HACD Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes
December 18, 2017- 1st of Tevet, 5778
7:30PM at Bet Shraga HACD
Attendees: Nathan Graber, Barbara Brodsky, Stephen G. Levy, Ken Malsan, Jeff Wadler, Paul Mozer, Sandy Schuman, Amarit Rosin, Daniel Scher, Stephen Wrzesinski, Rabbi David Eligberg, Simi Leifer, Julie Pollack (HOS)
- Meeting called to order at 7:35 PM.
- Dvar Torah- Julie Pollack
- Approval of November 20, 2017 meeting minutes
Motion to approve: Jeff Wadler
Motion seconded: Paul Mozer
- Super Sunday is January 28, 2018
Board of Trustees members and parents are encouraged to sign up for a shift during Jewish Federation Super Sunday on January 28, 2018. Our school receives a large allocation from Jewish Federation of NENY. It is important that HACD demonstrates a significant presence of volunteer solicitors. Shifts are from 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM (breakfast provided) or 1:30 PM to 4:30 PM (lunch provided). Sign up at www.jewishfedny.org/events/signupsupersunday2018/ or call 518-783-7800 ext. 234.
- Head of School (HOS) Report (Julie Pollack)
The board reviewed the HOS report. Julie reported on current academic, recruitment, development, and community related happenings over the past month. A few items highlighted include:
- Julie was invited to observe Rabbi Ornstein's middle school Toshba (Rabbinics) class for a presentation of student projects. Students demonstrated their understanding of the structure of a page of Talmud and its elements- Mishnah, Gemara, Rashi, Tosafot- and applied this to their selected verses. Julie reported she was delighted with content and students' deep level of engagement and understanding, and expresses her thanks to Rabbi Ornstein.
- Middle school English and mathematics teacher, Hope Shuttleworth, has been incorporating Self Determination Theory into her teaching; this is an area of interest in her own research. According to Julie, Ms. Shuttleworth reported that students have been responding very well.
- HACD has received its first application for Paparim for next year. Julie is working with the Recruitment Committee to review and streamline our registration forms and make the process clear and user-friendly to new families.
- The Recruitment Committee has identified seven to ten likely/potential enrollees for next year from among current preschool students.
- Julie will be representing HACD as a volunteer at Jewish Federation of NENY's Super Sunday, and urges all board members to join her.
- Facilities Modernization Initiative: A second Parent Information Meeting and Tour was held at Congregation Beth Emeth (CBE) on the evening of December 3, 2017. It was very well attended, and even attracted some prospective families. Most of the questions centered on the overall use of space and on the implications of utilizing shared space. Julie continues to work closely with CBE Education Director, Shara Siegfeld, and is confident that solutions can be found to these concerns.
- Update with Regard to the Move
- Move Logistics Committee (referenced in HOS report but noted here): Julie noted as chair of this committee, Tracey McQuay and Keren Zilberberg agreed to serve as co-chairs. The first meeting of this committee took place as part of the faculty meeting last week. This was Julie's first opportunity since the move was announced, to gather the entire faculty together for their input. Julie reported on faculty stated needs (e.g., paid time in which to pack, and proposal that it would be reasonable to cancel days of school in order to facilitate this work).
- Additional discussion occurred amongst trustees about moving boxes, tubs, mover information and cost. Archives Committee will pack up records to be retained pending adoption of records retention policy. Other packing concerns included number of hours per teacher needed to pack and hourly rate (if packing occurs outside of staff person's regular hours).
- Trustees brainstormed other options for packing as part of a differentiated packing process (e.g., college volunteers, high school service hours, paid work on Sundays and/or February break).
- Julie researched NYSED regulations concerning science classroom spaces and chemical storage, as found on the NYSED website. She consulted with a NYS certified science teacher regarding the chemicals necessary to run an effective middle school science program. In addition, Julie gathered names of companies that assist in safe transportation and disposal of hazardous materials.
- IT/Security Walk-Through at CBE: Jeff Wadler and Julie Pollack reported that they and Jim Farrell walked through CBE to begin assessing our IT status/possibilities there. We will have access to CBE's computer lab. There is space at CBE to create our server room. It was determined that our system will not need to be hotwired; use of a wireless system will be fine for our 12 workstations, and such a system will not degrade performance. We will have ability to establish a guest network.
- Jeff Wadler discussed need for ADA compliant doors for our school's main entrance door at CBE, and for the door by the children's chapel. Jeff is in the process of comparative inquiry with regard to cost. Jeff has been in ongoing communication with Kathy Golderman, Executive Director of CBE, with regard to a building access control system and security surveillance. In addition, through Jeff's efforts, we learned we have $4,400 remaining in funding from State grants for security services. There is an application process to access the funds.
- Discussion included suggestion we create a timeline specific to everything we need to do to prepare for and effectuate the move. Since HACD is a 501C3 organization, a question arose, asking if there is there a requirement as to how many bids for projects we need to obtain? Paul also suggested that when we have specific solutions to concerns that are currently undecided, HACD and CBE should create an addendum to our lease. The addendum should specify items such as what Julie and Shara agree upon with regard to space and how that space will be shared/used. Further discussion suggested that this information would need to be communicated with staff, faculty, and parents. Everyone agreed that we should expedite our process in preparation for the move to CBE.
- Playground: Amarit Rosin has been looking into freestanding playground structures. So far, costs from one company are reported to be in the vicinity of $3,000 for an appropriate playground structure, not including delivery and installation fees. Amarit will contact other company reps for some comparisons in products and costs. She will email to all trustees, current information available to her about freestanding playground structures. Rabbi Eligberg suggested we consult with a safety engineer. Paul Mozer suggested that whatever we choose should be in a moderate price range. He asked how our playground would be secured (fencing?). A question arose about financing and/or grants. Barbara Brodsky indicated she would look into a Walmart grant, requirements of which appears to welcome faith affiliated institutions to apply.
- Presentation: Dan Sloat, our realtor from NAI Platform met with the Board of Trustees to tell about his expertise in selling commercial properties such as the current HACD building, the realty company, and to answer trustees' questions. Dan provided information about historic tax credits, getting historic status for our building, and the potential details/delays to expect per the time frame of a commercial sale within the jurisdiction of the Colonie town zoning board.
- Executive Session
- Standing Committee Reports
- Parent Organization (Stephen W. and Heather R., co-chairs): Stephen reported that over 100 people attended the Chanukah dinner and talent show. Participants had a great time and the talent show was fun.
- Six Flags Great Escape (12/24, 12/25/2017): This event is SOLD OUT! We sold reservations for 22 rooms, and some additional people are joining just for dinner. In the 22 rooms, two families who moved away are returning to the area to join us. We also have two faculty member families, two Maimonides families, four local Israeli families, one future HACD student/board member, and one community family.
- Event Ideas for early 2008 include a game/movie night in our new school home at CBE in February 2018. We are also considering a book fair at HACD in the spring. Parent Org. is still in the detail-gathering stage- more information TBD.
- Finance Committee (Ken Malsan): Ken reported that Mark Koblenz agreed to join Finance Committee.
- Ken has continued to meet with Marian R., business manager. We are still in good shape with paying our bills. We will stick with our current auditor. Also, results of a NYS Insurance Fund Audit revealed we are in good shape.
- We switched our de-ice vendor, and now have a contract. Ken indicated we will not spend more than last year, but he does not know at this time how much we will save.
- Ken joined the Move Committee and has been working with Jeff Wadler on developing a financial spreadsheet specific to the move.
- Ken indicated that we need to start thinking about next year (tuition rates, parent letters).
- Thank you Ken for all you are doing!
- Development Committee (Bess Wadler, chairperson; Reported by Nathan G.):
- Shomray Torah and Chanukah Match campaigns, up to this point, have raised about $70,000, compared to $53,000 around this time last year.
- Nathan indicated he is contemplating hiring a consultant to raise funds for the move. Networking is important. We should encourage all families to donate to/participate in the move.
- Barbara Brodsky mentioned that clarification is needed in the on-line communication with potential donors to access this year's Chanukah Match site via razoo.com.
- Once again, Bess W. has been doing a great job chairing the development committee. Thank you Bess! Your hard work is appreciated!
- Archives Committee (Barbara Brodsky): Feedback received via email. Barbara will incorporate suggestions into current draft and e-mail a copy to all trustees and Julie. Trustees are asked to familiarize themselves with the upcoming version of the draft for discussion/possible vote on policy at the January Board of Trustees meeting.
- Fund raising suggestion included a Golf Scramble.
- We need to think about moving the Torahs. Group discussion indicated incorporating a "Kosher Food Fest" or a "Fleysh Fest."
- Trustees asked to sign up for a Dvar Torah for the January and/or April meetings.
- Barbara Brodsky advised she will likely not be at February's Board of Trustees meeting and will need a volunteer to record and write the meeting minutes.
- Meeting adjourned at 9:40 PM.