GMUSD board talks CAES repairs, next year’s budget

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2018 Telegraph Publishing LLC

GMUSD board considers the progress on CAES repairs. Photo courtesy of Okemo Valley TV

Bfore getting down to a long agenda at its Oct. 18 meeting, the Green Mountain Union School Board heard an update on the progress of repairing the damage done to Chester-Andover Elementary by two flooding incidents caused by plumbing system breaks.

CAES Facilities Director Jim Spaulding told the board that the boiler room where the initial flooding took place has been emptied and prepared for the installation of new boilers. He also said that installation of the new 8-inch water line from the street has been finished and connected to the boiler room where it passed its pressure test.

But while the replacement of major components of the electrical system is coming along, Spaulding said that some supply chain “hiccups” may delay the construction of the main panels. He is also hoping that the boilers arrive on Oct. 29 although he said he can’t guarantee that date.

“It’s a matter of lead time,” said Spaulding. “If the boilers are in on time, it won’t take too long to install them.”

Spaulding asked the board to accept a bid by ARC Mechanical Contractors for connecting the water main to the boiler room. According to Spaulding, the bid request went to a large number of master plumbers and plumbing contractors, but for many the job was either too big or the schedule too tight and, at $5,770, ARC was the only bidder. The board accepted the bid.

ARC is also installing a new hot water heater and the three Buderus boilers that will heat the school. Spaulding said that as the colder temperatures approach, he would like to bring one of the boilers online before the electrical system is completed to prevent any freeze-ups in the school. This would involve renting a three-phase generator, which would be an additional expense.

The board hoped that the very cold weather would hold off until the work is done.

Of budgets and ‘visioning’

It’s time once again to work on a new budget and just as it did last winter and spring, the question of vision was raised and, just as last time, the problem is timing.

Last year, the budget committee started late and was hamstrung by the lack of new educational opportunities discussed in the Act 46 merger process. When the committee was unable to agree on a budget to recommend, the board went ahead with one that was defeated by the voters.

As deadlines for warning the second school budget vote closed in, a vision committee was formed to look at questions of what new educational opportunities might be offered. Those meetings did not produce much in the way of answers and when the second budget passed, the air went out of the vision efforts. Board chair Marilyn Mahusky told the board that starting the budget without the vision done is the same place they were in last year.

This year’s budget discussion will face the same deadlines to warn a vote at town meeting day and Mahusky suggested morning meetings to begin soon. But availability of members became an issue and a one hour meeting was scheduled before the monthly board meeting on Nov. 15 at 5 p.m.

School nurse resigns

Meg Powden, superintendent of Two Rivers Supervisory Union, asked the board to accept the resignation of Beth Randolph, one of the district’s school nurses. Randolph was hired this year and Powden characterized her reason for leaving as “not a good match.” Asked if she could give the board any information that would help with making future hires more successful, Powden said, “I don’t have a lot of details I can share publicly.”

Board member Mike Studin asked if the resignation could be discussed in an executive session. Randolph was one of two registered nurses in a staff of three, which includes a part-time licensed practical nurse.

The board accepted the resignation “with regret” but there was no discussion about finding a replacement for Randolph. As of Tuesday, Oct. 23, no job listing was posted on School Spring – an employment website used by the supervisory union to recruit candidates .

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  1. Totally agree with Mary Putnam. Children, staff and parents need consistency. The nursing model being used isn’t working for our small schools. Students need to be medically treated by health care professionals, not other school staff. This is unfair to both students and staff. There are several retired school nurses in this district who could be a wonderful resource in revisiting how nursing care can be adequately provided.

  2. Mary Putnam says:

    This is sad news for the community of Chester and Andover! It has long been held that the school nurse serves in a pivotal role that bridges health care and education. A student’s health is directly related to his or her ability to learn. Children with unmet health needs have a difficult time engaging in the educational process.
    The school nurse supports student success by providing health care through assessment, intervention, and follow-up for all children within the school setting. The school nurse addresses the physical, mental, emotional, and social health needs of students and supports their achievement in the learning process.
    I sincerely hope that the Two Rivers Supervisory Union gives attention to the need for providing high quality care to the students of our communities.
    Mary Putnam RN