BOE discusses maintenance, technology
By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Hebron - posted Mon., Jan. 21, 2013
During its meeting of Jan. 17, the Hebron Board of Education heard from maintenance foreman Wayne Durocher regarding an energy-savings contract with Siemens. Durocher reported that lighting at the schools had been updated, and three boilers replaced, with “two of them up and running.” He said that frequency drives had been installed on circulating pumps at Gilead Hill “to help with the energy savings,” and that energy-monitoring devices had been installed on the refrigerator and freezer at Gilead Hill, with work on the freezer at Hebron Elementary in process.
With measures started at the end of September, “it’s been hard to monitor whether there’s been a cost reduction or not up to this point,” said Durocher. He said there appeared to have been some savings at Gilead Hill, but not much yet at Hebron Elementary, “as of yet. That’s not to say that we won’t see a savings,” said Durocher.
Asked by board member Will Moorcroft about potential Capital Improvement Plan maintenance-related issues, Durocher said that due to recent work, the roofs at the schools are in good shape. “But they haven’t addressed anything on the envelopes of the buildings,” he said. Durocher said he’d done some piecemeal repairs to masonry in response to water penetration problems.
Moorcroft wanted to know whether any items had been removed from the budget, in order to keep costs down, that might cost the district more money “down the line.”
“I think we do need to start to work on the maintenance, and I’d like to see it added to the budget,” said board member Amy Lynch-Gracias.
Moorcroft asked if there were any priorities or pressing issue that the board needed to be aware of. “Nothing that’s a safety issue, that part of a structure is going to come down or anything,” said Durocher. But, he added, keeping water out of areas identified in the town’s facilities study was an important issue.
Shea wanted to know whether maintenance-related requests might have been removed from the budget before it was passed down to the board. “No,” said Durocher.
Shea said that she was scheduled to meet on Jan. 23 with Durocher, emergency management coordinator Bill Kramer, resident state troopers, Town Manager Andy Tierney and Parks and Recreation Director Rich Colarco, to discuss safety issues facing the schools. “One of the things we will be looking at are our building structures,” said Shea. “And when we talk about safety and preparedness, one of the things that we’re also looking at is how our buildings respond to weather.”
Acting Superintendent Kathryn Veronesi addressed some questions that the board had asked regarding specifics of the proposed FY 2013-14 budget. Regarding an increase for stipends, Veronesi said that two new positions had been created. One was a SMART support coordinator, “a teacher who is assisting the rest of the staff with SMART board training,” said Veronesi. The other position was described as a student success coordinator. Student success plans required at Hebron Elementary School had previously been supported with assistance from RHAM. With RHAM out of the picture, the district required a stipened position filled by a teacher.
“In other words, that’s an unfunded mandate by the state?” asked board member Stephanie Raymond.
“Yes,” said Veronesi.
An increase in the technology line item Veronesi attributed to an increase in salary for “some of the people in the technology department.” The district currently has four full-time technology personnel, including one person whose hours were recently increased from two hours per day to eight, according to Veronesi.
Shea pointed out that the district also pays a company in East Hartford to administer the e-mail server. “I don’t have a lot of understanding regarding why there are all of these players and what everybody’s function is,” said Shea.
Veronesi pointed out that technology encompasses everything from maintaining the server to working with students on keyboarding skills. “I think that [technology] is a department that has evolved rather quickly over time,” said Veronesi, promising to provide the board with more information regarding employees and their functions at a later date.