Black River Independent School Committee

Date/Time: 05/23/2019 @ 6:30pm

Location: Black River High School Middle School Library


I. Call to Order-Pre meeting @ 6:34pm, phone conference with lawyer; synopsis to follow.  Official meeting called to order by John @ 7:04pm

  1. Roll Call-Melissa Perrino, John Bannon, Uli Donohue, Kristen Garvey, Marissa Selleck; Joanne Wilson, Pat Pullinen, & Heather Tucker @ 7:06pm
  2. Approval of Agenda: Additions & Deletions-III. B. 1. Moved to pre-meeting.  Motion by JW, 2nd by SB; Passed

II. Approval of Minutes

  1. 05/09/2019-Motion by SB, 2nd by PP; Passed
  2. 05/16/2019-Motion by SB, 2nd by PP; Passed

III. Business

  1. Updates

1. Contacts-SB & Condo Association: Not yet, to follow up on.  

Press Release via KG: Submitted, printed in the corresponding week’s Vermont Journal volume.

MHJ Mt. Holly Event: MS, MP, & PP to attend; JB as well, & creating/providing a powerpoint; feedback from acquaintances for MP’s initial event-were ready for requests for donations, & expected a formal presentation.  MP: But according to update from Christine Graham’s correspondence (fundraising consultant), “don’t ask!” (for money).  Furthermore, stay current on updating outreach list & correlate that for Mt. Holly event.  MP/MS also have contacts coming in for another Wine & Cheese event coming up in a few weeks (see below).  JB: Relates to By-Laws too, which we did go over with lawyer earlier; via Google Docs can we finalize that by Monday?  UD put it together with an example, can sit down & just adjust it & then we can go over it next meeting & approve; UD explained big thing is budget, though; what we’ve spent & on what. MP did have review/organize those finances for the bank account a few months ago.  UD/MP: We can get it

                          *Follow Up-Budget/finances

                          *Follow Up-MS, put it on the agenda for next week

UD: & approve the by-laws, & review the application, which we will need a check for about $800.  JB: State processing…next week we’ll do the Application & then discuss the next steps.

                  *Follow Up-UD to send Charlene correspondence


        2. 2nd Legal Outreach, via MS-As per discussion last week, confirmed to reach

        out to recent contact with legal background for extra assistance, could request

        guidance & if approved share questions for By-Laws & 501(c)3 app.

                *Follow Up-MS to reach out to contact

        3. Sub-Committee on Building Feasibility-They want to tour the building next

        Thursday @ 6pm, we could move our meeting to 7.  Scott Murphy, as opposed to

        Mike Tomisto (head custodian) will show the sub-committee around the building;

        everyone in that group has their own duties (legal research, maintenance,

        historical grounds, LES outreach, etc).  Also, group will follow up with the fire

        Marshall (big question will be in regards to the oil tank in the ground outside; who

        pays for upkeep?).  JW & HT to represent for BRISC/BRA.  Basically they just

        need pertinent information from BRISC; main need is for to be a school, just

        require a timeline for when & what needs to be done; revenue was mentioned,

        but budget will be the key thing in reviewing.  In addition, Scott Murphy (Town

        Manager) was very communicative in his experience in a similar situation when

        he worked in Wilmington, VT.  Sub-committee will meet every 2 weeks so will be        

        able to work at a progressive pace, should only take a handful of meetings to

        sort out.  The major piece is to be clear about fair usage, as everyone involved

        understands/agrees to “no harm” to LES kids.

        Another addition will be to sort out how to make improvements and what not

        down the line, ie: possibly transferring to solar power.

        Furthermore, 1% Option Tax is not on our radar; leave it be.

        Also, the Town does own 4 busses: 2 big busses & 2 short busses; once BR

        closes as a public school Town wouldn’t need them & would most likely be up for

        selling them.  

        Lastly, communication with the school board on the matter will be via this


        4. Fundraising via MP/MS-Met with Stemwinder’s team on Monday (Wendy Neal,

        Leslie Stewart, & Leslie Boyle).  Brainstormed ideas for hosting another Wine &

        Cheese event; Stemwinder’s very supportive and many years accumulative

        hosting functions & fundraising.  Stem’s will provide us with plenty of contacts &

        how to reach them.  They offered to provide the venue, labor, & food; BRISC only

        needs to cover the beverage fee, which we offered to pay ourselves.  As for

        marketing, once we receive the contacts & their information we reach out with the

        personal invites.  Suggestion that we keep in mind these contacts as well as

        others we should also meet with 1:1; further suggestion that we also discuss at

        this event that we are in the fundraising phase and that we are currently planning         our budget.  Pledges are also a popular monetary support.  PP-we can also offer

        to name “rooms,” “books,” etc after donations as a thanks & encouragement for

        the monetary support to provide them.  SB-There are also the banners in

        Presidential Hall honoring donors.

       B. Discussion

        1. Removed, group passed to make it a pre-meeting; synopsis to follow

2. Budget Review-JP (PP’s wife) reviewed the Budget; a lot of Q’s about Revenue.  Ran off the preliminary budget TM & JB put together last year.  Would be glad to come in & sit down & put in more figures, because there were a lot missing (ie: bookkeeper, assistant, transportation, guidance, etc; they are not really expensive anyway to include); so she put in the figures we had, but will need more.  Where she put in the # “1” that it’s like an asterisk to go back & enter once we have the figure.  Interesting point: looking @ the app, based on her prior experience we will not get the State tuition $ for 6 months.  Most of our initial money will be based on Scholarship.  So we bump it up from $300K to $600K.  Either way, we still work off of the strict timeline.  Still bridge money. PP has discussed these matters with Steve Lorenz about it as well; will reach out to him again. Right now $ is based on tuition & what it’ll cost to run the school; the $1mil plus & $600K, as well as what we have to add; ie: Transportation, which doesn’t appear to be in here at all.  Paraprofessionals might be via the School District.

To meet the demands of the students how many would we need now for current population?  According to SB, 4-5.  Budget information, as well as other docs, forms, data, etc. are stock piled both hand copies & electronically.  

Group agreed to, if she’s available, meet with JP on June 13th (Sub-Committee for Building Feasibility also meets earlier that evening).

3. Quickbooks via MP: We have it; our accountant is linked in.  But it’s on a 90 day limit.  MP/KG: Print them out & KG can review it.  MP: BRA Acct still exists & is linked into. UD: Ultimately we should close the BRA bank acct.  Maybe in the same day close the incorporated BRA bank & then open BRISC in lieu of BRA (a la OMS) JB: Alternative legal outreach?

                          *Follow Up-MS reach out to EV, & then eventually ask him our concerns

UD:  Lawyer advised you can’t mix the $; just close it out & do that $ as a donation. we just need 1 acct.  UD: Based on how we initially saw the process…but because BRISC is the non-profit entity & receives the $ it is the only one that should exist.  As per UD’s explanation, motion to close BRA bank account, unanimously agreed upon.  UD-once we take care of that we apply for the name “doing business as” then we can accept $ for both names (BRISC &/or BRA), less confusion about it being written out. MP: Based on Charlene’s input

4.Grants-SB: Hannafords does not do schools/education; as for Orton it will be more intensive; but looking into other possibilities.

PP: VT Community Fund is broken up into several smaller options/apps.  There might be one or 2 for a little bit more.  Some of them might be via an invite once they look through the initial requests.

SB: People’s & Heritage had to decline, funds allocated elsewhere/unavailable @

this time.

MS-Meeting with Terry Fortuna for Epic Promise Day, TF is it’s team captain, on

Friday morning (May 24th).  Anyone else welcome to join.

IV. Public Comment-PP: not here next week & then the following week is the next sub-committee bldg mtg; thinking ahead w/ & what floors we think we’ll need what about the old band room.  JB: We initially talked about the 3rd floor b/c it has the labs; but to PP’s point on the 1st floor there’s a kitchen (the old band room).  JW: According to the sub-committee’s perception finding one entity to rent would be tough.  JB: Could utilize programs w/ Castleton, adult learning, Maker Space, etc.  JW: Town just doesn’t want to be a “landlord.”  MS: Also, HD asked about AP classes & providing those as an option.  JB: & MHJ really wanted to know about IB potential (International Bacheloriette; Long Trail is currently the only approved IB entity).  KG: Might be good for marketing research.  MP offered HD’s informative packet gathered for MHS PTSA.  JB: In lieu of AP though that style is branching off. As an independent school now we’d have to backtrack.  What we want to do is identify individual student’s track @ 7th grade when they enter BRA & design it for them.

V. Suggested Items for Next Meeting

By-Laws finalization, 501©3 Review as group, governance restructure

VI. Adjournment-Motion by UD, 2nd by SB; Passed.  Adjourned by JB @ 8:32pm