Common Ground Board of Directors Minutes- March 2020

New Haven Ecology Project

Board Meeting Minutes 

March 23rd (Conducted online by Zoom Meeting)

Board Members Present: Kyeen Andersson, Wendy Battles, Michael Doolittle, Monica Maccera Filppu, Beth Klingher, Charlie Negaro, Bob Parker, Babz Rawls-Ivy, Errol Saunders,  Terri Snell, and Brian Springsteen.

Staff Present: Elena Augusewicz, Kimball Cartwright, Liz Cox, Deborah Greig,  Rebecca Holcombe, Betsy Sneath, and Joel Tolman.

    1. Welcome
    2. Public Participation (5:30) Emily Schmidt, Alison Hornak, Stefan Christensen, Jeremy Stone, and Charley Faria spoke. Karen Climis, Tim Casey, and Sonia Ghoreyshi also attended the meeting.
      1. Emily Schmidt, Science Teacher, introduced the Teacher Leadership Council group.
      2. Alison Hornak read a prepared statement from Sierra Dennehy, Support Educator, who could not attend the meeting tonight. A link to that text can be found here. 
      3. Alison Hornak, Special Education Support Educator, spoke on behalf of improving conditions for educators at Common Ground.
      4. Stefan Christensen, Support Educator, spoke on behalf of solutions to improve the daily lives of teachers.
      5. Jeremy Stone, Social Studies Teacher who is also responsible for curriculum development and has recently rolled out our distance learning for the current closure, spoke on behalf of improving teacher contracts to more accurately reflect the current needs of the larger staff.
      6. Charley Faria, Spanish Teacher, left the meeting early but submitted remarks digitally via Zoom Chat. A link to that text can be found here.
      7. Emily Schmidt, Science Teacher, spoke on behalf of revising teacher contracts and handbooks, improving teacher rights and benefits, and making an itemized budget publicly available. 
      8. Emily Schmidt included the following documents for board members to review: February 2020 Contracts, February 2020 Survey, Copy of Budget Transparency Presentation
    3. Business Requiring Approval (6:15)                    
      1. Minutes of the January 27th meeting (Secretary)
        1. Michael moved to approve the January minutes, Charlie seconded.
        2. January minutes approved unanimously with Beth Klingher abstaining.
      2. Invoices Paid (approval was granted in January until the end of the Fiscal Year)
        1. Performance Environmental for Monthly Cleaning: $5157.25
        2. Because of the additional cleanings started March 2 to adjust to COVID-19 circumstances (at significant additional cost), we may break even since the buildings are much less occupied than they were last month. 


  • Organizational Update (6:20)


      1. Response to and Impact of COVID-19 at Common Ground 
        1. Monica stated that the Management Team put together the document linked here. Common Ground closed on Thursday, March 11 in accordance with state requirements. We have been adhering to the 6ft distancing rules for staff who are still coming to campus. 
        2. Liz explained our current process to distribute food and essential needs to members of our school. The farm is providing a lot of direct support to families. 
        3. Deborah said that we have been getting donations through Haven’s Harvest and Chabaso to get to families along with food grown on the farm. We are hoping to serve up to 50 families over the next few weeks. Folks can email if they are interested in volunteering to work on the farm. We currently have limited supplies of gloves and masks. 
        4. Kyeen would like to know if we can provide food to furloughed workers or struggling staff. Deborah has applied for additional funding for food support and connecting with Haven’s Harvest to increase our ability but that may not be for a few weeks. Eggs are currently available if anyone needs them so please contact Deborah directly at


  • Finance Committee Report (6:30)


      1. Days of Cash on Hand Graphic  
      2. Budget vs Actuals as of February 29th
      3. Impact of COVID 19 on Budget Planning 
        1. Next meeting we will provide a year long financial projection. Community Programs has been hit the hardest; we have lost quite a bit of these program fees. The immediate impact is a net loss $26,000 in Community Programs income. This could last into the summer which would be the next stage of planning. Summer programming technically begins June 22 with staff training. 
        2. Kyeen feels we should schedule a time to talk through summer camp dates and impact.
        3. Beth suggests providing the Board with a budget that covers one situation where camp goes forward and one where camp does not go forward.
        4. More information to come regarding potential Non Profit Assistance through the Community Foundation.



      1. Charles stated that they have held the first meeting with him and Babz as co-chairs of this committee. He would like to highlight that they would like to raise an additional $400,000 in the 2020-2021 fiscal year. They would like to reach a board contribution rate of 100% for this fiscal year. We are currently preparing the annual gratitude report and we will use this information on that mailing. 
      2. Beth stated that most of our Feast from the Fields funds raised are through sponsorships. We especially need to increase our sponsorship this year, she is asking all board members to provide us at least one potential sponsor contact.
      3. Babz would like to talk about an Advisory Team for development, people who may not actually serve on the board but would use their expertise and influence to help the development team fundraise throughout the year. If you know anyone who would be an asset, please pass those contacts to Kimball. 


  • New Business (7:05)


      1. Introduction of Board Member Candidate: Deloris Vaughn
      2. Bio
      3. Babs moved to approve appointment of Deloris Vaughn to the Common Ground Board of Directors, Brian seconded.
      4. Motion to appoint Deloris Vaughn to the Common Ground Board of Directors unanimously approved.


  • Executive Session (7:10)


    1. Kyeen moved to approve entering into Executive Session, Charles approved. 
    2. The Board exited Executive Session at 7:37. No votes were taken during the Executive Session. 

Adjourn (7:38)

  • Beth moved to adjourn; Michael Doolittle seconded. 

Next Meeting: April 27th 5:30 pm (by Zoom)



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