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March 2010 Board Meeting minutes

7 May 2010

Agassiz Board Meeting



Ann Hollway
Michael Baran
Eric Evich
Peter Kochansky
Ben Mayer

Director’s Report
Licensing – Tracey recently  spoke to Charlotte the licensor . She will come see the new building very soon.  She recommends starting the licensing process in the summer for a fall move-in.

Josh was wondering about worst case scenarios – what has to be done in the yard and exterior, etc. to get licensed for a fall move-in. There is lead on the exterior clapboards and in the soil, which has implications down the road and we need to understand how this will impact costs, phasing and move in. Kristin recommended testing the soil ASAP because abatement is expensive and it would be good to know what we are in for earlier. Josh wanted to hold off until it comes up for licensing. Tracey reported that licensing requirements are stringent and absolute. She says they are more stringent than what we would want as parents.

Tracey signed an extension on the loan with Winter Hill Bank (acquisition/construction financing) through the end of June. If the project is still incomplete they will sign another extension.  But they are anxious for us to complete the work. MassDevelopment will close and repay Winter Hill when complete.

Kristin was curious about MassDev closing conditions, whether they would need a certificate of occupancy to close or if they need us to actually move in and be operating.

Open House/admissions –
Tracey reported that there were fewer people in attendance than previous open houses, but that they received more applications than usual. Those who came to OH were serious applicants and would seem like good contributors to the community. The Move doesn’t seem like its putting people off. Admissions committee meeting later this week. Tracey may want to show people the new space before they accept,  on a Saturday morning. She will discuss it with Ed.

The financial records are pretty much up to date. Tracey is still working on reconciling a couple months. Kathryn came and set up recording of loans and make some adjustments. Tracey reported that the books are looking pretty good. Kathryn has been very helpful.

Tracey is planning to send about $53,000 to NFF to pay down the bridge loan. Tracey has been going over the loan documents and they indicate that monies coming in to the capital campaign go to NFF first.  Prepayments will save us interest.  The school has  $155,000 in checking account, and $53500 of that is  from the Cap camp. There are an additional $15,000 in capital campaign commitments.

Tracey has the engagement letter for the accountant to prepare the taxes for the treasurer and chair to sign Hiring Committee

Hiring –
Michael reported that the hiring committee includes all the staff, 3 teachers, Tracey, and 6 parents. They are going to interview the candidates they currently know about, which is 4 applicants for the two positions. If they are absolutely thrilled and think they are best for the position, they will hire them. If not and or if anyone is uncomfortable with the candidates they will post the position.  They are handling it this way to not take up too much of people’s time.

Lesley Lease-
Tracey had talked to Ed about the proposed lease. He’s going to make changes and then it will go back to Lesley.  One change was to the insurance section where they require $10 million liability policy, which we don’t have. Ed will also review the policy.  Lesley also wants $1000 per month for heat. Tracey is inclined to pay them.  She is concerned that would burn bridges. For instance, they may still allow us to use the yard for the tree sale.  Josh thinks they could be convinced to contribute down the road to capital campaign.  Peter agreed that we should ask to extend the agreement through the time we know we need it. Ed thinks we should pay the money.  Board approves paying the money as part of signing a new lease.  The board voted to approve paying the money but requested that Tracey seek the extension through “as long as we need it.”  She also needs them to deal with heat – so the building is not overheated.

  1. Staff report – Ann reported that the staff are sick of heat. Other than that they are great.  David recommended a parent campaign to call about the heat.
  2. YG –  Janet and Ann says the YG is great.  Ann finally finished the evaluations and will be handing them out later this week. They are building insects, have tents, science area, and are having a field trip later in the spring.
  3. MG –David says the MG kids are good. They met with Richard 3/4  weeks ago, and got together for a nice social event. Everything is good. There is a keen interest among the parents in the hiring process for next year.
  4. OG – Michael says the OG is great. They are working on countries, artists, buildings, fairytales etc.  Katie is doing fantastic projects, the kids are engaged and they are learning things.Treasurer’s report   – all but 4 families are current on tuition. Two non attending families still owe some money and are being sent letters.   Tuition payment pledges total $1161. Eric is interested in revising the deposit to be a full month’s tuition, to make it easier for bookkeeping and to avoid confusion involved in current system. There was a very long discussion about late fees for late pick ups because some families are consistently late. There are also people who linger after pick up. Tracey says its an old problem.  She is going to give written warning, and then implement the late fee policy.  Tracey’s is going to write a letter asking people to respect the rules, and take conversation out side. It is hard for the teacher s when  kids aren’t being  supervised by their parents who have arrived to pick them up, and play in areas already cleaned and set up.

Next year afterschool will be offered  4 days.

Budget –
Eric presented the budget. The board requested increases in repairs and maintenance, and replacement reserves. Kristin will provide some names for capital needs schedule consultants.   Kristin also recommended that we review the loan docs for any net income covenants. There was much discussion on the budget. The board approved the Going with recommended tuition increase of 4% with 20,000 in net income.   Eric will circulate the revised budget. Board approved based on what he presented.

Capital  campaign update: (Michael read Heather’s report). A few highlights:

  • Team Agassiz – people participating in Charles River Run/Walk. Everyone who is running is shooting for $1,000 each, which seems reasonable.
  • Tuition check off pledges of  $1161
  • The committee was considering a fundraising drive timed with the tax season but there is discussion on this. Capital campaign wants to pledge 1% of their income to Agassiz. They are having trouble getting people to meet to actually discuss this. Tracey is concerned that current families are tapped and already working hard.  Eric recommended that we suggest 10% of their tax refund which seemed like a lighter request.
  • Musician’s CD and conert – working on a CD (Andrew) getting musicians and recoding time. Then will have a concert, had been shooting for 5/1 but will need to change the date.
  • Developing support from major donors. The committee has identified some major donors and are working on outraech. Tracey has some phone calls to make. David said the Life is Good people live near here and buy a tree at the tree sale every year and could be engaged.
  • They are seeking out mailing addresses for alumni, but it has been difficult. The Facebook group is almost ready to launch. Seth and Donna are putting together an alumni event, and there is some talk of an alumni workday at the new building.  Ben thought not needed for a labor point of view but could do as a fundraising opportunity.  Janet was wondering how easy it was to raise $$ from actual grown children alumni. Heather has contacts and is finding them through facebook, which seems like the way to do it. Message” rejoin community you were once part of”…
  • Tile campaign – working on that, $250 each.
  • Grants – Kathy Hart has found one possible grant.
  • Family that was the raffle committee has left, need a new raffle coordinator. They need someone new to run the raffle.
  • Jenise is working on a fundraising letter to go out in Constant Contact.

Relocation update –
The lumber delivery was today and  the framers start tomorrow. They are buttoning the building up, and fire protection work is starting. The  steel has been fabricated and firecoated.  Josh is working with the builder to refine the plumbing scope and budget.  They signed contract with the lift installer (under budget). They have a  quote for the roof . Now that the framers are back Josh should be able to get a schedule from the builder.

The work weekend was described as “Great, great, great.”  Everyone showed up. They overestimated the amount of child care. Shona will check in on the right number for next time and reallocate child care people to site helpers. The building committee meets tomorrow at 4:30. Ben, Joel, and Jeff picked up big piece of the load that Josh was shouldering, which was a relief.

Eric, Tracey and Josh met about the construction budget and feel they have a good handle it —  what’s been spent, how earlier funds were accounted before (there had been a mixing of operating and construction monies) .There is additional money available so there is a reserve, which is outside of the construction budget.

Unknowns on the construction/relocation:  The schedule and when we’ll be ready to move. The exterior of the building is an unknown area (Tracey said the outside can be done at some other time, but josh wasn’t certain that was best).  There are some outstanding issues with the City but the builder, Josh and the architect are working on those.

Action Items
Review Mass Dev closing conditions – Kristin