At the Twin Valley board meeting Tuesday, board member Phil Taylor proposed an expenditure of up to $5,000 to have Twin Valley Middle School Technology Coordinator Greg Styles and Sarah Shippee, who is currently working as the administrative assistant for consolidation, begin creating a new Twin Valley site. “I think the key things are to make it really sharp on the front end, stand out as an Internet presence, easy to use, and work with Google apps.”
Taylor said there would be a single Twin Valley site with links to pages for each school. “I think Sarah and Greg would come up with a flow chart of how the navigation would work, and go over it with principals for feedback,” Taylor told board members.
“So we’re not going with a (web building) service?” asked board member Dennis Richter.
“At this point, I think we have Greg already in there, and this is something we can give to someone who knows the school and our needs,” Taylor said. “And this needs to get done as soon as possible.”
“Before school starts,” added board member Aimee Reed.
“We need to disseminate information for the pre-K now, and we’re doing it on two different sites,” added Deerfield Valley Elementary School Principal Rebecca Fillion.
But board member Adam Grinold suggested a smaller amount to fund preliminary work on a site before committing the full amount to the project. “I’d be more comfortable with $1,000 to get a website going,” he said. “I don’t want to slow it down, but it doesn’t seem like we know what we’re spending on yet.”
Board members approved a motion to spend up to $1,000 on initial website development.
Twin Valley High School Principal Bob Morse asked for preliminary approval for three overseas trips. The French Club and French class are planning a trip to France, with overnight stays in rural homes, Morse said, and the school’s drama and thespian club is planning a trip to England. Another class is interested in going to China, he said. “There used to be a lot of assistance for students to travel to China,” Morse said, “but that funding has dried up. They’re going to try to raise all of the money on their own. I hope it happens for them.”
Morse said students planned to raise their own money for all of the trips, which would be scheduled during school vacations next year.
Morse, a member of the Deerfield Rotary Club, said the club would like to sponsor a local student in an overseas exchange program. “In order to do that, we have to host a foreign exchange student here,” he told board members. “But the tuition must be waived, and that’s what the board would have to approve. I’m not sure where the student would come from, but someone is waiting to come here.”
Morse said the Rotary sponsorship program was different from others in that it includes an amount of money for the student each month.
Board members gave their approval to the effort.
In other discussion, board members approved “buyout” offers made to six teachers. All six of the offers were accepted. Taylor said the offers were made “in concert with consolidation” to teachers who weren’t going to be replaced in the consolidation plan. He said the board first offered an early retirement deal, but when there were no takers, they offered the buyout. Under the terms of the deal, teachers will receive 60% of their salary over the next two years. Taylor said the plan will result in a $30,000 to $40,000 savings in overall salaries over each of the next two years, “and even more savings after that.”