2022 Raymond School Board Meetings

Raymond School Board Ratifies Raymond Educational Support Staff Contract
By Penny Williams    1-11-22

The Raymond School Board met Monday evening, January 10, at 5:30 p.m. and ratified the proposed Raymond Educational Support Staff (RESS) Contract even though the board couldn't verify that RESS itself had formerly ratified it at that time.

The board discussed the proposed contract and briefly went over the main points of the four year deal.

*  The cost of the first year is a reduction of $51,558;

* The cost of the second year is a positive $171,930;

* The cost of the third year is $127,535;

* The cost of the final year is $162,371 for a total of $410,179.

The salary increases are $1.75 for year 1; $1.25 for year 2; $1.00 for year 3; and, $1.30 for year 4.

The board noted this is a more competitive contract. Their hope is this will result in the district being able to retain more people.

The board voted to ratify the proposed RESS four year contract.

The board briefly discussed the upcoming Deliberative Session that will be January 12. The options are to hold it in the cafeteria as was done pre-Covid or go back to holding it in the gym as they did last year.

Board member John Harmon spoke up saying he favored the gym so that everyone would have the opportunity to socially distance. The other board members agreed.


Raymond School Board Discuss Provision of Social and Emotional Services at Length
By Penny Williams   1-6-22

The Raymond School Board met Wednesday, January 5, and the most involved and lengthy discussion revolved around social and emotional services for students.

The discussion resulted from the presentation of Jessica Caron, Director of Student Behavioral Health who reviewed what the district has done to replace the YEES support services that were removed from the budget. The point was that students who have social and emotional problems are not going to be able to learn easily or well.

Caron noted that YEES had supported 14 students at the Iber Holmes Gove Middle School and the Raymond High School. YEES provided these students proactive check ins throughout the day. The YEES program provided daily contact with a student's family or caregiver. The YEES program provided de-escalation and crisis response as well as transportation as needed either of an emergency nature or a planned transportation.

Caron went over what has been done  for the YEES transition including reviews with YEES staff, classroom observations by Constellations Behavioral Associates  (CBA) staff, meetings with the community and discussions with caregivers as well the development of individualized transition plans for each student.

Contact was attempted with all the students families but only 8 of the 14 were successful. Tentative transition plans were developed and adjusted through the Student Intervention Teams. These plans will make the following support services and resources available including: Student Assistance Program Counselor, School Social Worker, Tier II Supports services; and, Seacoast Mental Health Clinic and FastFORWARD programs.

The point was made that students can't learn if they are stressed or upset or in need of social and emotional services. A balance is needed. Caron brought up the point that during this stressful and difficult time when staff and teacher shortages are severe, behavioral support people have had to pitch in and help with wherever is needed and this has a negative impact on the social and emotional and behavioral  support services.

It was suggested that social and emotional services need to be balanced with educational and physical services. Superintendent David DeRuosi suggested that ESSER funding, (which will be available through 2025) should be used to provide special CBA staff. In fact he suggested that two such people should be hired.

These people would not be educators, they would have different skills and have different work and schedules from teachers and other staff. They would be devoted strictly to providing the social and emotional support services for identified students need. The fact that Caron's survey had indicated that 1 in 4 students are at risk socially added to the sense of importance of this discussion.

There was a discussion regarding the training of teachers and staff with regard to social and emotional needs. Board member John Harmon suggested a special Professional Development Day should be devoted to providing this training and added to the calendar. He indicated that giving up one educational day for the improvement of social and emotion resources and provisions made good sense. The board, while not all on board, basically supported his suggestion.

DeRuosi said that for the overall social and emotional services program to work it needs to have all participants buy into it and that starts at the top he said, specifically with building principals. But for it to be successful, everyone has to buy in from teachers, staff and parents to administration.

The board thanked Caron for the review of the program and the measures she has developed and put in place to address student needs now that the YEES program has been eliminated.

The board discussed again whether vaccinated and unvaccinated students should be treated the same way. Board member Tony Clements noted he feels he can't have his child in the school if this isn't the way things are going to be handled because vaccinated students, who are not required to quarantine after an in-home exposure but test negative, allowed to be in school can still spread the disease.

There was a lengthy discussion with Clement and board member Dawn Leamer expressing their support for treating vaccinated and unvaccinated students the same with regard to quarantine while Harmon and Ada Vadeboncoeur  basically against that with Chair Joe Saulnier remaining quiet. In the end the board voted 3 to 2 against the motion to treat vaccinated and unvaccinated students the same so the Opening of School protocols remain the same.

Director of Safety & Facilities Todd Ledoux reviewed what projects his department has managed to accomplish. He indicated the water control issue at the high school and the safety wall at the high school had been completed. At Middle School the bathrooms are all now ADA compliant and air replacers have been implemented.

Despite being short staffed he said the ALICE training has been conducted and the day to day operations carried out. In addition, the exterior lights issue at the high school had been attended to again and were fixed.

Harmon went over the changes to the Raymond Education Association 3 year contract agreement that the REA has ratified. He indicated the first year of the three year contract would increase costs by 5 percent for the $409,659; the second year would increase costs by 1.5 percent for the $437,208; and, the  third year would increase costs by 3 percent for the $458,938 increase in costs. The board voted to ratify the agreement.

The board approved accepting a $1,000 donation to Raymond High School from Hannaford Helps Schools.

The board accepted the December 22, 2021 resignation of Raymond High School Special Education teacher Mark Belanger.

















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