MINUTES OF THE HINGHAM SCHOOL COMMITTEE

May 6, 2013

Regular Session

Eileen McCracken, Town Clerk, was present for the swearing in of new member, Liza O’Reilly, just prior to the start of the meeting.

The meeting was called to order by Ray Estes, the senior member of the Committee, at 7:33 p.m. in the School Department Conference Room.

Members Present:    Ray Estes, Carol M. Falvey, Andy Shafter, Edward Schreier, Paul Gannon, and Liza O’Reilly

Central Office Present: Dot Galo, Ellen Keane, John Ferris, Elizabeth Flynn

Visitors Present:    Alec Porter, Roger Boddie, Eileen McCracken, Warren Pelissier, Edward Quinlan, Rob Delmonico, Paul Losardo, Bruce Rabuffo, Susan Rabuffo, Robert Garrity, Hugh Gorman, Greg Read, Esther Healey, Paul Healey, Kate Boland, Marissa Costello, Julie Strehle, and Linda Kutsch.

Ray Estes was elected Chair of the Committee by a roll call vote.  Liza O’Reilly voted No; Paul Gannon, Ed Schreier, Andy Shafter, Carol M. Falvey and Ray Estes voted Yes.

Carol M. Falvey was elected Vice Chair of the Committee, by a unanimous roll call vote.

A roll call vote for Secretary provided the following:  Liza O’Reilly, Ed Schreier and Andy Shafter voted for Andy Shafter; Carol M. Falvey, Ray Estes and Paul Gannon voted for Dennis Friedman.  On a re-vote there were three No votes and three Yes votes for Dennis.  Since an officer must be elected by a majority of those present to vote, the Chair suggested holding the vote for Secretary at the next School Committee meeting on May 13, 2013.

On a motion by Ed Schreier and seconded by Paul Gannon,

It was
Voted:    To approve the Minutes of the Regular Session of April 29, 2013.

On a motion by Ed Schreier and seconded by Paul Gannon,

It was
Voted:    To approve the Minutes of the Executive Session of April 29, 2013.

New Business.

The Committee discussed the Subcommittee Assignment Process & Timeline.  School Committee members should forward preferences in writing to the Chair.

On a motion by Carol M. Falvey and seconded by Paul Gannon,

It was
Voted:    To approve the school calendar for 2013-2014, as recommended.

On a motion by Paul Gannon and seconded by Liza O’Reilly,

It was
Voted:    To establish June 20 and the last day of school for students and June 21 as the last day of  school for faculty.

The Committee heard an update on HHS Field Project fundraising.  Warren Pelissier, President, Hingham Sports Partnership, reported that $739,000 has been raised to date and reviewed past and planned fundraising efforts, including continuation of the “seat” fundraiser and the ability to donate appreciated stock in support of the project.  Andy Shafter reviewed plans to submit a letter requesting donations to the Hingham Journal.  Ray and Paul thanked Warren and the Hingham Sports Partnership.

John Ferris provided an update of the Proposed Budget for the HS Field Project including project cost estimates and funding.  School Committee asked questions/made comments:  estimated start date, June 3rd.  Audience questions:  amount of bids for HS Field Project and bid timing – approximately 60 days.

Ray reviewed the bid protest filed by the lowest bidder, Brait Builders, and the hearing with Attorney General’s Office scheduled for May 7th which RAD Sports, the second lowest bidder, joined as an interested party. The Chair, upon advice of School Committee counsel Bob Garrity, instructed the committee on the standard for an awarding authority to apply: who is the lowest responsible and eligible bidder?  In light of the hearing the next day, Bob Garrity recommended that the School Committee vote for a notice of intent to award the bid and reviewed the Attorney General’s advisory hearing role. Bob also clarified that the focus was on the qualification of the lowest bidder and not a comparison of the two lowest bidders. He reviewed the Bid instructions, the School Committee letter of April 25, 2013 requesting further information on completed projects and Brait’s response.

Hugh Gorman, Brait’s Attorney, reviewed positive references included in Brait’s bid and referenced in Gale’s written bid analysis and recommendation to the Committee. School Committee asked questions/made comments:  Brait’s work at Oliver Ames H.S. and Bedford H.S., lack of inclusion of Hull fields in initial bid, number of synthetic fields completed by Brait, strict interpretation of bid requirements vs. wide latitude of School Committee.

Edward Quinlan, RAD attorney, argued that Brait subcontractors performed field work while RAD specializes in field construction itself and included a Field Builder certified by ASBA.  School Committee asked questions/made comments:  RAD experience with projects with similar drainage issues, latitude of School Committee, requirement for six projects.  Bob advised School Committee that they are not locked into original bids, it is common to seek additional references after the bid is opened and that the bid document did not exclude general contractors nor restrict bid to specialists.

School Committee made comments/asked questions:  possible consequences to approving Brait vs. RAD, presumption that Brait is the responsible low bidder, bid language open to interpretation (“synthetic and natural turf athletic field construction projects”), concern about questionable information submitted by Brait.  Audience comment:  Contractors overseen by OPM and engineering firm plans.

School Committee voiced its intention to bid to the lowest responsible and eligible bidder.  Brait received the support of 3 members and 3 members expressed concerns about Brait’s qualifications and experience, which could preclude Brait from being designated the lowest responsible and eligible bidder. Given the tie, there was consensus to take the matter up at the next School Committee meeting on May 13th.

John Ferris reviewed the projected budget for OPM.

The Committee received notification of the resignation of Simon Harwood, a paraeducator at Hingham Middle School, effective May 3, 2013.

The Committee received notification of the extended leave of absence for Kaitlin McDougall, a social studies teacher at Hingham Middle School, for the 2013-2014 school year.

The Committee received information regarding the overnight field trip of the Middle School Adventure Club to ZOAR Outdoor Adventures, Charlemont, MA May 18-19, 2013.

Superintendent’s Report.

1)    May 1 enrollment update (used for elementary and secondary staffing meetings)

2)    DESE letter regarding Title I program review of “no findings”, thanks to Ellen Keane for her hard work on this review.

3)    Draft review of CPR for Special Education, Civil Rights and ELL

4)    HHS Newsletter “Hingham High Happenings” shared news on  – Class of 2014 fundraiser to benefit Special Olympics, HHS Counseling survey, Senior Project Night, May 15, 6-8, HHS winner of Equipment Drive, and HHS Global Citizenship Certification Program.

On a motion by Ed Schreier and seconded by Paul Gannon,

It was
Voted:    To adjourn the School Committee meeting at 10:20 p.m.