School Board Announcements
There will be a School Board meeting on Monday 2/13/17 at 3pm in the school library.
At our February 1st meeting the School Board finalized plans for the Deliberative Session, which is happening this Saturday morning at 9 am at DCS. We met with Moderator Jack Hutchinson to coordinate the agenda and made other preparations to ensure a smooth meeting.
One warrant article that will likely involve some discussion on Saturday is Article 1, the proposed operating budget. As people are likely aware, the Municipal Budget Committee decided to present a budget to the voters that is almost $500,000 less than what was proposed by the School Board. If approved at the Deliberative Session and on Voting Day in March then it would become the school’s budget for next year. In preparation for this possibility, Superintendent Sherman and Principal Yergeau presented to the Board last week the places where this money might come from. While their proposal eliminated money from several programs, the most affected was DCS personnel; the administration argued that meeting a budget cut that large would likely eliminate around four teaching positions. If the MBC budget is accepted by the voters, this proposal would serve as a starting place for our discussions. Final budget decisions rest with the School Board.
Since deliberative sessions involve motions being made, debated, and amended, the Board proposed the idea of providing background information to voters to assist in keeping up with the discussions that may happen. This document, entitled Background Information, can be found on the school’s website (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxVL913rNwPOOGxDczcwTk0tRFk/view) and will also be available at the Deliberative Session Saturday morning. Remember that babysitting will also be provided so that interested parents can attend. We hope to see you there! - Nate Oxnard
The School Board would like to welcome two familiar faces back to the DCS administrative team for July of 2017. At our January 25th meeting the Board voted to accept Superintendent Sherman’s nominations of Chris Smith for DCS principal and Brian Grieve for assistant principal next year.
Mr. Smith, who has been working as DCS assistant principal since last summer, has been impressed by the school’s sense of community and the teachers’ high level of commitment. His work experience has included years of teaching as well as administration, including two recent years as principal of a PreK-8 school in Vermont. Mr. Smith has earned two master’s degrees in Secondary Teaching and Educational Leadership and is currently working on a third. He sees a great deal of potential in Deerfield and is excited about using his previous administrative experience and research to meet the needs of our students at DCS.
Mr. Grieve worked as the DCS assistant principal from 2012 - 2016. For family reasons he decided to move to South Carolina last year, but upon experiencing education outside of New Hampshire, his family decided that our school is a better match. Mr. Grieve looks forward to re-establishing the rapport that he had developed with the community and helping lead DCS into its next phase.
We would like to thank all who served on the search committee as well as parents who came to our Meet the Candidates Night and provided their input. There were many insightful comments that helped the Board in our deliberations, and we are confident in our district’s choices. We look forward to the next chapter at DCS!
- Nate Oxnard
The School Board made the decision this evening to hire Chris Smith as next year's principal and has hired Brian Grieve to return as the assistant principal. Congratulations to both for enduring a very long, thorough and grueling interview process.
After meeting throughout November and December, the School Board arrived at a budget proposal for the 2017-2018 school year. As with most school budgets, the increases over the current year’s spending level included some mandatory expenditures as well as some increases that were optional.
Major mandatory increases in the School Board’s budget proposal included increases to teachers’ retirement benefits (~$106,000), increases to the Special Education program (~$205,000), additional funding to the school’s hot lunch program (~$18,000), and Deerfield’s share of the new SAU-level curriculum coordinator (~$28,000), all totaling more than $357,000.
Major optional increases included an update to the elementary-level math curriculum (~$11,000), salary raises for multiple administrative and front-office personnel (~$13,000), an engineering study of DCS and a demographic study of Deerfield for planning purposes (~$18,000), renewal of the paraprofessionals’ contract with raises (~$30,000), and adding a new bus route to the transportation system (~$55,000). These major optional increases total $127,000.
Together, these major increases in our proposed budget total approximately $480,000. At our December 21st meeting, the Board acknowledged that this represents a significant increase over the current year but concluded that (1) for various reasons we are unable to change the mandatory increases to the budget and (2) these optional additions would be valuable to student safety and education.
Please remember that the Deliberative Session at 9 am on Saturday, Feb. 11 will be your chance to make adjustments to the 2017-2018 budget’s bottom line before it is placed on the warrant for March. Babysitting will be provided for the morning. We hope to see you there!
Happy 2017, Deerfield! Over the course of 2016, the School Board took many steps to begin looking to the future of DCS. One example is that we have been working with Superintendent Patty Sherman to support the DCS search committee charged with nominating a replacement for Principal Paul Yergeau, who is retiring at the end of the year. At our December 21st meeting, Ms. Sherman notified the Board that finalist interviews are scheduled for early January, and a community night to meet the finalists is planned for Tuesday, January 24th.
Another example of trying to anticipate future concerns for our school is the Board’s desire to execute an engineering study of the current state of DCS as well as a demographics study of Deerfield’s population changes and trends. In several recent meetings the Board has discussed and agreed on the need for developing a clear picture of our building’s structural integrity so that we can be aware of and budget for any upcoming maintenance projects. DCS was built in 1993 and we are starting to see more signs of the building showing its age; until we run an engineering study it is difficult to know what other concerns exist within its walls.
At our December 21st meeting, budgetary discussion circled around the inclusion in the 2017-2018 budget of estimated costs for both of these studies (approx. $15,000 for engineering and $3000 for demographics). While these estimates came from a limited inquiry prior to our last meeting, the bid process required by our purchasing policy (Policy DJB) likely will result in a lower final cost, with unused funds returned to the taxpayers. Following our discussion, the School Board determined that more information is crucial to making educated decisions about our building and so including the two figures in the budget is the best course of action.
Remember that your chance to cast your vote on what the March warrant looks like is on February 11th at our Deliberative Session. Save the date!