2022 – October 26th HSE School Board Meeting Live Notes

The following are my notes taken from the October 26th, 2022 HSE School Board meeting. These notes were taken while listening to the meeting, so they are not presented in the best manner and might contain errors based on what I heard. For the most accurate information on the meeting, you can view the video of the meeting on the HSESchools.org website.

Meeting called to order at 7:01pm

Brad Boyer was not at the meeting.

2.01 Music and Movement – Sand Creek Elementary

Video was played on the program.

Communication Foundation Language (CFL) – Students using assisted technology such as iPads to communicate. This helps to teach them ways to express their needs and wants.

This year Sand Creek Elementary started a unique program for their students in the CFL program. This is called Music and Movement. Every day, the class works alongside the Related Arts team (P.E., Art, and Music) to foster independence and practice multiple ways to communicate needs and wants using kinesthetic and multi-sensory techniques. As an example, if they are learning body parts, they might incorporate that into a Mr. Potato Head song to help learn.

3.x Public Comments on Posted Agenda Items

No one signed up for Public Comment – so any questions school board candidates or others had on the Budget, they chose not to ask at this meeting.

4. Consent Agenda

  • 4.01 Board Minutes
    Approved 6-0
  • 4.02 Certified and Support Staff Reports (
    Approved 6-0
  • 4.03 Staff and Admin Compensation (Lots of info. I didn’t get it all).
    • This included pay changes that were mentioned in the previous meeting. The eliminated the lowest level and added a level at the t
      If they tried to normalize the increases to a flat 2.9 across the board it would have cost over $1 million. Staff positions
    • There were comments on why a couple of Accounting positions were shifted – primarily due to level of responsibility. New scale has a higher top.
    • Any staff member that has worked 3/4 of their work days gets to advance a step on the pay scales. Increases were between 2 and 5.6%. For positions that are not “steps”, they got the average increase (3.8%?). Substitute I/As were increased by a $5 increment
    • Increases for salary are retroactive to July. Hourly is effective starting this next week.
    • Q&A – The one step increase is pretty standard.
    • Question on contract -Is it a one year; does that include admin? People hired are normally on a one or two year agreement to start.
    • Comment by Board – It was stated at the FishersOne event that the Special Ed director at HSE was making half of what DEI person makes. It was pointed out that This is not true. The specific numbers were mentioned, but I didn’t capture them here. They are online. The numbers were relatively close with both seeming to be well-paid.
    • Approved: 6 – 0

  • Stephane Bordelon is the New Principal at Lantern Road Elementary. Returning to HSE. Was an admin at other districts.
    • Worked at Hoosier Road as a teacher, then an assistant principal there, then worked at sever other schools including Cumberland Road.  Was here for 10 years before.
  • Item 4.04 WTHR vs. HSE Settlement Agreement – WILL BE MOVED TO NOV. 9 MEETING

5.01 Informational: Custodial Supports Update

Staffing is a big focus. They have positions listed at over 106 job sites including Indeed ads. They have a dedicated region recruiter.  For retention they have two training/quality supervisors, they have monthly safety training, and the use GEM (Great Employees make Magic) program.

They are back to doing review how the custodian staff is doing. They want a “B” rating or better. Not quite there with all schools and such.

They started with 94 in July, had an increase, but dropped to 106 in October. Some attrition is people not meeting standard or getting on board. Staffing will be an ongoing thing. Chart shows staffing. Red line is turnover.

 Q&A – Is current staff a part of the encouragement, recognition, or other programs? The answer was – this is an SSE thing (?) so it includes all custodial staff.

Q&A: Is there a checklist or something else that is used for the ratings of the schools and custodial work? Yes, it is very detailed and covers specifics in classrooms, hallways, and all areas. Review is of entire building and looks at every room. Points out if areas need more help as well as specific areas. This is done at a Building level.  Dr. Stokes mentioned that the review document was shared when she first started.

Was pointed out that having only 8 openings seemed like good

$17.10 hourly starting rate. Was stated that this is good. Biggest challenge is staff has to travel (30 to 40 minute) to get to their buildings. That is the challenge.   Head Custodians $20.

Q&A – When they switched from the other companies, what percentage of the companies shifted to SSE and stayed?  Estimated that 70 to 75 percent came over from one, and 50 to 60 percent from the other.

Fullhart asked if there was anything the schools, teachers, students should be doing with or for the janitors? Comment was that leaving notes and such are always appreciated. (PTOs often include them as part of staff they recognize).

5.02 Informational: Transportation Update

The Zach gave an update on transportation

335 Staff members in the Transportation department. They lost a lot of staff during Covid (didn’t say how they were lost). Three tiers has heled to keep things going. Average about 26 open routes a day (routes without a driver). 3 currently don’t have drivers assigned. They try to keep consistent subs on those routes. Before and after a break there is always more open routes.

8 drivers in the training process. This takes a lot of hours to train, which is rigorous and mandated. A lot of the training is memorization on pre-trip planning/checks, and more. Until a person is 85% in the pre-check, they don’t drive on their ow.

There is a Parent Tracking app they want for students. With over 1,000,000 miles driven every year, the tracking is rough. They are doing a pilot program with a tracking app. It is not always accurate, so they are still working on it. For example, the app showed the bus hadn’t arrived yet and the kids were already on the bus… oops. Until the data is more accurate, they are not going to release the app.

Electric Bus

It is in use now. Kids on the route were excited and they took pictures and such. Some kids are calling it a Tesla. Range is really good. The bus is going about two full days before charging, which is showing a savings running the bus.

Staffing – continue to put banners on the web site, in newsletters, and more.

Zach hopes to be back next month to talk about the update to the transportation center.

Q&A –
There was some confusion with a sports team. The Track team didn’t have a driver in the spring. This happened again at one of the high schools for a football game. What does the district do when there isn’t a sub or driver for a football game.
Zach: This is specifically about the “field or sports trips”. This is not the standard routes. They have had trouble getting people. Last year they did over 20,000 hours in ECA trips alone. They have worked on the pay scale and are constantly re-evaluating to see what they can do.  250 trips in September/October and only 12 drivers that came to the meeting to bid for those trips. Extracurricular drivers/driving is above and beyond the normal routes. They are looking for possibly getting trained drivers that are willing to do the ECA trips. There are some employees at other districts that sub during fall/spring breaks and some of our drivers do the same at other districts.

Letter Grades next to bus – Type A is an activity bus 14 passengers or less. C is the bus with a nose, the D is the flat front type of bus.

The 14 passenger buses don’t require the same CDL licensing as the big buses.

Michelle again commented students and other recognizing the bus drivers as well. Zach mentioned that one driver showed him a “world best bus driver” mug that the driver was very proud of.

Dr. Stokes commented again that the drivers are appreciated.

5.03 Informational: Exceptional Leaners Support Update

Amy Selby will provide an update from the Exceptional Learners department. She mentioned that anyone can recognize a staff member by posting a RAVE review on the school site.

The Exceptional Learning team serves over 2370 students – which is just over 10%, which is less than state averages. The team includes:

  • 125 teachers
  • 240 support staff
  • 12 somethings.
  • 28 speech pathologists
  • 11 therapists,
  • 6 district specialists
  • And several more…

Three areas they are focusing on this year: Data, staff development, and collaboration

Analyzing / datamining the data to better use staffing and resources as well as better transparency. The data will be used to make informed decisions to make sure they have best practices across the district as well as making sure they are in compliance.

They will always continue to develop their staff. Continued training. Best in class educators locally and across the state. Will look at data matrix to inform on where staff should be develop. Collaboration will continue across all areas. They want to make sure they have information available and are communicating what they are doing.

Their students are general academic students first. They want to make sure all opportunities are available. They look forward to putting “our kids first and surrounding them with happy people”.

Not every program is located in every building. They do have to have a continuum of services in place.

About 18% of the students they serve are in a special program. This could be students that spend part of their day in a CFL class and the rest in the general classrooms.

5.04 Informational: Policy First Reading:

  • B05.05 Broadcasting of Board Meetings;
    • This adds live streaming for any meetings where all seven board meetings are attended. Work sessions are not being added (meetings that don’t have all seven board members and are generally not in the room where the cameras are). There is also a cost for each meeting being recorded.
    • Suzanne said that sometimes the policy meetings often have healthy conversation and would be good to include. It was stated that those meetings aren’t in the room where the camera is, the policies still come up in both meetings, etc.
    • Only meetings recorded have to be in the district board meeting room – because that is where the cameras are.
    • Money was the reason in the past for this being turned down.
    • Janet asked Jeff Harrison explain why a service is being used.
      • Putting the video on YouTube, you lose ownership to the video, so taking it down doesn’t take it down. (Hmmm…. In my opinion videos should never go away anyway).
      • YouTube doesn’t do good ADA compliant close captioning. There is a person watching live and close captioning.
  • I03.06.04 Postsecondary Enrolment Program;
  • I05.00 Special items; (curriculum)
    • Rescinded.
  • I06.00 Charter Schools
    • Rescinded. Indiana code covers this.

6.  Action: Policy Second Reading:

  • E05.00 Food Services Management;
  • J05.02 Student Government;
  • J06.03 Contests for Students;
  • J06.05 Interscholastic Athletics;
  • J06.06 Intramural Sports;
  • J06.08 Extracurricular Academic Standards;
  • J07.03 Student Accidents;
  • D07.03 Personal Debts of Employees;
  • D10.04 Sales Calls and Demonstrations;
  • K07.00 Visitors to School;
  • K07.01 Attendance at School Events

Updates/changes Passed 6-0

6.02 Request Permission to Issue RFP to Solicit CMC Services for Fishers Elementary School

Request to be able to get proposals for hiring a Construction Management as Constructor (CMC) for the Fishers Elementary School Project. Passed 6-0.

6.03 Donations

Donations in excess of $5,000 go to the board annually whether at the corporate level or school level. The board approves this. The foundation donation was a private person who donated to clear out lunch balances that simply went through the foundation

Passed 6-0.

Question was asked what happens after people make a donation. It was stated that if it is to the building level, they often send out thank you’s.

6.04 Adopt Budget

There was no public comments or questions raised by at the public budget meeting that occurred. $284 million for the budget (rounded). Final approved budget from the government comes in December/January. They expect a reduction in the tax rate. There are a ton of documents online including those lined to the agenda

It was stated by CFO Katy Dowling that the budget is a team effort that had a lot of people involved. There were a couple of statements made about shifting funds that are done to add to spending towards classroom plans.

Rainy day fund is $14 million. It is not the $79+ million that was reported at a public meeting this last week. Katy stated that if you look at aggregate amounts of money, the higher number is more accurate but (my word) misleading. Some of that money is already spent on construction or other things so it is committed and not actually available (if I understood what was said correctly).

$4.9 million in deficit this last year is a result of some years being higher and others being lower.

Budget Passed. 6-0

6.05 Pursuit Institute (formerly HCCCA)

A number of slides were presented on this topic. The slides were all text, which is included as bullet points here (My comments or notes are preceded with “>>>”).

  • Recommendation
    • Administration recommends approval of the agreement that allows HSE Schools to participate with the Pursuit Institute for CTE programming effective the 2023/24 school year.
    • Local Control
      • HSE determines if we keep our programs “closed” or “open” to students from other districts in the PI
        • This would be determined by student course requests/enrollment
      • Gives us the flexibility of self-op with the benefits of a cooperative venture
      • The goal of many has been to create a local HSE Vocational School; PI provides the administrative oversight to assist in growth, while allowing for local district autonomy Rationale for Recommendation
    • The partnership between six Hamilton County school districts will lead to a larger network of educators to expand meaningful CTE-based professional development.
    • Future Program Expansion
      • PI has better potential to provide additional CTE opportunities for our students.

        >>> If we had students that needed a certain program, but we didn’t have enough students, we can combine with another school that might not also have enough students and the class would be able to happen.
      • Partnership between the six Hamilton County districts will likely give PI impactful financial negotiating ability to select entities to assist in expanding locally created CTE pathways.

        >>> 16 new pathway options will be available with this new program.
        >>> Be able to collaborate on putting pressure on IoDE and others.
    • Financially Beneficial to HSE
      • More dollars available to support and/or expand in-house programs
      • • Cost of the PI is significantly less than JEL
    • Student Accessibility
      • 200+ students already on-site
      • Placement of 31 students currently at JEL is likely to be more proximate to HSE
  • Program Staffing

    >>> Mr. Urban mentioned the Career piece was important back in 2015 when looking at building the CCAs. They brought a lot of career things inhouse at that time. They tripled the number of students taking vocational courses when they did that. They want to make sure they don’t negatively impact the vocational course brought inhouse with any change.  Mr. Urban feels good about staffing and procurement for the Pursuit Institute and working to make in house programs go.

    • Posting of positions will be executed immediately to begin the hiring process
    • Flexibility of hiring – teaching licensing; workplace specialist licensing; adjunct teacher licensing
    • Compensation based on the teacher agreement.
  • Procurement of Equipment & Materials
    • HSE Facilities Department is working to obtain equipment via a co-op or service center.
    • Materials will be acquired via routine purchasing procedures.

In 2023/24 – six programs categories that HSE would have access to include (I think I captured these correctly): 

  • Ag science pathway
  • Education and training.
  • Health Sciences.
  • Hospitality
  • Information Technology
  • Transportation/Distribution

Lots of information on these categories, which I didn’t capture.

Suzanne made a statement she wanted to add to the minutes. She said that she appreciated the presentation. Appreciates the information and the feedback. Her statement was read too fast for me to catch and transcribe. If it is posted, I’ll post a copy as it was good stuff. What I gleamed:

As a board member, she did push for the delay for the vote. She is a supporter of career and technical education. HSE students deserve a variety of options and needs. She received criticism for the delay. She felt the decision was being rushed. She had heard there was some concerns. Heard parents knew little about it. HSE is the last to join, but it was in August that they first time heard of it, and it was the first the teachers had heard of it as well.

This is a district directional change. 75% of the information needed to make a decision she had to find herself. Leaving JEL was a big decision and there were other questions as well. There was no HSE feasible study.

There is a 5-year plan for the Pursuit Institute. There is also a course catalog that has been started. She is not aware that the board is aware of it. Full Perkins Funding is set up. The admin has had through discussion, to help iron out any concerns.

As a result of all of this, she is not apologizing for the two-week delay. Rather, more people should have been aware of this six months ago. She commented that Dr. Stokes had indicated that she thought the board was already aware.

UPDATE: Here is a link to Suzanne’s actual statement: Statement by Board Member Suzanne Thomas for Item 6.05

(My thought: Better to delay two weeks to make sure something is solid than to make a decision and find out two weeks later something was overlooked.)

Motion and vote – passed 6-0.

7.01 Board President’s Report

Parent School Safety Academy is accepting applications December 1st and Dec 8th. You get a behind the looks view of safety practices. Limited to 50 parents or guardians. Must have an up-to-date safe visitors pass.

I’m bummed! I’m volunteering for a Christmas program on the 8th, which is more important to me, so I can’t do this! Only apply if you can do both dates.

8.01 Superintendent’s Report – Matters of Corporation Interest

One of the Junior High students just one the county spelling event! An example of academic excellence happening in HSE.

Royals are undefeated in football at this point!  Sectionals start now so everything is 0=0. If both FHS and HHS win, they will be playing each other at Fishers – Mudsock rematch!

8.02 November 9, 2022, DRAFT Agenda

Includes coverage of

  • Secondary courses
  • Additional appropriation hearing
  • Other stuff.

Suzanne mentioned she went to the We the People event at HHS. Fishers took the trophy!

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