BOD Meeting Minutes - June 8, 2021
Members present include Ellen Heck, Dara Silver, Christopher Gilmore, Ellen Coble, Kelly Emling, Chrissy Hardy, Brian Cole, Griff Morgan, Julia Toone, Jennifer Holman, Tomisha Gladman, Shannon Meares-McCain, Brittany Emery, Michelle Kennedy, and April Ruffin-Adams.
Also in attendance: Principal Robin Hollis, Assistant Principal Paige Raper.
Ellen Heck called the meeting to order at 5:46pm after a quorum was reached.
Christopher Gilmore offered a correction to the May Minutes. ESSR was spelled ESSER when referring to the ESSR II grant. After this amendment, Brian Cole moved to accept the minutes to the May meeting and Shannon Meares seconded. The May Board Meeting Minutes were approved by unanimous vote of The Board.
The May Financials were emailed to The Board prior to the meeting. Presentation of the Financials was moved to later in the meeting with Principal Hollis’ report and presentation of the budget.
Ellen Coble gave an update from the Development Committee. According to Leah Lavin, there has been $7670. Raised for the courtyard project from non-Board members. Thank you letters, emails, and phone calls from Leah, Ellen, and Principal Hollis have been distributed.
Ellen Heck noted that there is a meeting of the Strategic Planning Committee upcoming on Monday June 14.
Robin Hollis gave the Principal’s Report noting that today was the last day of End of Grade Testing. Individual students’ score reports for math and science will be mailed. The reading results (except for 3rd grade) will be delayed until Fall because it is a new test that has to be scaled. This is done every 4 years. Similarly, scores on end of course tests for those students enrolled in the high school math class will be available later in the year. More information on end of grade testing should be available at the August Board Meeting. However, we do have data points on academic progress that will guide our identification of students that would benefit from Summer enrichment programs- Read to Achieve for grades 1-3 and programs supported by ESSR II grants to assist students in math and reading for grades K-8. Both programs run through July with daily tutoring sessions, individually or in groups of up to 4 students with a highly qualified certified teacher.
The school-based mental health plan required by the State General Assembly was attached to an email sent to The Board prior to today’s meeting. We will need to vote on the plan this evening and then report to the General Assembly in September. Griff Morgan moved to approve the plan and Brian Cole seconded. The plan was approved by unanimous vote.
The next item in the Principal’s Report is the budget work that Kyle Barnes, Brittany Emery, and Robin Hollis started back in February. It should be noted that due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the 2020 school year, operating expenses and income were atypical so 2019 was used as a norm comparator in the document sent to The Board. It should be noted that some of the funding we expect to receive next year is not included in the operating budget because it is restricted. Examples include the NC ACCESS Fund money that will be available for use once we open the second campus and ESSR III funding, which is a multiyear grant. If you will recall, ESSR II funding is being used to pay for an interventionist who will be addressing learning loss caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It should also be noted that the PPP loan ($685K) that was to be used to compensate for fundraising shortfalls was fully forgiven. That money is not included in the operating budget and is currently in the school’s reserve account. We expect to come back and amend the budget in October once we have more information on the Average Daily Membership, the number of students we’re serving, and the rate at which the state is supporting charter schools. So, while we need to vote on the budget today, it will be revisited in the Fall. A balanced budget is required by the State in June.
Christopher Gilmore asked how long it took to receive word on forgiveness once the application was submitted. Robin Hollis responded with an estimate of a couple of months. Principal Hollis went on to point out that there is no line item for reserves in the operating budget, meaning that we will be functioning at the limit of our funding relying on fundraising and the ABSSO funds to supplement income. We’ve achieved the 3 months of operating income in our reserves and no longer have that line item in next year’s budget.
Christopher Gilmore asked a follow up question regarding clarification on taxation of PPP funds that was addressed by Brittany Emery.
Ellen Heck asked how long it would take to addend the budget to address an IT position that will be needed once the second campus is operational. Principal Hollis responded with options for funding that position by moving funds in the budget from underutilized positions, potentially using NC ACCESS Funds to fund an IT consultant (cannot fund a salary), or via fundraising/grants/ABSSO funding. This is an item that will be included in the next Strategic Plan which will be discussed at our upcoming retreat. Our current Strategic Plan expires in 2021.
Brian Cole moved to approve the budget and Dara Silver seconded. The budget was approved by vote. Christopher Gilmore moved to pass the May Financials and Griff Morgan and Brittany Emery simultaneously seconded. The May Financials passed by vote.
No Parent Council members were present on the call to give an update, but Principal Hollis informed everyone that they were able to have an election for their new Board. The election results were included in the most recent Thursday Notes email. Debbie Mason is the new Parent Council Chair.
Ellen Heck noted that Amber Dalholt, Lara Hanes Pierce, Kelly Emling, and Brittany Emery are rolling off of the Board after this evening’s meeting. They were all thanked for their service.
Saturday September 11 is the proposed date for the Board Retreat.
There was no other business to discuss. Tomisha Gladman moved to adjourn. This was seconded by Christopher Gilmore. The meeting was adjourned after vote at 6:08pm.