Board of Trustees Meeting April 10, 2017 Minutes

Paulo Freire Social Justice Charter School

Board of Trustees Meeting April 10, 2017



Attending: Ruben Sepulveda, Tom Gardner, Stacey Phillips, Keith Purcell, Joseph Wise, Brenda Cepeda, Rhonda Soto, Ljuba Marsh


Absent: Melissa Mirhej, Bob Brick, Kevin Dumpson, Heyda Martinez


Pending Board Members Attending: Frankie Santos


Visitors: Meg Maccini, Priscilla Baez, Leslie Almodovar, Jessica Velez


Notes taken by: Ljuba Marsh, Clerk


1- Call to Order at 6:21pm- Quorum with 7 members present


2- Public Comment- Stacey identified the need for Brenda’s dance class to be allowed after school ours at our site. She was unsure if there was a conflict of interest, due to Brenda’s role on the Board and charging outside visitors a fee. It was suggested that Brenda get in touch with the Ethics Commission.



3- Approval of Minutes: -There was mention of a needed correction by an absentee Board member. It was unclear what needed to be amended, therefore, the vote for approval was delayed until the May Board meeting.


4-President’s Report- Ruben asked Ljuba to report on the Executive Director Hiring Update

Ljuba reported that the Executive Director position was offered to Isabelina Rodriguez, who accepted the role. The Finance Committee determined the salary offer and a contract is being finalized by our attorney. The contract will be reviewed and approved by both our Board President and Isabelina. We expect the contract to be finalized this week. Isabelina will attend the DESE meeting and visit classrooms on that day. Isabelina’s first official day will be Wednesday, May 10, 2017.


5- Finance Report: Keith was not attending the meeting and Ljuba presented the financial report.

Keith’s report included the following information:

  • In our current budget report, we are experiencing a surplus of $284,000
  • We did not need to do any borrowing to meet payroll or expenses this past month due to fundraising receivables.
  • Keith emphasized that we need a development director to be able to bring in additional resources to our school.
  • There is a debt forgiveness from Igualidad, our 501c3 fundraising organization, to the school for $16,000.00 for a technology bill. This refers to a bill that was paid by Igualidad, which was the school’s responsibility. Igualidad will take the responsibility for that expense and not ask the school for repayment.


6- Acting Executive Director’s Report- Joseph Wise reported the following:


  • Joseph will be meeting with HCC. They are interested in reviewing our contract and potentially increasing our rates. Rhonda explained that at a previous meeting with HCC there was a new pilot grant that paid for Holyoke Public Schools’ tuition to HCC. We requested being part of that grant.


  • Joseph hired an experienced school nurse- the temporary agency we were using was very expensive and wasn’t efficient. It was much more expensive on an hourly basis and we couldn’t be guaranteed to have coverage for all the hours we needed.


  • Joseph reminded everyone that the DESE visit is April 25th and we will be ready for the visit. The Board will meet with DESE in the morning. Ljuba will contact everyone with the exact time they wish to meet.


  • Joseph asked Rhonda to report on the social justice meetings and trainings at the school. Rhonda reported that they were working on the question” What does SJ look like in the school, in the community, and in the department,” to help with consistency of understanding. Rhonda also reported that each advisory will be working on an end of year project. Each department came up with a definition and a foundation from the writings of Paulo Freire. Rhonda recommended that anyone who works at this school should be given a copy of Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed.


  • Joseph stated that he is working with the Finance Committee on the budget for next year.


  • Joseph related that bathrooms will be repaired during the April vacation break.
  • The senior lounge was shut down because students were not using it appropriately.
  • Spring sports are girls softball, track and field, Boy’s baseball, doing
  • Joseph was working with HCC on student schedules for next year. Our students math scores are much better this year than last year at HCC. Stacey said that parents were not informed concerning HCC testing for admission.


7-Principal’s Report- Report was not given due to absence of Principal.


8-Founding Principal’s report- Ljuba reported the following:

  • We still are waiting to hear from a couple of grants from foundations and both look hopeful.
  • Ljuba announced that due to important events at the school, the awards ceremony was canceled.
  • Ljuba will try to do an on-line auction with the items donated for the awards ceremony.


9-Staff Representative Report- Chris reported the following:

  • The staff wanted to know how and when actions would be taken on requests made during the board meeting, in particular: the parameters of the board including hiring and firing, interaction with staff, etc.
  • The staff also wanted to know about and have more information and transparency around the budget (line item spread sheets) and the finances of the school.
  • They wanted to know about how people became board members and qualifications for board membership.
  • They wanted to know the qualifications for the Executive Director and the Principal both from the state’s perspective and the school’s.
  • The staff wanted to know when and how we will get a grievance process in place and a salary scale.
  • The staff was concerned about Joseph doing to many jobs and getting support for him and teachers.
  • Staff wanted to register concerns about basic resources like the internet.
  • The staff was concerned about lack of leadership these past months and moving forward.
  • The staff was concerned about retention of teachers and students and plans to address both of those.


10- Student Representative’s Report- The report was not given due to the absence of the Student Representative.


11-Parent Representative Report- Stacey reported the following:

Stacey reported that Senior graduation meeting had a good turnout. The place, transportation and food are determined. All questions be directed to Irene concerning graduation.


  • Prom is getting ready Ruben expressed the need for better communication
  • Dual Enrollment: There were both positive reports and some concerns. Parents question how it is decided who gets to go and If a student is not ready, why are we asking them to go full time. They would like more parent involvement in dual enrollment process. They appreciate all that has been done and feel we might need to pull back. Stress level for the students is a concern.
  • SATs are important. Need more attention to the preparation process.
  • Internships: If a student doesn’t complete their hours, what do they do now? Would like to consider the internships being completed in the Junior year. Ljuba explained that in our charter it is both Junior and/or Senior year. Some were not getting the hours they needed at their internship. Parents question if internships have to be in the charter when we recharter. Joseph said that Andrea is in charge of internships, and any questions should be addressed to her. Ruben asked if there can be a list of student progress on internships- a report from Andrea- to the Parent Representative and then to the Board.


  • Parents asked what will be presented at the Internship Symposium?
  • Parents would like to work on having our community show up to sports activities and meets (especially coming up in track.).
  • Parents has a question about using the track at HCC?
  • Parents identified the website as needing to be updated to be easier to use. Irene was going to look into that.
  • Parents questioned if people who need to complete their DTA community hours can do them within the school?
  • Parents wanted to know if we could add a bathroom monitor into the budget?
  • Some parents don’t receive report cards. Can they be emailed?
  • Jessica bought stuffed animals that students can have others sign. We will use them as a fundraiser to raise money for the senior class.
  • Priscilla had a great idea to sponsor the Holyoke girls softball team. This will be an annual donation to support the community and get the school’s name out into the community.
  • Question for the board: would they be interested in donating medals and/or cords for the graduates?




12- Unfinished Business- any unfinished business will be addressed at out May meeting.

13-New Business:

  • Ruben suggest we have a store in the school, as a fundraiser; the profit can be used for a social justice project.
  • Rhonda- commented on that the graduation should be a line item.
  • Tom announced that there is an event on Mass Incarceration in Amherst on Monday, April 17, 2017.
  • Tracey announce that if anyone who wants to participate in the Social Justice Committee to please let her know.


14- Motion to Adjourn: Motion approved- unanimous Meeting adjourned at 8:24pm










Comments are closed.

© 2016-2018 Paulo Freire Social Justice Charter School. Site by MRW