5-20-2020 Special Meeting Minutes

Quincy, MASSACHUSETTS – May 20, 2020
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Special Meeting of the Quincy School Committee

Special Meeting

Vice-Chair Presiding

A special meeting of the Quincy School Committee was held remotely on
Wednesday, May 20, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. Superintendent DeCristofaro called
the roll and present were Mayor Thomas Koch, Mr. Paul Bregoli,
Mr. Douglas Gutro, Mrs. Kathryn Hubley, Mrs. Emily Lebo, Mr. Frank Santoro,
and Mr. Anthony Andronico, Vice Chair.

Also present were: Dr. Richard DeCristofaro, Secretary; Ms. Laura Owens,
Clerk; Deputy Superintendent Kevin Mulvey, and Mr. James Mullaney.

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Chairman’s Update

Mayor Koch reviewed that many discussions have been held over the last few
days focused on the re-opening guidelines disseminated by Governor Baker this
past Monday. COVID-19 cases seem to be plateauing, Quincy’s per capita rate
was not as high as other communities. Thanks to the hard work of many
departments, Quincy has been able to meet these challenges head on.

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Approval of Minutes

Mrs. Lebo made a motion to approve the minutes for the May 13, 2020 School
Committee Meeting and the May 13, 2020 Executive Session. Mr. Bregoli
seconded the motion and on a roll call vote, the ayes have it, 7-0.

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Open Forum

Mr. Andronico noted that Open Forum participation is through the Quincy Public
Schools email QSCOpenForum@quincypublicschools.com.
As there were no letters submitted for Open Forum, School Committee moved on
to the next item on the agenda.

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QPS High School Graduations

Superintendent DeCristofaro updated School Committee on recent plans that
have been finalized for graduating seniors to sign out at the high schools on May
28 and 29. Students will return their textbooks, Chromebooks, and any Athletic
Department items at scheduled appointments held outdoors.
NQHS parents have organized a “Senior Stay In” event on May 29 with games and
prizes. QHS parents are organizing an “Adopt a Senior” project to provide each
student with a summer survival kit. On June 5, the North Quincy High School
Scholarship & Awards Ceremony will be broadcast on Channel 22 and online.
Quincy High School will host a Scholarship Ceremony on June 4 and an Awards
Ceremony on June 2 on Channel 22 and online.

Thanks to Mark Carey, the celebration videos will be ready to be shared on June 8
for QHS and June 9 for NQHS both at 6:00 pm. Dr. DeCristofaro said that program
booklets and diplomas will reflect the originally scheduled dates; at the June 10
School Committee meeting, Dr. DeCristofaro will read the proclamation making it
official. Quincy High School has 380 graduating seniors and North Quincy High
School has 290 seniors. Yearbooks will be available for students in August.
Mayor Koch said that the Parks Department is looking at possible layouts for
Veterans Stadium for holding an in-person event, there is plenty of room on the
field to spread out the graduate. Guests would be strictly limited and tickets
would be for assigned seats. Mayor Koch hopes to have a layout to share at next
week’s meeting.

Mr. Bregoli asked about a potential date. Mayor Koch would like to schedule at
the end of June.

Mr. Gutro asked about the communication to families about the dates. Dr.
DeCristofaro said letters have been sent out to families from both high schools to
notify the students receiving scholarships and awards.

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Interim Superintendent Contract (Vote)

Mayor Koch made a motion to approve the contract between the Quincy School
Committee and Interim Superintendent Kevin Mulvey as approved at the May 13,
2020 Executive Session. Mr. Bregoli seconded the motion and on a roll call vote,
the ayes have it 7-0.

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Student Opportunity Act Update

Deputy Superintendent Kevin Mulvey updated that the Department of Elementary
and Secondary Education released an advisory that the deadline to file the
Student Opportunity Act plan will be extended to June 19, 2020. This deadline
still reflects the requirement of stakeholder feedback but the commitment to fund
the plans is not updated.

Mr. Gutro asked if the plan would need to be adapted if the funding level is
changed. Mr. Mulvey said the plan would need to be adjusted to reflect the
percentage change of the funding.

Mr. Gutro said that it is difficult to seek stakeholder input on a plan that might
change. Mr. Mulvey said he recommends proceeding with the stakeholder input
with the information expected to be forthcoming from DESE shortly. Mr. Mulvey
is concerned about not having enough time to implement input from the
stakeholders, but is comfortable with waiting a week for additional guidance. Mr.
Gutro asked if School Committee will see the plan prior to the public meetings and
Mr. Mulvey confirmed.

Mrs. Lebo asked for clarification on the process: are we presenting a plan to the
stakeholders for their reaction or asking for their input on the priorities. Mr.
Mulvey said that given the circumstances, having a draft plan for stakeholders to
react to is planned.

Mrs. Lebo asked about outreach to the English Learner PAC; Mr. Mulvey said
there has been some outreach and their feedback will be sought before the plan is
finalized. Mrs. Lebo noted that the additional group for outreach are families
living in poverty.

Mr. Andronico said that in March, there were a series of meetings planned to meet
with community members. Unfortunately, these were not able to be held due to
the COVID-19 pandemic. Mr. Andronico is concerned about waiting too long, the
deadline extensions seem to come at the last minute. Citywide Parent Council has
a virtual meeting scheduled on June 2 and this could be a good option to share the
plan.

Mr. Mulvey said the Leadership Team will continue to work on finalizing the draft
Student Opportunity Act plan.

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City of Quincy Fiscal Year 2021 Budget

Mayor Koch presented the City of Quincy Fiscal Year 2021 Budget overview to
School Committee. The total city budget is $34,000,000 with $111,000,000 in
direct Quincy Public Schools budget line item (not including Title I, Title III, and
other federal grants). In addition, many city departments support the Quincy
Public Schools, including the Public Buildings, Parks, Public Works, and Police
Departments through maintenance and safety initiatives. Quincy continues to be
well-above the Foundational Budget level required under the law. The City
Council can review and approve the Quincy Public Schools bottom line, but not
make changes to line items.

The budget funding is made up of property taxes, local receipts, and local aid.
There are revenue challenges at the state and city level, but Quincy is in relatively
good shape. All city contracts expire June 30, but there is no money for raises for
any bargaining unit beyond step and level raises. Mayor Koch reviewed that the
Chromebooks for Grades 5-12 students and laptops for all QPS teachers have
been ordered.

For this fiscal year, Quincy has cash reserves and the goal is not to raise property
taxes when the new rates are set in the fall. Mayor Koch said there are challenges
ahead for the next fiscal year; it is difficult to project the long-term ramifications
of this health crisis. Mayor Koch is proud of the investment and commitment to
Quincy Public Schools across the city, the total is 53% of the city budget.

Mrs. Lebo noted that the City of Quincy also funds the Quincy Public Schools
employee benefit costs, thanks to Mayor Koch for doing that.

Mr. Gutro thanked Mayor Koch for the support of Quincy Public Schools. Mr.
Gutro asked about the Circuit Breaker credit potential. Mayor Koch said that he is
not expecting there to be additional funding under the Student Opportunity Act;
he had been hoping to use $3,000,000 of the SOA funding for the Learning Center
building acquisition and buildout. Mayor Koch said that the expected costs for
this project is $14,000,000 and this is the amount City Council will be reviewing
to accept for bond. Over time, there will be cost savings realized on Special
Education tuitions, an important consideration.

Mr. Andronico asked if there is the possibility of having to develop a
supplementary budget during the school year in case there is a drop in local
receipts. Mayor Koch said he is not anticipating mid-year changes to the School
Department budget.

Mayor Koch said that the Superintendent’s Leadership Team will be planning for
many contingencies, but if school does not reconvene in Fall 2020, there will have
to be discussions around furloughing employees.

Mr. Gutro said that a second surge could affect state revenues and there could be
further state aid cuts.

Mrs. Lebo asked about the ESS funding, Mayor Koch said $1 million is being used
for this year’s budget and $1 million for next year’s budget. Mr. Mullaney said
that guidance is forthcoming from DESE, with a list of approved items including
protecting positions through the operating budget. Mayor Koch said the CARES
funding can only be used for costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic, so that is
earmarked for technology purchases.

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QPS Superintendent Search

Mayor Koch was unable to attend the School Committee Workshop with
Massachusetts Association of School Committee held on May 19, 2020 and so
would like to have further discussion on the Search Committee. Mayor Koch is
thinking the Search Committee should consist of three School Committee
members, a representative from QPAC, Citywide, a teacher, a principal, a member
of the Superintendent’s Leadership Team, and a community member, which
would make a nine-member Search Committee. School Committee would define
the screening and recommendation process for the School Committee.
Mr. Andronico noted that at last night’s meeting, Mr. Koocher suggested 9-11
member Search Committee is optimal and asked for feedback on the Mayor’s
suggestions.

Mrs. Lebo suggested having an English Learner parent representative on the
search committee.

Mrs. Hubley suggested a high school student be added to the search committee.

Mr. Gutro said that Mr. Koocher had suggested multiple teachers, one from each
level elementary, middle, and high school.

Mayor Koch said that to go beyond eleven members could be unwieldy to
schedule. The Quincy Education Association represents all grade levels.

Mr. Bregoli asked Mayor Koch if he will be a search committee member and he
will not be.

Mr. Andronico asked if Mayor Koch will be appointing the search committee
members or if interested parties should send a letter requesting to be appointed.

Mayor Koch said the Quincy Education Association, Citywide Parent Council, and
the QPAC would be asked to send a representative; he will appoint the members
of the School Committee, SLT, Principal, and community.

Mr. Bregoli asked about a time frame for putting the search committee together;
Mayor Koch said a time frame has not been determined.

Mr. Gutro said his recollection was that the survey would be finalized and
distributed within a week.

Mr. Andronico agreed that is the time frame for the survey, there wasn’t really a
discussion about a time frame for establishing the search committee.

Mrs. Lebo said that Mr. Koocher suggested asking participants to commit to the
number of meetings as part of their appointment.

Mrs. Hubley agreed with getting the search committee assembled as there is an
orientation meeting and another meeting to plan the screening criteria and
preliminary interview questions.

Mr. Andronico noted that Mayor Koch has shared a draft Superintendent position
description as a starting point.


Mrs. Lebo agreed that the Workshop was productive; the draft job description is
less specific than she would like to see.

Mr. Gutro asked for clarification on the key elements. Mr. Andronico said the
difference between the leadership profile and the job description is that the
profile will guide the search committee in screening the initial pool of applicants.
The leadership profile will share the priorities of the community as reflected
through the survey results. Mr. Andronico said the leadership profile survey will
be conducted and information shared with the search committee over time.

Mr. Gutro asked if the leadership profile will be shared with candidates. Mrs.
Lebo said this could be posted on the QPS website, as this will be a source of
research for the candidates. Mr. Gutro said the leadership profile would be
important for the candidates to have as they are preparing for their screening.

Mr. Santoro said there will be many applicants and only some will be interviewed,
would it be better to keep the leadership profile for those who will be meeting
with the search committee.

Mr. Gutro asked if the leadership profile will be completed prior to the search
committee interviews. Mr. Andronico said that the search committee will be
getting data on a rolling basis from the survey.

Mayor Koch would like to see the Leadership Profile completed earlier in the
process.

Mrs. Lebo asked about scheduling focus groups.

Mr. Andronico reviewed that a revised Leadership Survey was shared with School
Committee this morning, based on the discussion at last night’s meeting. Mr.
Andronico asked School Committee when they might be ready to finalize the
survey so that it can be posted and virtual focus groups organized by types or
participants.

Mr. Gutro, Mr. Santoro, Mrs. Lebo, Mrs. Hubley all agreed this revised survey looks
good. Mrs. Hubley proposed a change under item 5 to “provide opportunities for
all Superintendent’s Leadership Team members to demonstrate and develop their
leadership skills.”

Mr. Gutro made a motion for the substitution proposed. Mrs. Lebo seconded the
motion, and on a roll call vote, the ayes have it, 7-0.

Mr. Gutro made a motion to approve the survey as amended. The motion was
seconded by Mrs. Hubley and on a roll call vote, 7-0.

Mr. Andronico thanked School Committee for the progress made in the last 24
hours. Mr. Andronico said that once MASC has created the survey, Ms. Owens will
share with parents and staff via email, post on the QPS website and social media,
and share with the local press.

Mr. Andronico said that a next step would be to organize virtual focus groups by
category: parents/guardians, teachers, administrators, other employees,
community members. MASC will assist with this and go over the survey in
person.

Mr. Andronico summarized that he would entertain a motion on the composition
of an 11-person Search Committee consisting of three School Committee
members; parents from Citywide, QPAC, and the English Learner community; a
teacher, a principal, and an SLT member; a community member; and a student.

Mrs. Lebo is concerned that the teaching staff will be underrepresented.

Mayor Koch said the QEA will suggest the member or members to represent staff.

Mr. Andronico said Boston’s search committee had the president of the Teacher’s
union on the 10-person search committee.

Mayor Koch is open to multiple teachers as an option.

Mrs. Hubley said that keeping an odd number of members is important, so adding
two teachers would be thirteen members.

Mr. Bregoli suggested having an additional teacher rather than a student
representative and keeping the number to eleven.

Mrs. Lebo said agrees with having additional teachers rather than a student.

Mr. Bregoli agreed that one teacher from each level is optimal.

Mayor Koch clarified that two additional teachers will bring the total to 13
members.

Mr. Andronico reviewed that the teacher representatives will be from elementary,
middle, and high school and the student representative will be retained.

Mrs. Lebo made a motion to authorize Mayor Koch to appoint the 13-member
Superintendent Search Committee as defined during the discussion. Mrs. Hubley
seconded the motion and on a roll call vote, the ayes have it 7-0.


Mr. Andronico suggested that School Committee review the draft position
description, research other cities and towns, and have a discussion at the next
meeting to finalize.

Mr. Bregoli asked what the source of the draft position description. Mayor Koch
said that he drafted and requested that Superintendent DeCristofaro review in
light of his lengthy experience.

Mr. Gutro requested that MASC provide samples for School Committee to review
in conjunction with the draft Mayor Koch provided.

Mrs. Lebo agreed that it would be helpful for Dr. DeCristofaro to review the
position description and also with the MASC recommendation not to post on
SchoolSpring. MASC and MASS will post on their website.

Mr. Santoro suggested Mr. Andronico ask Mr. Koocher for dates of availability for
orientation for the search committee.

Mr. Andronico thanked everyone for their efforts in moving this process forward.

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Adjournment

Mayor Koch made a motion to adjourn the Special School Committee meeting at
7:40 pm. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Lebo and on a roll call vote, the ayes
have it, 7-0.

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