Minutes Adopted as Presented 01/20/09
ENFIELD TOWN COUNCIL
MINUTES OF A SPECIAL MEETING
MONDAY, JANUARY 5, 2009
A Special Meeting of the Enfield Town Council was called to order by Chairman Kaupin in the Enfield Room of the Enfield Town Hall, 820 Enfield Street, Enfield, Connecticut on Monday, January 5, 2009. The meeting was called to order at 5:30 p.m.
ROLL-CALL – Present were Councilmen Bosco, Crowley, Dumont, Edgar, Kaupin, Kiner, Lee, Mangini, Nelson and Ragno. Councilman Jones was absent. Also present were Town Manager, Matthew Coppler; Town Clerk, Suzanne Olechnicki; Town Attorney, Kevin Deneen; Director of Finance, Lynn Nenni, Director of Development Services, Raymond Warren
DISCUSSION RE: BOARD OF EDUCATION TEXTBOOK PURCHASE
Present for this discussion were Board of Education member, Gregory Stokes, Director of Curriculum, Linda Cavanaugh; Elementary Language Arts Department Chair, Elizabeth Patria; Principal of Parkman Elementary School, Maureen Sampl.
Mr. Stokes stated last year the Town Council set aside CIP funds for textbooks. He noted they have decided on some materials they wish to purchase. He explained a selection committee decided upon the best material to purchase. He pointed out the Board of Education is fully behind this selection.
He explained the Board has a program that is to refurbish the curriculum once every seven years, and it matches up with the State so they stay in line with the testing that comes across. He noted due to budget cuts in the past, they’ve fallen behind. He stated this is an attempt to catch up and make a dent in what needs to be done. He pointed out they have advisors from the State that will help Enfield as they’re developing curriculum to be sure the students are studying material that will prepare them for testing.
Ms. Cavanaugh stated she and Elizabeth Patria work hand in hand on a daily basis and they’re responsible for the nine elementary schools as concerns language arts and literacy. She noted Maureen Sampl is an integral member of the District Curriculum Council.
Ms. Cavanaugh reviewed the process for evaluating and selecting textbooks and instructional materials. She also reviewed the evaluation form for the vendors.
Councilman Lee questioned how the public is informed when material is ready for public review. Ms. Cavanaugh stated the material has to be put on public display for 30 days at the public library. She noted a form is left with the material so that people can comment on that material. Councilman Lee questioned whether they also get the word out through the PTO’s, and Ms. Cavanaugh responded yes, the PTO’s are notified through the building principals that these materials are on display.
Councilman Nelson questioned whether the display contains a “runner-up” book with pricing. He noted he’s concerned they’re not looking at textbooks, and the Board of Education has always said they’re behind on textbooks. He noted he agreed this money would be for the purchase of textbooks. He agreed with the whole process, however, he believes one key factor missing is pricing. He pointed out the next best book may mean a huge price difference. He voiced concern about this being last minute and a bid waiver being requested.
Mr. Stokes stated in the future there should be an understanding between the Board and Council before the whole process is started. He noted from here on in, perhaps they should keep the Council apprised of the process.
Mr. Stokes explained testing in Connecticut is a lot more stringent than many other states, and their textbooks, curriculum and resources have to be in line to what they’re doing. He agreed about the idea of bidding things out, however, he has learned curriculum doesn’t work the same way.
Councilman Nelson questioned whether the State Department of Education has a list of recommended textbooks that meet the State standards. Mr. Stokes stated the State provides the criteria for all the academics, and they advise what is needed. He added he’s unaware of a set list of recommended textbooks. Ms. Cavanaugh stated she’s not aware of a list that the State has given to districts. She explained the State sets the State standard for curriculum development. She noted she’s not aware that the State wants to be involved in the business of advising districts which books to buy. She stated they attempt to look for the most fitting materials for the students. She pointed out the needs in Enfield are going to be very different from many towns in Connecticut.
Ms. Cavanaugh stated although they’re very sensitive to cost, no vendor will be very much lower in cost because they’re very competitive. She stated they wanted to look for materials that best fit what the students needed and what the teachers needed to increase student learning.
Ms. Patria stated school personnel knew this was an important purchase. She pointed out there were lacking non-fiction materials. She stated as they reviewed all the companies, they not only looked at materials, but they wanted to see what they could offer in the way of professional development. She pointed out everyone voted unanimously for this company.
Councilman Nelson questioned how long will this material last before it has to be replaced. Ms. Sampl stated this material is mostly used in small group instruction. She noted this isn’t the kind of material that’s taken home.
Chairman Kaupin questioned what grades are targeted for this material, and Ms. Cavanaugh responded Grades K through 6.
Councilman Ragno stated he would like to have a document which shows pricing. He noted pricing is the most salient point for the Council to be considering in this process. He noted the Council also has to decide if it’s wise to do a bid waiver. He added he also doesn’t know what instruction material is included in the pricing and whether it’s top quality reference material.
Ms. Patria stated due to negotiations with this company, they would be receiving professional development, as well as supplemental and free materials. Mr. Stokes pointed out they would be receiving $30,000 to $40,000 of in-kind things which this company wants to give to Enfield in hopes that they will purchase their materials.
Councilman Mangini stated her belief it’s critical to gear curriculum toward Grades K–6, and it’s very important to look at value. She commended the school committee for all their hard work in this selection process.
Councilman Crowley voiced his support of the selection committee’s decision.
Councilman Lee questioned what would happen if $205,000 was appropriated. Mr. Stokes stated they would do their best with whatever funds are provided, however, this is pretty much the locked in price for this purchase.
Ms. Cavanaugh stated this vendor was willing to work with the school system. She noted this vendor was pressed hard, and this was a very clean process.
Councilman Lee stated the Town Council should be notified when materials are going on public display.
Councilman Bosco questioned if this will put a dent in the curriculum materials needed at the elementary level, and Ms. Cavanaugh responded it makes a small dent. Mr. Stokes pointed out they would need about $300,000 per year in the school budget in order to properly address curriculum needs.
Chairman Kaupin stated his understanding this will leave a balance of around $11,000 in the CIP account. He stated his understanding they have to be mindful of costs, however, he doesn’t believe that can be the driving factor because curriculum is not like a garbage truck or plow and it’s more involved. He noted he’d appreciate additional information ahead of time if they enter into this same type of arrangement. He stated if this were done again, it would mean the Council would have to allocate funding to a textbook line item in the future. He noted he is comfortable with the process, and he supports this purchase.
MOTION #178 by Councilman Mangini, seconded by Councilman Ragno to recess the Special Meeting to go into Executive Session to discuss Personnel Matters, Pending Litigation and Real Estate Negotiations.
Upon a SHOW-OF-HANDS vote being taken, the Chair declared MOTION #178 adopted 10-0-0, and the meeting stood recessed at 6:30 p.m.
The Executive Session of the Enfield Town Council was called to order by Chairman Kaupin at 6:31 p.m.
ROLL-CALL – Present were Councilmen Bosco, Crowley, Dumont, Edgar, Kaupin, Kiner, Lee, Mangini, Nelson and Ragno. Also present were Town Manager, Matthew Coppler; Town Clerk, Suzanne Olechnicki; Town Attorney, Kevin Deneen; Director of Economic Development, Raymond Warren; Director of Finance, Lynn Nenni.
Personnel Matters, Pending Litigation and Real Estate Negotiations were discussed with no action or votes being taken.
Chairman Kaupin adjourned the Executive Session at 7:05 p.m. He reconvened the Special Meeting at 7:06 p.m. and stated that during Executive Session the Council discussed Personnel Matters, Pending Litigation and Real Estate Negotiations with no action or votes being taken.
MOTION #179 by Councilman Crowley, seconded by Councilman Ragno to adjourn.
Upon a SHOW-OF-HANDS vote being taken, the Chair declared MOTION #179 adopted 10-0-0, and the meeting stood adjourned at 7:07 p.m.