CURRENT FACILITY: Meeting Summaries
Below are summaries from recent meetings that relate to our current school facility as well as the new school project. As you know, the immediate needs of our school are unfolding in parallel with a new school building plan being developed. We are committed to keeping you up to date if you are unable to attend these meetings in person. If you have any questions on the contents of these summaries, please reach out to email@example.com.
SEPTEMBER 18, 2019
Joint Meeting between Tisbury Finance Committee and Tisbury School Committee with Tisbury Selectmen attending.
Date: September 18th, 2019 – 6:30 pm
Agenda Item that related to Tisbury School
Review the Approved Late-Filed Articles This meeting accepted and approved two late-filed articles to be included on the Warrant of our Special Town Meeting on October 15, 2019.
1st Article: To see if the Town will vote to transfer from the stabilization fund one million five hundred dollars ($1,500,000) to pay for the lease and/or purchase of modular classroom and office units and associated facilities and structures for the Tisbury School and including related site construction activity, and for environmental remediation work at the Tisbury School, including related professional OPM and consulting and design services, or take any action thereto.
Sponsor: Tisbury Board of Selectmen
2nd Article: To Fund Unforeseen Expenses for Tisbury Elementary School. To see if the Town will vote to appropriate Four Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($450,000) from the Stabilization Fund to fund unforeseen expenses related to locating grades five through eight at the high school and operating two locations; cost to seal and begin remediation of portions of the elementary school; and to secure and prepare sites for temporary facilities, or to take any action relative thereto.
Submitted: Board of Selectmen
These articles will be voted on at our Special Town Meeting (STM) on October 15, 2019.
1. As we are taking funds from our Stabilization Fund we are not allowed to increase these amounts on the Town Floor at STM.
2. These amounts can be reduced on the Town Floor at STM.
3. The wording of these Articles can be changed on the Town Floor at STM.
4. The wording is broad in these Articles right now as the Town is still in the information-gathering stage working closely with the OPM to determine best next steps.
5. The 1st Article is based on some initial estimates for transporting and siting 18 classrooms for 12 months (see attached preliminary estimate worksheet copy that was made available at this meeting).
6. The 2nd Article is based on current expenses incurred during the move to two campuses and continued ongoing costs for the operating of the two campuses.
7. If we need more funds we can call another Special Town Meeting, but in discussions with the OPM, the Town feels these amounts are sufficient for now.
8. It was suggested that the Town host an information night before the STM to educate voters on what these articles are to provide so that there is no confusion on the Town Floor at STM between dealing with the current school project and the future school project.
SEPTEMBER 4, 2019
Tisbury School Committee Meeting
- Tuesday September 10th 5pm @ Town Hall: (We will confirm Date and Time once meeting is posted on Town Website) – Joint Selectmen and Finance Committee Meeting – To discuss financing temporary school (considering our reserve fund 2.9M which can be used for emergencies and borrowing)
- Tuesday, October 15th: Special Town meeting, time TBD. It may be moved again if the work that needs to be done before warrant article is written is not complete.
- School Committee outlined their areas of focus to clear any misconceptions of their role they were:
Policy, Budget, Evaluate Superintendent, Working with Superintendent on Special Education and Hiring for Key
- School Committee voiced their appreciation for all the Administration and Staff at our Tisbury School for the incredible work they have been doing over the last 2 weeks to get our kids to school in 2 campuses next Monday
- John Custer and Melissa Ogden noted that they are excited to get our kids into school, they will be ready
· It was confirmed that that they will request to open the scope of the OPM for the new building project to include managing a temporary school (aka modular) project (this is being checked with Town Attorney but it should be fine)
· The OPM interviews are today, they will vote on hiring the OPM next week, and hope to have a contract signed by the end of next week, then their work can commence
· Site of Temporary school still being discussed. Communications are still fractured.
School committee asked for the town to share info on what land is available for them to explore.
Selectman Jimmy Rodgers (only selectman present) said they were waiting for the layout and the budget for the temporary school project. Amy Houghton called for sharing of information and that this has to be collaborative process.
· Building Committee members mentioned that planning for modulars was part of the Renovation Addition scope already, but it was noted that this was for phased construction (where you may be able to use parts of the school while renovating others) and that we now we have an immediate need for a fully functional temporary school facility.
There was concern expressed over the timeline of getting a temporary school and December maybe unrealistic to bring this project to completion. It was further noted that you should only be planning for the temporary school once, so to make sure it’s the right facility for our long terms needs, he also mentioned that we would not want to do multiple moves that would further stress kids, teachers, parents with another move this year.
· Concern arose that the High School is making accommodations to allow Tisbury School to stay in their building. The High School School Committee has a meeting on September 9th and the duration of the Tisbury Schools stay might be a topic of discussion.Discussion on if there was a way to ‘abate’ clean up lead/ peeling paint to allow kids to move back to school before end of year. What would parents think?
Concern over taxing kids, teachers and community was expressed with the school being apart, spread over 2 campuses and in small spaces · Concern was expressed that the school has one year to get it right or we will lose more students (and teachers???). 13 kids have opted for school choice ($5,000 per student that the town will need to pay other towns as part of our taxes)
· Both papers were present.
Tisbury School Building Committee Notes
Where: Tisbury Emergency Services Facility
Who: Alice Robinson (AR), Peter Gearhart(PR), Rachel Orr(RO), John Custer(JC), Mike Watts(MW), Rita Jeffers(RJ), Harold Chapdelaine(HC), Reade Milne(RM), Jim Rogers(JR) (via phone)
Taken By: Angie Francis (AF)
- Approved previous minutes
- (3) responses for OPM Proposals
- Atlantic Construction & Management
- Architectural Consulting Group
- OPM presentations/interviews will be September 4 (switched from September 5 at RJ request) (1:00, 2:00, 3:00) location TBD, possibly Katherine Cornell?
- There was some debate whether or not these presentations and interviews would be public
- Maybe not, it will be considered a “working session”?
- Following, there would be a public meeting scheduled for deliberation
- Tisbury PTO will seek out a final conclusion regarding what the public can/cannot attend.
- SBC reviewed, refined, and narrowed down a list of 27 questions that OPM candidates will be asked at interviews; the same questions have to be asked to each candidate.
- Tisbury PTO will request a final copy of the approved questions for posting.
- Re: checking reference for OPMs – only the candidate that is preferred.
- Tuesday, September 10 Joint Meeting School Com, Selectman, & School Building Committee, Time & location TBD
- The School committee will submit their OPM report to the Selectman and School Com
- Selectman & School Com are the final choosers.
- Mike Watts gave School Committee update (all the stuff we already know)
- Logistics constantly in the works, massive work
- Rachel Orr sharing concern re: school members on the board incredibly loaded up schedules, wants to be respectful of what they are going thru. 2nd and 4th WED every month, plus extra. How’s everyone feeling about the schedule? Doesn’t want anyone to crack.
- JC – keep moving, don’t stop.
- RJ – must keep moving forward, possibly eliminate meeting on Sept 11 since Joint meeting on Sept 10?
- JR – doesn’t want to waste Town money on remediation – get the modulars – stay there thru the construction project. Non-redundant spending. The SBC has no say over the modular situation – the Town Selectman and School Com are dealing with it.
- “Empty Building” – important for OPM to understand, logistics are totally different.
- General concern re: siting modulars on current school campus – they are integrally involved in what the new project could/could not be? Could restrict or interfere with project. Can’t move modulars later.
- RM persists that the modulars must be considered as part of this process, especially given the extent of time that they will be occupied, can’t be hasty here.
- JR says modulars will be “on the way” before OPM is even selected. They don’t know where they are going yet. It is not within the scope of OPM RFP sent out.
- HC & RM obvious frustration with JR
- HC – too hasty, have to get it right with the community or the money will be wasted. OPM should have input as to where the modulars go.
- RJ agrees that they have to get the modulars here sooner rather than later, takes two months to be delivered and installed – so that time can be used to determine where they go.
- RO – does SBC need other standing “placeholder” agenda items from other town boards? Selectman (JR) and School Committee (MW) reports on every agenda.
- RO – Special Town Meeting on Sept 24 (deadline for warrant article at Noon on September 5)
- RO – Website designer, administration, video-tape meetings, grant writer etc.; Get an article to designate a small amount of funds for that type of thing? Debate within Town Hall re: what can be funded by current warrant article?
- HC – Do we need more than the approved $400,000 to get an architect and get thru conceptual design? What if our costs exceed that?
- JR – reserve fund transfer for extra money? Thinks it ok, but will confirm with Town accountant. Doesn’t want to clutter up Special Town meeting with other articles.
- HC – doesn’t think $400,000 is going to get us to the finish line
- Jeff Kristal (JK) – Ask OPM how much an architect would cost.
- JK – Maybe 1.5 million warrant article is vague enough that some of those funds could be used OR finance com can beef up reserve fund transfer. late file articles are always possible.
- JK – horrible to put modulars at Tisbury School, site them at the high school – maybe at the track? Use of facilities (gym, cafeteria, library)? Maybe modulars can be used for high school project later?
- RM – Are the modulars a school com or school building com issue? Grey area?
- What if 1.5 million fails at town meeting? JK – won’t have to go to ballot box, town meeting vote will be the final say.
- Cate Zolkowski – “Add/reno” verbage on previous warrant article, should we open that up to consider a new building? It would require a new town meeting vote. HC – OPM will have great data for comparisons between reno/add and new construction that he won’t hesitate to access.
- Unclear yet whether gym would be available for special town meeting? JR – being evaluated now, will be answered by the end of the week.
- 5 mil includes modulars, lease, buy-out option, siting of them, connections of them….JK – Enough of a cushion built in to cover all needs….
- Marie Larsen – Why not remediate lead so school could be reused – why aren’t you getting back in right away; thinks you’re not asking for enough money to properly remediate the building. The Town is never going to approve a new school building….It gets a little heated. AR calmly describes the logistics of moving multiple times. JC – the cost, not being wasteful, disruption to everyone
- HC – Clarifies that they only asked for 32 million (not 50 million!)
- RO – implement a plan for a new building that everyone can get behind as quickly as possible
- Erika Mulvey – the school can not be repaired at this point, there are multiple other problems (including legal ramifications) if the Town does not approve this new project
- Angie Francis suggests adding a question to the OPM list regarding setting a schedule and producing a decision-making timeline that will meet a goal that the SBC sets for having a new building that is ready to occupy and work backwards from there. This should be the OPM’s first priority. This will define the time that kids will be in modulars (there’s a big difference between 2 years and 4 years and AF is not comfortable with that uncertainty).
- Dan Doyle (DD) – tradeoffs for fast track process? Ask OPM? All agree to combine Angie & Dan’s questions and add to the list.
- Rick Brew – Perhaps there needs to be an advertising campaign, he’s surprised there weren’t more people here (there were few in attendance). He’s surprised to learn that the whole school is moving into modular. Most of the Town doesn’t even know that this is going on.
- RJ notes that Kate Mayhew NEVER reports on stuff at the school…reach out to her?
- RO – hoping to have a person that will focus on social media and getting the word out. School Com and PTO must share in the responsibility. JR – notes that the Town has a social media policy that should be reviewed.
- DD – modulars off site at the high school = out of site, out of mind. Maybe it would be better to make it a constant reminder?
- JK – NOT buying Santander bank, NOT having Town Hall at 55 Williams Street
- Some wonder if 55 Williams Street location is suitable for modular campus. No access to other facilities.
- RM – parent group most successful at getting the word out. Need everyone’s help. Parent website? Reade will provide Angie with a link to another community that did it successfully.
Town Selectmen Meeting Summary
The Tisbury School Committee was invited to join in this meeting also.
The meeting was called to order by Melinda Loberg. She stated our purpose of discussing the status of the Tisbury School in light of the recent decision to close it and move our children. She informed us that at the earlier meeting the Selectmen agreed to schedule a Special Town Meeting on September 24. They have written a draft warrant which includes wording that requests funding in the amount of $1.5M to fund modular classrooms and transportation. It was difficult to hear, so we do not have the exact wording of the warrant right now. We will provide later. This wording and the amount requested may be changed up to September 6 (date to be confirmed). Note: Tisbury PTO will provide information in the future about the warrant wording, location of the meeting, time and date.
Melinda then introduced Superintendent Matt D’Andrea to give an update.
Superintendent D’Andrea opened by reiterating how challenging the situation we are in is and expressed his gratitude to all those in
the community who have reached to help, in particular, the Y and the staff at the MV Regional High School.
During the last few days, the school administration has consulted with the Department of Public Health, Department of Education and the Mass Association of School Committees and the District Attorney’s offices.
He then issued the following statement. He voiced that there was a lot of misinformation in the community about how we are in this situation.
- We have had many evaluations of our school building over the years.
- It was accepted into the MSBA program to do a building project. In that process, there was an evaluation of the existing conditions of the building.
- They brought in hazardous materials groups to assess the building.
We have had Department of Public Health officials in the building.
There have been Town Officials, Board of Health Officials and Building Facilities Director in the building. Never in any of these assessments has the School Administration been told that they, the staff or the students cannot be in this building. To suggest that the school or the school administration is insulting.
- He confirmed that since the lead test occurred on last Tuesday the have been working diligently on two goals:
1 – To find a safe place for our students
2 – To keep the school together as much as possible
They understand the concerns of the parents, they do not want to put them in an unsafe building. They have looked at man options and those we have now are not great nor ideal.
- He confirmed the plan to keep K-4 in the 1998 newer wing of the existing school. It has been confirmed that there is no lead or
asbestos in these areas.
- K-4 students will have lunch prepared and served to them in the EMS Building across from the school. If there is inclement weather the food will be brought to them.
- The old section of the school will be sealed off. There will absolutely be no work done on the school until the modular classrooms are available and we are able to move them offsite.
- The area where the 5-8 students will attend at the MVRHS will be isolated, the students will have constant supervision, different school hours, a separate entrance, their own bus route (not shared with HS Students). They will hire a nurse, the students will have their own cafeteria, there will a designated secretary and custodian also.
- He noted that the staff at the high school were excited to accept the Tisbury Students and are ready to help them transition. A parent and staff orientation for both the MV Regional High School and K-4 is being planned. Preliminary Dates are September 6. Times, locations, and dates will be emailed out to everyone by the school.
- Transportation is still being worked out, they are having a transportation meeting tomorrow. It was confirmed that the bus schedule will be roughly the same, they will bring on board to the bus schedule those who were previously in a walking zone. After Matt D’Andrea spoke several parents asked questions and many topics were covered.
It was noted that the Town of Tisbury’s selectman failed to open the meeting with an apology to the town for having a Town with a closed school. Their leadership was questioned. Melinda Loberg spoke that she did not consider it the responsibility of the town to direct the maintenance of the school, and implied that it is the sole responsibility of the school administration and committee. This response was met with general outrage from those in attendance in the audience.
Jeff Kristal spoke of how he will support any school project with any budget to give us an operational school. Many encouraged parents and voters to attend the ongoing building committee meetings. Many parents voiced their distress about the fact that their kids were in classrooms with levels of lead that were 18 times higher than the dangerous level noted in the lead report.
There was palpable distress in the room.
We were informed by local pediatricians Dr. Sonya Stevens and Dr. Julie Stunkel that if any parents felt the need to have their child tested for lead in light of the lead report findings they can call their primary care physician and request this test. Furthermore, patients of their offices can call and request the test from the nurse on duty over the phone, they will not have to have a Dr.’s visit to have the test requested. Additionally, the anticipated costs for this test is approximately $150. If parents incur costs with obtaining this test we understand they can contact the Town of Tisbury for reimbursement.
School Choice – The school choice deadline being extended until September 15, with a modest number of spaces available. Contact John Custer to get more information.
The meeting closed with Richie Smith, Assistant Superintendent speaking to the quality of education at the Tisbury School and the exemplary work of our Principal John Custer, who he described as one of the finest Principals he had ever encountered in his 31 years in education. It was acknowledged that this is incredibly stressful for parents. He spoke of how Tisbury School was more than a building. It is the staff, administration, and students. It is a terrific school and considered one of the best in the state.
AUGUST 21, 2019: Agenda: Asbestos and Leading Testing
Meeting Summary prepared by Tisbury School PTO
Amy Houghton, Chair TSC outlined the findings of the Asbestos and Lead Testing.
Asbestos – FLI Contractors hired to test for Asbestos were on site last week, they walked through the entire building and took approx. 50-60 samples. There is no indication of friable or crumbling asbestos that could be airborne at this time. We are aware of some areas with openings in the ceilings and it has been confirmed that none of these areas have asbestos. While waiting for a final report the conclusion is that at this time there is no need for any asbestos remediation.
Lead – Lead Testing has been done throughout the building. We have known there was lead paint in the building, but now it is confirmed that several areas show positive for lead paint where the paint is chipping. Based on this information the school is proceeding with an abundance of caution and is going to take steps to have this remediated.
As a result, the following will occur:
DELAYED SCHOOL START – Tisbury Students will not return to school until Monday, September 9th.
MOVING OFF THE SCHOOL CAMPUS
K-4 Classes will move to Camp Jabberwocky, Greenwood Avenue, Vineyard Haven
5-8 Classes will move to the MV Regional High School
Buses will be provided for students to get to and from both locations
New signage will be posted around the Tisbury School campus and new campuses at Camp Jabberwocky and MVRHS as necessary
Will be present at Camp Jabberwocky and MVRHS
REMEDIATION WORK AT TISBURY SCHOOL TIMELINE
The Lead Removal Contractor will be on site this Friday to review Tisbury School and Kirk Mettell and Town will work on getting the work done ASAP. The hope is that it will be completed within two months.
Matt D’Andrea, Superintendent acknowledged that this was not the ideal situation and that it will be an inconvenience for many families, but the priority is the health and safety of our students. He feels confident that our Tisbury School staff will make it a positive experience for the students. John Custer echoed his sentiment that the health and safety of our kids are No. 1. Asked how long we expect the move to last, he expects 1-2 months but does not know for sure.
Several parents asked questions, many were taken note of by the TSC for them to answer in the coming days.
Q1 – School is now starting one week later for our children; has childcare been discussed? This will be a financial hardship for many families to provide childcare to our kids for an additional week.
A – TSC will contact the YMCA and investigate further.
Q2 – How will the delayed start affect the School Schedule for the year? Is it only the Tisbury Students that have a delayed start?
A – Potentially the kids will stay in school a week longer at the end of the school year or possibly we may be able to have the additional week embedded somehow into the regular school year. The school administration will reach out to Dept. of Education to determine options.
Q3 – For the kids moving to the High School – Will they be kept together?
A – Yes, they are going to be kept in the same area at the high school. They will be supervised at all times and will be sharing the services of the high school nurse. K-4 will have Nurse Coogan at the Camp Jabberwocky campus. Some parents requested that an additional nurse be hired to take care of our Tisbury Students as the High School nurse is already at full capacity.
Q4 – How will we hire the Contractor for the remediation work? Will it be the public bid process?
A – School is hoping that it can bypass the bid process as this is an emergency situation.
Q5 – Unified Arts and Recess – where will these be held?
A – Administration is working on scheduling resources to allow for the continuation of all school programs.
Q6 – Will students be able to visit campus before the school start date?
A – Yes, administration is planning on holding campus orientations before kids start school.
Q7 – Moving Classrooms and Coordination with Teachers, how is this being addressed?
A – Teachers will be having a meeting on Friday at 3 pm to discuss the logistics of this transition.
Q8 – Communication, how is this going to be handled for the coming weeks?
A – All communication related to this transition will be handled via email. Parents should check their email regularly in the coming days and weeks to stay up to date as more information becomes available.
Q9 – Homerooms – Will students be kept together?
A – Yes, students will be kept in their homerooms.
Several parents asked specific logistics questions, and many had questions related to their personal situations with their children. Many of these questions are a work in progress as our administration works through the next steps.
Siobhán Mullin, PTO President expressed her anger at this situation, that this is happening in our town, to our school and our kids and called for whatever resources we need to be given to ensure our kids have every service provided to them at each facility.
The Tisbury School is committed to making this transition a success for our students.
Matt D’Andrea is emailing all parents to inform them of this transition.
Any questions regarding these changes should be sent to the following:
John Custer, Principal – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Melissa Ogden, Assistants Principal – Email: email@example.com
Richie Smith, Assistant Superintendent – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Since this meeting, the PTO has heard from numerous parents expressing their distress as well as their willingness to help our staff and our students through this difficult situation.
We will be in touch in the coming days to let you know how you can help.
NEXT MEETING OF TISBURY SCHOOL COMMITTEE
Monday August 26th – Time TBD.
AUGUST 13, 2019:
A brief report on the August 12th Tisbury School Committee meeting. There were three agenda items:
-Ideas for possible relocation of classrooms
The takeaway from the meeting is that the Tisbury School Committee, School Administrators, and Selectman realize the seriousness of the possible health concerns at our school and are taking steps to ensure the safety of our children.
Here are some important notes:
Asbestos and lead testing will take place this week. It was confirmed that the comprehensive test will include all classrooms. Upon completion, we can anticipate a formal report within 1 – 2 weeks.
In the meantime, the School Administration is developing an interim plan (short term 1-2 months) and long term plan (beyond 2 months). An interim plan could include being able to accommodate 1-2 classrooms within our existing building if more space is needed alternative buildings close to the school will be considered as well as our other school facilities on-island. The long-term plan includes getting modular classrooms on our school site, that also have the potential to accommodate future needs as we move into a new building project.
It was noted that we are hopeful that none of these plans are necessary, moving our kids is not the ideal.
Furthermore, it was noted that we have known lead and asbestos in the building, left undisturbed they are not a health and safety issues, but as our school continues to deteriorate having these test results will give us the information to determine current health and safety needs.
Funds, if needed immediately, for remediation and any relocation could come from the current school budget that would have to be reimbursed by securing funds at special town meeting. If this happens WE WILL NEED YOUR SUPPORT AT THIS TOWN MEETING, potentially mid/late September.
Mr. Custer will be updating the Educational Program that was prepared in 2017 on request of the Tisbury School Building Committee. The update will ensure the new Owners Project Manager (OPM) that will be hired soon, for the renovation/addition project will have the most current information and vision for the school. This is important as this document will serve as the guide for the building plans for the School project informing kinds spaces, size of spaces and the overall flow of the school.
March 11, 2019: