TRSU backs away from nursing change, reshuffles principal proposal; finance committee deadlocks on budget

Editor’s note: The meetings of the Green Mountain Unified School District Board and Finance Committee were held on Tuesday evening. Here are some of the highlights of those meetings. The Telegraph will have a detailed report on the meeting in the next day or so.

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2018 Telegraph Publishing, LLC

Members of the public listen as the Green Mountain Unified School District board discusses budget proposals. Photos by Shawn Cunningham

With an audience of more than 40 including staff, parents and interested taxpayers, Two Rivers Supervisory Union Superintendent Meg Powden announced last night that she was shelving – for now – her plan to restructure the school nursing and elementary school principal functions of the new Green Mountain Unified School District.

After Chester resident Sue Willis explained the importance of a school nurse to children – like her daughter – who have potentially life threatening conditions, board vice chair Marilyn Mahusky told the meeting that the latest version of the budget restored the nursing staff to its current 2.4 registered nurses.

“Well, for this current year,” added Powden.

The superintendent had initially proposed having one registered nurse over the three schools — Green Mountain Union High and Chester-Andover and Cavendish elementary schools — who would assess health-care needs, marshal the resources to handle them and supervise. Then, at a finance committee meeting last week, Powden shifted to one registered nurse and one licensed practical nurse for three schools.

Superintendent Meg Powden explains the changes in the most recent budget proposal

Last night Powden added that she would discuss the issue of nursing needs with the Vermont Department of Health.

Also changed was the proposal to have one principal oversee both Cavendish and Chester-Andover elementary schools with a “dean of students” in each building to handle “student management.”

However, while the new proposal leaves a principal in each building, it adds $72,659 to the budget in salary and benefits for a “teaching dean of students” at CAES to free Principal Katherine Fogg to “improve instruction and improve outcomes.”

Saying that it was a tough call, Fogg characterized an additional teacher for the third/fourth grades and the teaching dean as “equal needs.” The additional teacher did not make the cut. Asked what the teaching dean would do, Powden said that the administration is still working on a job description.

Many on the board and in the audience spoke of the goals of Act 46, which precipitated the merger that created the new district. In addition to saving money, the consolidation was intended to increase the educational opportunities for students. One such opportunity often cited in the run-up to the merger vote was elementary school Spanish, but that remained off the table in the latest version of the budget.

A new position to coordinate “flexible pathways” for students who do not do well in traditional school settings was reduced to half-time.

A Finance Committee meeting to look at the budget was held before the full board convened. After an hour of discussions, the committee voted on whether to recommend the budget to the board. With a 2 – 2 deadlock, the committee could not recommend the budget.

Another meeting of the Finance Committee and the full board has been scheduled for Wednesday Jan. 17 at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. respectively at Green Mountain Union High School.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Filed Under: Education NewsFeatured

About the Author:

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Comments are closed.