Seven Oaks board meeting, July 5, 2016
Present: Fred Prall, Steve Shipp, Jazzmin Vegeler, Lindsay Weaver, Matt Wolf, Terry English
Absent: Brigitta Powers
Agenda approved. Minutes approved.
SS: PowerSchool setup is underway. Able to negotiate renewal rate.
Wolf: what is timeline? Shipp: 30 days.
Wolf: how quickly can they have functionality?
SS: By start of school, we want to transfer files, Indiana Charters can help.
Food service update:
SS: We’re in 2-week bid period to participate in free-and-reduced lunch program. After July 13, can select a vendor. Unlikely that we’ll receive many bids, we expect at least one, may be same one that Project School uses.
Terry English: My concern is that at point of time that we accept federal funds, we become subject to federal guidelines, subject to whatever projects there are, subject to programs available. In May of this year, Obama issued guidelines concerned with what happens to transgender problem if you accept federal funds. There is a provision that all these things, all intrusion becomes applicable as soon as you accept federal funds. Accept for nutrition, lunches, we become subject to all the transgender guidelines they throw our way.
One of our best marketing tools is that we want to be a traditional school and don’t want to go along with all the edicts from Washington. We want to make a conscious decision about whether we want to accept federal funds.
Matt Wolf: It would also be Title 1, the significance of which would probably be pretty high.
English: I don’t want to put any of you on the spot, but this is a discussion we need to have. When I wrote student handbook, it was with eye that we were not accepting federal funds…are we accepting them and the strings attached.
Prall: We still don’t know what budget will be for several days. This is an extremely important question that merits discussion by the board. Proposes meeting a week from now.
English: Seconds with desire for meeting next week.
SS: Thank you, Terry, for doing this research and finding this letter. Just to swing back around to food service. I will continue with process that has begun. Should we decide to participate in F&R lunch program, it’s necessary to go through these steps.
Prall: I’d suggest ask them if there’s a different price to us if we are not part of lunch program. It may be that they are under constraints that increase our/their cost.
Weaver: open to postponement of meeting, but will be out of town next week.
Motion tabled till next meeting.
Before and after school care:
Weaver: We are looking at a couple options: Boys & Girls Club, and there may be other groups in the community. Before-school care and how late that would go.
Wolf: Do we need a motion to have proposed operating ours so that we can publicize them to parents?
Shipp suggests 6:30 to 6 p.m. I’m confident that we can staff those hours. 8-3:30 p.m. are school hours.
Prall: I like this plan, hadn’t heard it before today. This takes into account our parents, many of whom are working full-time.
We’re really trying to work with the parents here, we separate ourselves from the other public schools in the area.
SS: We want to be as open as possible to as many families as possible. We don’t get transportation funds.
B&G club don’t provide care to 5-year-olds. SS: We’ll be looking for option for the youngest students.
Wolf: Project School provides after-school care for just 5 year olds.
English: Suggests concessions in rental for concessions in 5-year-olds (B&G club negotiations).
SS: copies of resumes for teachers who have been brought on board pending final approval.
Kindergarten: Jenny Purcell and Tracy Patterson. JP amenable to what makes our curriculum more traditional. Mrs. Patterson: extensive experience, loves kindergarten.
Janelle Reed: 2nd grade. Moved to the area a year ago. Daughter was at a classical school.
Dakota Michael: recent Hillsdale grad. Unconventional hire: philosophy major. Well-read in sorts of books we offer to our students. Paired in second grade with Janelle Reed.
Betsy Hilton (sp)? Local with experience in elementary ed. Specialty: reading.
4th grade: still working
5th grade: Shaun Barnette. Interesting and varied background. Spec. ed. Fluent in German, has done some translation work, brilliant guy, giving up a funded Ph.D. program to work with us.
Emily Albert: also a recent grad of Hillsdale College, where she got a good liberal arts education. Will help in front office and teach middle school math. Was math minor. Has a range of gifts, will help with after school music program.
Middle school history: Dr. Bruce Smith. Grew up in Indiana, Ph.D. from Notre Dame, has spent adult life in ed and agriculture and land management.
Robert Mochelle: graduated in 2012 from Hillsdale, taught at another classical school in New Mexico, got masters at St. John’s College, will be literature teacher.
Latin teacher: grew up in Ellettsville. Is finishing up a classics program at Bryn Mawr.
Lot of music from next door (Indiana Dance Academy is in building).
Patricia is another Hillsdale grad. Arts major, will be teaching arts at Seven Oaks.
Rachel Holland: strong background in children’s music. Last few years working with children’s music theater in downtown Chicago. Believes she will be superb fit for program.
Jerry Lynn Hero: p.e. teacher.
Deadra (sp?) Allbright: part-time exec. assistant (present)
We have a range of individuals, some with advanced degrees, some who have taught in conventional, some not. A diverse and varied group who collectively represent a wide range of strengths.
Prall: I compliment you on the diversity you have. I’m thrilled.
SS: As father, I’m deeply excited about teachers my own children will have.
English: Moves to approve the staffing plan. Disclose how much salary later.
Community outreach: We had talked about hiring someone for this position. Let’s consider. This person would be going out, doing canvassing on part-time basis.
SS: Outreach to local businesses, see if they would donate, training volunteers in canvassing.
Weaver: How much pay?
Weaver: We’ll move on, come back to that.
Kevin Davis from Indiana Charters sent over an amended contract with correct info at top. Kind of a la carte service that we would get: data collecting, business management, special ed, tracking, things like that we need to do for DOE. Contract in Google drive, a couple different options for payment.
Move to table until next meeting
Prall: question for Dr. Shipp? I think what he’s proposing directly relates to your data collection, so how important it is that he start on it right away.
SS: I hesitate to speak for him.
Prall: on contract, we’re going to have 20/20 vision in a few days, as opposed to today. I want to be real cautious about overcommitting our resources.
Wolf: We have motion on the table to table the contract discussion. No discussion.
Prall: The question is, do we need these services immediately. If we do, we need to find another way.
English: I’ll strike my motion to allow discussion.
Wolf: I would like a recommendation where we can review this further before we make the decision. We’re not prepared to do it today.
Prall: I’ll reintroduce motion to table the contract.
Prall: Propose that you contact him to see if he can provide support without contract.
Weaver: Okay, I’ll talk to him.
Weaver: Back to community outreach. Designating $1000 for next several weeks at 10 hours a week, $12 an hour.
Prall: I’d rather see that time put in sooner rather than later. If this doesn’t work at all, we’ll need to move on something else.
Weaver: what about 3 weeks at 20 hours a week?
Approve $1000 for community outreach hire.
Prall: We didn’t approve as much as they presented the bill. Can we approve the extra $2,100?
Weaver: I think it was not to exceed $6000.
Prall: I’m very satisfied with their services. I know it’s a bit above budget, but I think this is reasonable.
More thumping music from next door.
Bill from Herald-Times for advertising for one of their programs (summer guide). Wolf: Did the distribution that they were promising actually happen?
English: I’ll bring the bill and we can investigate.
Prall: Recommended that we join Ellettsville Chamber of Commerce. Let’s give $100 (4x nonprofit rate) to show them that we want [good relationship].
Prall: We have an option with how we treat state unemployment expense. As nonprofit, we have option of not paying tax, but paying fees. I’m anti-big government, so I’d rather pay it for what we need rather than as a tax. There’s certainly risk involved in paying on your own, but it can be as much as 25% of payroll that you’ve paid in.
English: This is only for people who are terminated. We’ve just hired. We wouldn’t have any occurrence of unemployment, so it strikes me that we’d be paying on new hires = waste of money.
Prall: That’s truly a valid argument. Is there an enrollment period? I’m not entirely sure. You can opt out of tax system for any year, but you may need to commit for two years.
Prall: I don’t know whether teachers are subject to unemployment. Head Start not when they are released for the summer. I tried to consult a CPA.
Wolf: Someone at the state would be willing to answer those questions. I can look it up.
Prall: We have to make a decision before the end of July. Will two weeks mark be enough time?
Prall: We have an option—placed upon us a request for utility deposits: Vectren: $13,000+. Duke: $8,000. We’ve got $55,000 of cash left to get this ball up and rolling. We’re supposed to get funding mid-July, so I’m expecting we may not have much of financial crutch (?). Beyond that, the request for spending is just insatiable, so I’m not sure how far that can go. We’ve got a request in for some wiring or something like that. One or two things like that and we don’t have any money. We have to be real cautious here. I’ve sent everybody a financial statement. I’ll be brief.
Wolf: back to utility?
Prall: Sustained a letter of credit in amount of…something. It’s fifteen. It was to have covered both of those, but there were two Vectren requirements. I’m hesitant to go back to bank and ask them for more because it looks stupid and unorganized, which we are. The issue is how quickly do we need this $21,000…$13,000 plus $8,000 plus.
Deadra: They said that we will get 6% interest if we use our money to pay those deposits.
Wolf: Do you know their timeline, when they need payment by?
Weaver: What would be recommendation, then?
Prall: I’m in deferral mode. In a few days, we’ll have much better sense of where our finances are. I’d rather put the deposit down, but I don’t want the air conditioning turned off.
Weaver: Is it working? (laughter)
Prall: Can we turn off the gas without any consequence? And, by the way, this is supposed to represent the monthly cost?
Wolf: Can we defer this decision for two weeks?
Prall: I’ve only got $55,000.
English: Are utilities in our name now?
Deadra: Water’s in our name.
English: Absolutely, we can delay for two weeks. They need to give us notice.
Wolf: They’ve already been here. Let’s use the letter of credit. (?)
Weaver: Do we know for sure that they would accept the credit?
Prall: Pretty sure.
Wolf: I would move to use letter of credit, if we ask for more.
Prall: We need $21,000, but we just have $15,000 letter of credit.
Deadra: Is a surety bond any cheaper?
English: But that’s money that’s gone.
Prall: I don’t know anything about surety bonds.
English: Owen County state bank understands where we are in this process, I think that’s the best approach for getting it taken care of.
Prall: I will go ahead and do that, get a letter of credit for $21,000.
Prall: Another thing that affects us is fiscal year. Schools often go with government fiscal year, which ends June 30. A lot of not-for-profits are on June 30 year end.
SS: Thinks that Indiana Charters is presuming that we would adopt that.
Prall: We have to change that to get there.
Weaver: I would be okay with asking for change.
English: I have changed by-laws to reflect that change. I have also changed by laws to conform to new law that went into effect, that says if we cease operation, we pay employees, pay creditors, pay common school fund, then DOE within 30 days of cessation of operation.
Move to amend by-laws to add those changes.
English: We can amend by-laws at any time.
Prall: I think there’s also a requirement that we have approval of sponsor, Grace, for any change in by-laws.
English: Let’s make the change and then show Grace.
Prall: So we’re not waiting for their approval.
English: I think this is all going to be part of checklist on charter.
Wolf: I think that we would approve by-laws and then it would go to Grace for approval.
Weaver: Motion on table.
English: I will pass these around for member approval.
Prall: I can answer any questions you have. Our expenditures have been very close to what we had budgeted. One other criteria: Profit-loss by class. Lists different categories.
Gave detailed transactions.
SS: Thank you for all your hard work.
Wolf: Can we make sure that gets in Minutes folder on Google Drive and not just part of paper record.
Prall: insurance options.
SS: I have forwarded insurance quotes to Matt and Fred as they’ve come in. We should consider giving some latitude to finance or facilities committee to review proposals and act.
Prall: This is no easy task.
Wolf: There are some other requirements in terms of builders’ risk pieces.
SS: Where I focused my work is on getting quotes in. I’m going to rely on Matt and Fred to intelligently review proposals.
Wolf: Give building and finance committee authority to sign off on insurance contract as necessary.
Prall: I’m not sure what he means, and that’s just holding back the flood. There are so many issues that we are just weeks away from.
Prall: Just doing that isn’t enough. It may be what’s needed to get construction going.
Wolf: First item: Meetings with Jeff Baldwin, Oscar Gonzales, with folks next door providing us music this evening. We’re continuing negotiation. The B&G club were receiving quite a generous donation in terms of reduced costs. $1,800 a month. Our problem is it doesn’t pay for utilities, costs, of rehab of that part of building. Certainly, we don’t want to lose them as a tenant. We believe in their mission and they will provide a service to our families.
Indiana Dance Academy and B&G club:
Prall: Operator leasing gym?
Wolf: Planning to vacate August 1st.
Prall: Do they have an interest in staying?
SS: We have a strong interest in access to gym ourselves.
Motion approved for building committee to negotiate leases.
Wolf: They already have a plan to move.
Wolf: Pictures have been removed. Dr. Bruce Smith did some trimming along the front. Might even look worse before it looks better, but a step in the right direction.
Repair to insulation around piping. Commencement of construction by Triangle, starting demolition as soon as funding is proposed.
Prall: Do we have a revised budget plan?
Wolf: In Google Drive. Can e-mail as well.
Also, proposal from AME group. Category 6 cabling to all classrooms, wiring to teacher workstation, wireless access points minus one hallway.
Total price: $18,500. Sales tax can be taken off. This would get us covered for first year. Originally budgeted for $90,000. This is a what-we-need budget, if we need to add wiring later, we can do that. Smithville Fiber is what we have coming into building.
Prall: When I was last in discussions, we didn’t know what we wanted. How did we determine that?
Weaver: we asked Matt.
SS: I’ve been part of discussions. Part of what he’s relying on is my assessment of what is needed. He’s found an adequate alternative.
Prall: Where are these guys located?
Wolf: Right here.
Prall: There’s an employee-owned company in Ellettsville?
Prall: What are the requirements for bidding?
English: I didn’t think the threshold was that high? $18,000 is too low, thinks it’s $150,000.
Wolf: that’s one of the relaxations that we have, distinction of charters from local public schools.
They’re willing to do it over weekends if they have to.
Wolf: Would want to talk about this in two weeks.
Motion to table passed.
Wolf: There’s some deferred maintenance that we’ll be taking care of with roof replacement.
SS spent last weekend bailing and pumping water from classroom that has leak. Bruce Smith helped too. Thank you for that.
Weaver: Don’t think we have an update.
700 cash, more in credit, raised just more than $1000.
Prall: On credit cards, saw something about raffle. I think there are some rules on raffles. Are we aware of those?
Wolf: There were
What were we raffling?
English: Birth control pills for board members.
Weaver: Too late for that.
Weaver: If we wanted to have meet-and-greet at Splash Pad at Karst Farm, that would be $37. Vegeler: That’s to rent just one of the shelters.
Weaver: Would like motion to have Brigitta to move forward on events planning $50 to $100 for month of July.
Marketing committee: We’re getting ready to do another brochure run.
Prall: Saw volunteers at 4th of July parade. One recommendation? Could we not send out materials as part of parade? You didn’t get very far with the materials.
SS: Let’s recognize Bill Keaton (?) who did the lion’s share of work on the float.
Wolf: I’ll continue to run FB ads.
Audience member asks: How many kids do you have enrolled? SS: fully enrolled, 203.
2nd grade: 33:
7th and 8th grade, a bit letter.
One other question: if construction doesn’t end up on target, what happens to calendar year? SS: Perpetual fact of life for charters starting up is the race to that start date.
SS: Holding back on organizing community work day until we have complete grounds design plan. (Husband owns? Works with? Designscape).
Tree planting? Natural green space? Not big enough for sports, but you still have to mow it.
Weaver: We have other companies coming out to discuss snow removal.
Prall: Image is important. We need to make it look like we’re getting something done. Maybe we could close off the road there, so they could keep stuff off our lawn, we might check with city.
Wolf: Exterior improvements: Retaining wall, anything unsafe, anything that needs concrete repair.
Weaver: We have a parent willing to have building of natural landscape, trail.
SS: We’ve got faculty members who will want to engage students in care of property, a lot of interest in parent community and faculty, care of land. It’s exciting to think about kind of transformation.
English: Seven Oaks policy manual and parent and student handbook. Do we want to wait for two weeks to approve those things?
Prall: Two weeks is too long.
English: All in Google Drive, sent it to you seven or eight days ago.
SS: Have reviewed all documents, think they are well done. They are serviceable as is. Handbook: modeled in part after Atlanta Classical Academy.
English: Between two, integrates harassment, anti-bullying requirements. Used several parts of each. We want parents to be able to access this on web site. Has discipline policies, restroom facilities. Fred, I apologize that you didn’t get it.
Prall: here’s my position: We’re asking to approve policies that I learned about at 12:30 today. I do object to voting on something that I haven’t had a chance to read.
Wolf: My suggestion: these should be part of agenda package that should be provided to board 24 hours in advance.
English: I don’t want Fred to abstain on voting. These are not so time sensitive.
Prall: I don’t have a problem with posting it and saying, pending approval or something.
Prall: I didn’t get the e-mail last week.
Weaver: We’ll table that approval until we meet in two weeks.
Prall: That seems pretty long. We don’t all have to be at board meetings.
English: I have other important meetings Monday and Tuesday of next week.
English: Moves to table.
Prall: I’m much more concerned about the finances as opposed to the handbook. That’s what worries me about waiting.
English: Is there a possibility since a number of people are off…Monday or Tuesday afternoon?
SS: While I appreciate urgency, we should make every effort to do that as is consistent with adequate review of documents. Thank you to Terry for assembling the documents with attention to state law. These will be very serviceable to our community.
Weaver: I’m fine with Monday. Three to five we will be at Crestmont Food Pantry, 11th and Monroe.
English: Can we do this special meeting on Monday the 11th?
Weaver: I would have to bring children.
SS: Available at 3.
Prall: I have a small conference room.
Wolf: It has to be public.
Weaver: after we adjourn, we can figure out the place.
English: we have to decide now to inform the public.
Prall: This is the largest crowd we’ve ever had: 1802 W. 17th ST, 3 p.m. next Monday, First American Trust. (Have to get there from the east)
Secretary Vegeler reviews actions.
Approved minutes, approved SAC times, approved proposed staffing plan, gave authority to bulding and finance committee to approve insurance, approved $1000 for outreach, payment to ___, $100 to Ellettsville chamber of commerce, amended by-laws to end fiscal year, approved lease negotiation, approved Brigitta,
Monday, then August 2, 6:30 to 8:30 hopefully here.
Prall: We may need another special meeting.
Wolf: requests that all documents be packaged up a day before next meeting.
Prall: Do we ever encourage comments from the public?
SS: Want to highlight as part of staffing plan, to have Miss Allbright to have full-time employment effective immediately.
Was that part of motion that was approved? Was that specifically stated? We verbally approved the hires.