underway. 

April 2024 Budget Vs. Actuals

The Finance and Development committee met on May 16th to review May Budget v. Actuals and invoices for approval. For more info contact Jeff Carter. Minutes from the Finance Committee Meeting can be found HERE

Brian spoke about the Per Pupil averages for neighboring towns are often around $21,000 but our per pupil funding is only $13,000. This is a major factor in our school side deficit. 

Karen and Audrey spoke about the projected deficit. Karen and Cherry are meeting to discuss reducing the 2025 projected deficit on the school side. 

Audrey encourages everyone to have conversations with prospective individual donors, reach out to inform of deficit/financial need (exhaust all options by end of June). Audrey is looking at donors from past 2-3 years and checking iWave for net worth. Liz will review Audrey’s list of potential high level donors and provide input.

Karen and Alexis to work together relating to Board Governance, Board Onboarding. 

Governance Committee Report (Alexis) (6:27)

 Alexis suggested that board members and staff attend the Community Foundation Workshops June 15th (Hamden) / June 24th (New Haven)

The Governance Committee met on April 9th and 23rd to discuss processes for interim ED and permanent ED hiring and will share meeting updates at the full board meeting.  Please contact with any questions. 

Alexis stated that we will be using Agility Recruiting for the upcoming ED search, that is currently on hold per the deficit. Alexis said this search will cost about $50,000.00.

Minutes from the Governance Committee Meeting can be found HERE

Personnel Committee Report (Monique) (6:35)

The Personnel Committee did not meet in April but they will be meeting on May 21st. Please contact with any questions. 

Minutes from the Personnel Committee will be posted HERE


School Committee Report (Liz) (6:37)

The full School Committee met on May 15th, and the Curriculum and Instruction Subcommittee met on May 5th. Synopses of both meetings will be shared with the full board.  For more information contact 

Minutes from the School Committee Meeting can be found HERE . Per Liz, enrollment numbers will be shared by Cherry for the next Board of Directors Meeting. Looking to enroll 76 students, have accepted 54 so far and registered 52 students.  The School Climate discussion/survey responses are trending positively. Cherry is going to prepare the results in graphic form.  They discussed options for the CG deficit and the State of CT’s Corrective Action Plan.

The Sub Committee met earlier this month to discuss curriculum developments, updating assessments, and strengthening the academic team.

New Business (6:47)

No new business. 

Executive Session (6:47)

The board went into executive session at 6:47pm. Once the board came out of executive session, they realized they neglected to properly move and second to go into executive session and further realized they did not have a quorum to do so.

No votes were taken in the Executive Session. 

Adjourn (7:23)

No quorum to adjourn. Meeting ended at 7:24

Next Meeting: June 24th IN PERSON at Common Ground  

Public Comment: 

In order to comply with 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, June 21st) and will close at 5:00 pm on the day of the meeting (Monday, June 24th) 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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