Black River Independent School Committee



I. Call to Order-Called to order by JB @ 6:35pm

  1. Roll Call-Hyle Daley, Sean Williams, Suzy Buckley, John Bannon, Joann Wilson, Melissa Perrino, Marissa Selleck; Pat Pullinen at 6:37pm, Craig Huttvater @ 6:39pm
  2. Approval of Agenda: Additions & Deletions-Phone conference with Christine Graham has since been arranged for 6:45pm this evening, will be adjusted accordingly into Minutes & removed as 3. from III. Business A. Updates.  JW made motion, SB 2nd; Passed

II. Approval of Minutes

  1. 06/06/2019-JW made motion, SB 2nd; Passed.

III. Business

  1. Updates

1. Application via JW-Work meeting on Tuesday, June 11th, 2019 @ 3pm in JB’s room with JB, JW, UD, PP, PP’s wife, Judy (superintendent experience & knows resources in the State Education Agency), & SB.  Reviewed/detailed budget with lots of suggestions; Judy (PP’s wife) suggested forming sub-committees.  Returned to the question of “financial viability.” Currently it appears we need to be able to show it for 2-years worth.  After the 2 years is it retroactively dispensed?  Several years ago State revisited process of schools that had opened as independent schools and adjusted the term “financial viability;” created a higher standard. JW-Judy explained it would be better received by the State if we create/provide a unique vision, mission, etc. (overlapped with information provided by SW & HD; see below).

Phone Conference with Christine Graham, Fundraising Consultant; 6:49pm-7:09pm

Synopsis: Based off of the updates and information exchanged, our next step is create a more concrete budget and more concrete financial/fundraising goal.  These two items will help us fit everything together that we have been jumping to/from.  Especially with our bigger events coming up, we need to have a more tangible & well-formed budget & financial goal.  Discussion of hiring someone, CG advised we consider carefully behind the scenes vs. acting; if we are not ready to hire someone to do the admin work so we can go engage the actual donors then keep doing both tasks for now.  How to reach out to these donors will depend finalizing our budget and financial goal, as we need something concrete to present to these potential donors.  We also need to be clear about the tax deductible information.  Discussion about 501(c)3 & being stuck in limbo waiting for upgrade, which CG did not see being a problem, we just move ahead as necessary.  Further discussion about grants, CG advised that only about 5% of any similar nonprofit is from grants, majority of financial support is individuals.  If there is one big one that is appropriate reach out to CG & she will put us in touch with a grant writer she can highly recommend.  Otherwise, money comes from people & groups regional.  In the meantime, to prep for Stemwinder’s event, if someone does want to give us a bigger gift then yes accept, just beware that if they proffer it then it is what is known as a “pre-emptive” gift, a lower amount than really afforded, but that don’t treat it like a gift, it is a beginning of the connection with the donor, not an end.  Furthermore, for invites send printed invite and then follow up with phone call if applicable.  As for organizing the presentation, difficult because you don’t want it too long but you also want to make sure to get as much information into it as possible; as well as keeping it short with questions & discussion at the end; offer clarity for posterity’s sake but it keep it brief.  All in all can see a lot of progress, take advantage of this wonderful momentum.  CG will be away & unavailable for phone conferences for a little while in a few weeks, but we can still reach out to her as need be (via email).  

Follow Up Discussion:

Make Stemwinder’s event clear to invitees that it is for fundraising, we will be asking for $ from here on out.  Compare/contrast this to previous events; it will be different.

“Ducks in a Row”/Checklist: Invitations, structure of invites (who & how), budget, fundraising goal, presentation, vision, mission, curriculum map.

        *Follow U-Work meeting Tues, June 18th to review mission/vision, curriculum

        *Follow Up-PP to have wife, Judy, return to budget & enter more figures

        *Follow Up-Look into “Slack” app for sharing information

In 10 months is when the money needs to be received by; show financial viability of 2-years.  For State App we will enter for $1.5mil for years, $750K for 50 students/year.  (as John pointed out though it might behoove us to show 50 for $750K; if we get more students after the fact than great).  Also showing revenue will help.

CH brought up one thing is fixed cost of building upkeep when you have a small # of students; although this might help with Town’s split cost

        *PP-Follow up wife to adjust budget to show 1.5mil for 2 years

Nonprofit to hold the $ for the BRISC acct pending upgraded 501(c)3 status

MP: Slack app (smaller groups within bigger group)

             2. MP New Fundraising Connection-Connected with Endicott (alma mater)

        Fundraiser who she will have a phone conference with tomorrow; Endicott has a

        $95mil fund.

        3. Christine Graham Conversation via MP (Prior to our phone conversation)-

Suggested we continue as is with bigger fundraisers, but to lock down timeline,

as in concrete goals for fundraising (as well as budget & other necessities).  As

for invitations opt for initial paper invitation and follow up personally.

     B. Discussion

        1. Integrating JB’s Slideshow Presentation for Events-Reviewed info on

        slideshow, concept is to provide a short but poignant informative demonstration

        of what is we are working on; HD: Presentation to be based off of brochure we

have, include vision, mission, curriculum map.  During speech people can follow

                *Follow Up-Further discussion for work meeting on Tues, June 18th

        2. Stemwinder’s Event Preparation-See above, notes from III. A. Updates 1. & 2.

        3. Larger Fundraising Plans-Same, see above notes from III. A. Updates 1. & 2.

        as well as phone conversation with Christine Graham.

        4. Potential Upcoming Events: Alumni Weekend via PP & Wellness Fair via MP-

        PP will reach out to BR Alumni Association to see if we can set up a small

        informative table there at Alumni weekend, this Saturday June 15, 2019.

                *Follow Up-PP to update on Alumni weekend

        As for Wellness Fair, it is hosted by BRACC & they reached out to MP to invite

        us to set up a table this year (they had us hold off last year).  Excellent resource

        and connection opportunity.

                *Follow Up-Reach out to other members to see who can attend

        5. Quickbooks/Bookeeper Update from KG via MS-KG has spoken with

        bookkeeper, suggested it will probably be more cost effective to start a new data

        file as opposed to have her go in and correct pre-existing information.  Will

        schedule a meeting with bookkeeper.  Group agreed for bookkeeper to be

        brought in and handle it as sees best.

        6. & 7. HD’s Email & Sean/Summer’s Vision-Reviewed key concepts, very similar

        equally strong points.  Elaborates on what the purpose of the school is.  Must

        differentiate itself from any public school or even other independent and private

        schools. Design template & fit in our information as needed.  Will continue

working on it at work meeting on Tuesday, June 18th.  Idea is to include succinct

version in brochure

IV. Suggested Public Comment-N/A

V. Suggested Items for Next Meeting

Alumni Update, Timeline Consultant Update (new contact via MP/MS); Committee Structure discussion, sub-committee building update, contacts/committees lists (divide & conquer!), credentials for webpage

VI. Adjournment-Adjourned at 8:12pm by JW