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May 2010 Board Meeting Minutes

30 Jul 2010

Agassiz Board Meeting



Tracey Kaplan
Ann Holloway
Ben Mayer
Josh Safdie
Michael Baran
Kathryn Rosenberg
Kristin Blum
Janet Young
Joel Bennett

  1. 1. Director’s Report

Tracey reported that she met with the licensor at the new building. She likes it and is supportive.

Hiring – The hiring committee has been active.  Six of seven interviews have been set up for the lead teacher position.  They interviewed current substitute teacher Jason as an assistant (after extensively going over the applications). He interviewed very well.  Tracey reported that the hiring committee and all the staff unanimously voted to hire him, and she was now seeking board approval. Jason is excited about the job and about working with kids. He will be taking a couple more classes and will then be lead teacher certified so he can sub. He is excited to learn from Ann and  Richard.  He is working on a BA in anthropology from UMass Amherst. He also has years and years of nannying experience, which is what he’s been doing full time while finishing his  coursework.  He also has experience doing sports mentoring with 10+age kids.   He should be finished with his  BA by end of summer.  He has offered to take early childhood classes. The board voted unanimously to hire Jason.

Enrollment – Tracey reported that the school is still getting applicants from Cambridge. Tracey think its important to continue to have kids from the Agassiz neighborhood.

The last day of school is June 23 rather than the 22nd because there was a snow day.

  1. 2. Staff Report

Paul would like to be notified if anyone but the parents are picking up the kids, and what time.   The teachers are banning Croc’s, and Flip Flops because they do not provide enough support, and are slippery. Also  children coming in rain boots should, please bring regular shoes to put on when they arrive. Parents should  check cubbies and make sure they are updated with properly sized clothes appropriate for the weather.  Bring sunscreen.  if it would be easier to have more kids using the same brand of sunscreen, Kristin wants to recommend a few brands (no wheat or nuts)  that could be purchased for everyone. She will check with people to see if they are ok with the particular brands.

Graduation is June 16th.  There may be a breakfast on the last day of school.

  1. 3. Group Reports

YG –  had a spring trip to Codman Farm that was great, and a potluck dinner.  YG is planning an end of year meeting to discuss transitions to summer and MG.  Ann reported that she doing a farm curriculum, and will then introduce the kids to artists and painting. They will paint with Annika’s grandmother, work with color wheels, and paint self portraits.

MG – is taking a field trip to the Museum of Natural History tomorrow.  They will be walking there.  There is no meeting currently planned,  but they will try to do that before the end of year.

OG – is doing great. They had a good field trip to the big apple circus.  No meetings are planned.

4. Treasurers report

Erick was not here, so Tracey provided a verbal report.  She indicated that Erick has been really helpful.  He has taken over tuition billing, writing letters to parents who are behind, and alums who are behind.   He is reviewing monthly reports, etc, and the budget.  Tracey reported that the books look good.   She also reported that there is a significant surplus in the operating budget , from savings on utilities, mortgage, and interest (b/c budgeted for expenses as if in new building).  The biggest savings resulted from how the construction loan interested was budgeted, because they assumed interest on the full loan during the project, but the loan hasn’t been fully drawn.  This is resulted in a significant surplus.  Tracey would like to use the surplus at the new building.  Kristin and Kathryn are interested in looking over the budget to actual report for the year to better understand the size of the surplus and how it resulted.

Tracey reported that the audit is happening now for end of last fiscal year (08-09).

5.   Capital campaign – see Kathy Hart’s summary for more details (attached).

Updates on various capital campaign activities:

Fundraising support from the current Agassiz community. There are three efforts underway. 1) team Agassiz –  18 parents are signed up signed up for the 5k run in late June and they have fundraising goals.  This is allowing them to raise money for contacts we wouldn’t otherwise reach.  Twelve are signed up to fundraise and to date have pledges of $2,640. 2) current Agassiz family giving through the monthly Tuition check off. This is underway.

Tile Campaign –  kicking off this week.

Musician CD and Concert – Scheduled for morning of June 5th The planning committee is meeting. The CD will be released at same time. [UPDATE: the concert and cd release have been rescheduled for September]

On Line Network/constant contact updates. Caroline is upgrading and sending the constant contact update.

Major Donors – One more major donation from an anonymous source was received. They are planning a thank you party on 5/25for those who have given $500 or more. There will be a tour of the new building and a party at the Thompson Brenner house.

Alumni Networks. The Facebook group is growing. There are regular updates, thanks to Lisa Mayer.  It needs more non-child alumni focused content.

Overall, the capital  campaign is about half way there. A payment was made recently on the NFF bridge loan ($54,000).

The Board thought the committee is doing a good job, and liked the diversity of ideas.  They need to make sure that the committee is evenly distributing the work.

6.   New Building

Josh is tracking estimates, door schedules, window proposals, etc. and setting up a system to track the construction budget, what we’ve been billed for, and  what Winter Hill has reimbursed us for.

He reported on the construction budget, indicating that some lines are over budget and some lines are under, but he’s been working to get the prices down to offset where they are over.  Overall, Josh feels like we are on track.   Two-thirds of the work has been bid out.   Finishes (ie floording) have not been bid yet. There are a couple of big items that they are holding off on, such as the siding, which is likely a $30k item.  He wants to make sure first that everything we need for a certificate of occupancy is done.  There are a couple of items that were missing from the original budget, such as the handrails and stair rails, which are a  $15K.  The yard is not in the current construction scope.  The siding decision was delayed to August until we can better see where we are on the budget.

Biggest variables right now include interior finishes, electrical, fire protection, and  understanding better where are with professional fees (Joel has added $15k to what the architects may bill us for)  siding, deck and porch.  The board requested more information on what various contingencies there are in the operating and construction budget.

Timeline:  the contractor has completed a schedule now.  The completion date is projected to be the end of July.  Josh thinks this is doable but tight. The timing depends on a few factors, such as the work weekends,  and how pricing works out for some items.

Yard – The soil tests are back. There is lead in the soil that will have to be dealt with.  We will also need to also build a retaining wall.  Several parents raised concerns about the potential to be in the building without the yard.  Josh would like another group of parents to take on working on the yard, including  planning and  budgeting, etc.  It can’t be done by the fall. There is a potential for a pro bono landscape architect who can work on a plan for the yard.

Next meeting Mon June 7 at 7pm. All welcome!