Black River Independent School Committee

Date/Time: 06/27/2019 @ 6:30pm

Location: Stemwinder’s (Decided Upon Day Of)

*Huge thank you to Stemwinder’s for their Hospitality and support!


I. Call to Order-Called to order by UD, standing in for JB, @ 6:41pm

  1. Roll Call-Uli Donohue, Melissa Perrino, Sean Williams, Joann Wilson, Marissa Selleck; Jerry Tucker @ 6:45pm
  2. Approval of Agenda: Additions & Deletions-N/A. JW motion, SW 2nd.  Passed

II. Approval of Minutes

  1. 06/20/2019-Postponed, extra review requested for all the information included

III. Business

  1. Updates

1. Wellness Fair via PP-SW also attended; attendance for event was low.  A few

conversations, mainly with other tables.

2. Financials Update via KG (w/ Bookkeeper) Email, & UD (Brokerage Acct

Form)-Question of using Federal Tax ID of BRISC or create new one?  Group:

utilize BRISC, no need to change it, at least for now.  Bottom line is, if the

bookkeeping work we begin will eventually transition into the bookkeeping for the

actual school, bookkeeper feels it would be worth the extra investment to start it

from scratch using the desktop version.  So, how and when do we actually hire a

bookkeeper?  Also, reach out to accountant about filing 2018 taxes.  As for

Quickbooks option, KG’s bookkeeper contact suggested online version is very

convenient for accessibility but has many other limitations.  Many more

complicated pieces that need to be documented appropriately for IRS purposes.

Discussion of coasting along as is; for now, table decision (online version vs.

hiring bookkeeper) for 2 weeks until more momentum is gained from events.

For Brokerage account, UD has been in touch with financial advisor about $10K

appreciated stock donation, discussed option with lawyer, needs to fill out

appropriate packet.  UD also discussing option of Rotary temporarily holding

donations; however, UD also found statute which was shared with group as well

as consultants (lawyer, accountant, & fundraiser consultant), allowing bigger

donations to be retrospectively tax deductible allowing us to accept any amount

while we wait for our 501(c)3 upgraded status to be permitted.

3. Bios Update for HD & Viewbook-Discussion of viewbook ordering (online vs. in

person from Okemo Sign Shop); Price/Convenience/Speed/Look considerations.

Okemo Sign Shop offers more affordable/convenient/quicker option. Do we rush/pressure for viewbook through upgraded online look?  Also, we could opt to use current brochure. Need as well to provide a pledge sheet (SB working on one in rough draft form).  Unanimously agreed to provide pledge sheet, as well as Talking Points guide sheet for members. Group agreed that we will utilize current brochure and use a talking page sheet (JW has sheets drafted with a lot of relevant information) for Stemwinders Event. As for Pledge sheet-include information?  Divide it into levels/categories?

                  *Follow Up-MP w/ HD, table viewbook @ Stem’s, but form a Pledge Sheet

4. Potential Fundraising Ideas via MP Contact-Reached out to Endicott Contact,

via email information, several options for more fundraisers: MobileCause, very

efficient, raises A LOT of money; very efficient for Athletics, too; does ALL the

work for you; smaller option available once we get some more money to start;

Local winter sports, option for matching (& potential opportunity for local grant left

over from winter sports); however, with this fundraising provider keep it to less

than a 6 week timeframe; Advice for what people are looking for when being

solicited: “people want to know: how will it benefit? How will it help students?  Possibilities for grants and to offer more support & collaboration with Alumni, ie: Brick walk donation via Del Cate Co. (bricks symbolic of BR/alumni & donors can purchase bricks for recognition of someone).

      B. Discussion

        1. Review Timeline Meeting & Vail-Okemo Epic Promise Meeting 06/26/2019 via

MP, SW, & MS-1st, Timeline Meeting: One key take away is to show financing. Our budget/financing can include tuition, because the State legally needs to provide it; but, we need a reserve (state & financial viability) (explanation of why-contact explained that schools were opening & then closing ½ way thru school year thus leaving students hanging);  budget needs to look REALLY good; Contact took us thru App, checked off what we already have vs. what we actually need to focus on & lock down ASAP (prioritized where our time & efforts need to be directed right now).  Big task is budget: working out maintenance costs & Town support for it (as we were able to briefly discuss at pre-meeting w/ Vail after Timeline contact meeting). With contact, opted for a number to ask to represent for our reserve ($200K).  Also, need Headmaster to approve/sign off on app to submit to State; possibility to hire interim Headmaster.  Post job description asap, “Open Until Filled.” Hiring Headmaster: Based on vision/mission, consultant also reviewed how we could view ratio of staff hiring.

*Follow Up-SW reach out to Pullinen’s about budget ASAP

        According to JB’s take, confident we’ll have 75 students; hence why we need the

back up in case something like only 40 students apply.  So what do we explain

for? 40, 75?  Only elaborate upon about what we know for now; focus on School Fair turnout #’s

                          *Follow Up-Family/Community Outreach for Enrollment Planning

        2nd, Vail-Okemo Epic Promise Meeting: Vail Team’s Reaction was very level and

        open. Did admit that $200K is out of their direct responsibility, but will follow up

        with Vail’s Head/Chair of Epic Promise itself.  Reviewed the above information

        we bulleted prior with timeline contact, very interested in our progress and

        logistics moving forward.  Agreed Community and Mountain need to work

        together and provide significant support.  Can offer a lot of great PR &

clarification for Vail’s goals locally as well.  Team is comprised of Managers from

the local community, understand the key concept of supporting families here and

providing excellent education & growth for a thriving year round town once again.

Again, big part will be talking points! Facts vs. Decisions, Budget, Finances, etc.         

                          *Follow Up-MS to update Epic Promise Email Update

                          *Follow Up-SW talking points

        2. Vision/Mission Review & 3. Stemwinder’s Event Presentation-(Group

unanimously agreed at this point to merge these sections, dependent upon each

other)-Process will be to draft official Vision and Mission & present to Board first

for approval prior to publishing it to larger community/public. Edited some

parts, such as focusing on the importance of community!  SW has edited slide

show (for HD to transition into slide show) & focuses on pillars of school, based

on Summer’s NOLS model; separated into sections for speakers to discuss at presentation; outdoor adventure aspect to reviewed, is that what the focus of the school will be?  Or a flexible option?  “What is the school?”  Incorporate School Fair feedback as well, base it upon what the students advocated for.

        *Follow Up-Finalize Draft of Slides & Information of Pillars

IV. Public Comment

*Select Board Meeting on Monday, July 1st, 2019 @ 7pm at Ludlow Town Hall

Also, JT provided feedback that Cavendish community members are interested in BR as opposed to GM; Cavendish is not a Choice Town.  What would we charge for tuition for non-Choice Towns?  Variation, discounts for surrounding arieas ie: Cavendish, ranging upwards for farther areas looking to send in students.  Provides a chance to acquire more earnings.  Also, most interested students will probably be middle schoolers & 9th graders.  

        *Follow Up-Return to tuition fee possibilities, tabled for now.

V. Suggested Items for Next Meeting

Focus on Stemwinder’s Event: Pledge Sheet, Guest List, Presentation & Vision/Mission, Locking Down Info/Key Pieces (Talking Points), Financial Goal;

*Headmaster Job Offering* (Via JW)

Select Board 07/01/2019 Meeting Update?

*Next Thursday is July 4th, Group agreed to meet Tuesday, July 2nd instead for the weekly meeting, @ 6:30pm in the BRHSMS Library.

*Furthermore, agreed to meet again on Monday, July 8th for final Stemwinder’s Prep.

VI. Adjournment-Adjourned by UD at 8:38pm