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School Board Meeting Minutes: December 15, 2020

Mountain School Board Meeting Minutes

December 15, 2020

3:30 PM

Mountain School

311 W. Cattle Drive Trail
Flagstaff, Arizona 86005

Board Members Present:  Jason Aulwes, Bryan Cooperrider, Sandra Dihlmann, Renee Fauset, Katherine (Kathy) Lampros, Mark Neumayr

Board Members Absent:  None

Non-Board Members Present: Gina Andress, Vanessa Fitz-Kesler, Kim Khatibi, Audra Morales

  1. Call to Order/Welcome by Renee Fauset: The Zoom meeting was called to order at

            3:30 p.m.

  • Adoption of Agenda by Renee Fauset: Sandra Dihlmann made a motion to adopt the December 15,2020 Agenda as proposed. Mark Neumayr seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
  • Call to the Public by Renee Fauset: There were no members of the public in attendance.

  • Disclosure of Conflicts by Sandra Dihlmann: There were no additional disclosures or updates to report.
  • Action Item: Approve November 18, 2020 Meeting Minutes by Renee Fauset: Sandra Dihlmann made a motion to approve the November 18th minutes.  Mark Neumayr seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.
  • Action Item: Board approval of Kim Khatibi as a Mountain School board member by Renee Fauset:  Bryan Cooperrider made a motion to approve Kim Khatibi as a Mountain School board member.  Sandra Dihlmann seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.  Kim Khatibi took the Oath of Office as administered by Renee Fauset.
  • Action Item: Remove the Covid-like Illness (CLI) metric from the Mountain School Reopening Criteria by Renee Fauset.  Due to the fact that Flagstaff Medical Center does not report this information to the Coconino County Health Department at this time, the CLI metric has not proven to be a reliable metric when deciding whether or not to reopen school due to Covid. After some discussion, Mark Neumayr made a motion to remove the CLI metric from the Mountain School Reopening Criteria. Bryan Cooperrider seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.
  • Agenda Item: COVID Update by Vanessa Fitz-Kesler: Vanessa Fitz-Kesler shared that the number of cases and the rate of positivity in the Flagstaff Charter School zip code area more than doubled from the prior week. There have been informal reports from families that have experienced Covid-19 and various staff that have had high-risk exposures and subsequently quarantined. The administration has good support from the County Health Department and a parent who is an infectious disease specialist, about what to do in these instances because each situation has its own nuance.
  • Action Item: Building ventilation quotes to review and possibly approve by Vanessa Fitz-Kesler.  Vanessa Fitz-Kesler presented quotes from two HVAC companies regarding bipolar ionization, which reduces the amount of particulates in the air within the school building, and is one way to improve indoor air quality and add to mitigation strategies for COVID.  Global Plasma’s quote was for $10,303 and Campbell’s quote is for $7,436. Campbell can begin work the week of December 21st.  The CARES funding that the school received can be used for this purpose.  Both installations offer a three-year warranty, though the equipment could last longer than that.  Mark Neumayr made a motion to approve the Campbell quote for $7,436, as they are a local company with whom Mountain School has a working relationship.  Sandra Dihlmann seconded the motion.  The motion passed unanimously.
  1. Agenda Item: SIS (School Information System) update by Vanessa Fitz-Kesler:  The Administration decided to purchase the Power School system, which will cost $26,351 in the first year and approximately $15,000 per year in subsequent years.  The Administration carefully evaluated this system and identified a few of the beneficial features to include:
  • adapting to elementary grades
  • hosting of the system (not in the cloud)
  • streamlining registration process
  • streamlining administrative functions
  • offering a lottery component 

The Power School representative has been very responsive to the Administration’s questions and has been able to personalize the system to the school’s needs. With the adoption of this system almost every function of the school will be automated.  The training period is 26 weeks. Power School is requiring that the first year’s cost be paid in full when the contract is signed. It was requested that Vanessa Fitz-Kesler see if part of the cost could be paid on signing and the remainder when the system was installed. While the Board unanimously vocalized proceeding with the Power School system, there was some question as to whether it needed Board approval. It was clear, however, that the purchase needed to be completed by the end of the calendar year. Vanessa Fitz-Kesler will proceed to sign the contract and check with the School’s auditor to see if Board approval is needed.  If Board approval is needed, Vanessa Fitz-Kesler will bring the matter to the Board for ratification at the next board meeting.

  1. Director’s Report by Vanessa Fitz-Kesler:

  2. Multiage Focus Group Meetings: Are held regularly with 14 Mountain School teachers and staff.  The Focus Group is carefully examining all issues in order to identify which areas and people could be affected by the restructure. Should multi-age be eliminated in favor of straight grades, restructuring the physical space of the school will be necessary.

  3. Staffing update: Mountain School is advertising to hire a receptionist, with some Registrar duties, which would allow Audra Morales to focus solely on being a Business Manager/HR Manager.  Eight resumes have been received, and they hope to hire someone by the end of January so that person can train on the new Power School system at the same time as Audra.

Additionally, Mountain School is reviewing ways to support and assist the Principal with the addition of another staff person.  This person might support the SPED Director and/or focus on curriculum and instruction (instructional specialist).  The timeline for this new position is the 2021-2022 school year. 

  • Looking ahead – Researching HR systems: Audra Morales is taking a proactive approach to evaluate how an HR system could support her as her role at the school changes.  To date she has learned that an HR system could cost between $7,000 to $10,000 per year, and it would offer time sheets, student attendance, online hiring, HR policy, and payroll functions.  There is the potential goal to have payroll done in-house, which would be a cost savings.  Implementation of an HR system would be no earlier than Fall 2021. The Board will receive periodic updates on this matter.

  • December bonuses:  Administration is proposing spending a total of $21,800 for staff holiday bonuses.  Some of the money would come from the 301 funds.   The Board suggested increasing the total amount to $23,300 for year end bonuses. The staff and administration have done exemplary work under very difficult circumstances and the Board believed this amount was appropriate. This personnel expenditure is covered in the current School budget.
  • Agenda Item: Future meeting date: Tuesday, January 12, 2021 at 3:30pm via Zoom.
  1. Agenda Item: Sign vouchers by Renee Fauset, President: Vouchers will be signed by Board members, in person, or via scan.  Vanessa Fitz-Kesler will email the vouchers to each Board member.
  1. Future Agenda Items by Sandra Dihlmann:
  2. Audit report by auditor
  3. Process for Principal evaluation
  4. Quarterly financial reports, including an update of budget vs actual
  5. Action item: Review and approve a revised budget; potentially submit a revised budget to the State.
  6. Possible action item: Approve expenditure for the Power School system

Adjourn by Renee Fauset:
The meeting was adjourned at 5:25 pm.

Dated: ______ of December, 2020



Renee Fauset, President


Sandra Dihlmann, Secretary

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