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School Committee Minutes 2009-06-17

School Committee Minutes Written by Webmaster   
Saturday, 05 September 2009 00:00

These minutes fetched from the district site on 2009-09-05

 

WESTBOROUGH SCHOOL COMMITTEE

WESTBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS

MINUTES

Wednesday June 17, 2009

The Westborough School Committee meeting was called to order in the Selectmen’s office at 6:05 p.m by Chairman, Karen Henderson. Committee members present included Mr. Bruce Tretter, Mrs. Ilyse Levine-Kanji and Mr. Craig Harris. Administrators present included Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Anne Towle; Assistant Superintendent, Mrs. Marianne O’Connor; Director of Finance and Administration, Mr. Daniel Hendricks, and the Director of Pupil Personnel Services, Ms. Maureen Ferguson.

The meeting opened with the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.

MINUTES

Upon a motion by Mr. Tretter, seconded by Mrs. Levine-Kanji, the Committee voted 4-0 in favor of approving the minutes of June 3, 2009. Upon a motion by Mr. Tretter, seconded by Mr. Harris, the Committee voted 4-0 in favor of approving the minutes of June 8, 2009.

Paul McNulty of the Board of Health gave an overview of the H1N1 flu virus which has been found in 74 countries. Westborough has two documented cases. If children are suffering from respiratory symptoms, they are required by the Department of Public Health to stay out of school seven days from the onset. Mr. McNulty said if the virus reoccurs in the fall, there will be a vaccine available which may be dispensed to all children at the high school site

SUPERINTENDENT’S REPORT AND HIGHLIGHTS

Dr. Towle introduced members of the High School Girls Lacrosse Team and congratulated them for having won the MIAA Central District Championship. Accompanying Coach Colleen Debish were tri-captains, Stephanie Flood, Hannah Srebnik, and Kayla Volpe.

Girls’ Golf team captains, Ruthie Bryant, Kate Patrick and Allie Lonstein as well as coach, Sandy Robichaud, were congratulated for their undefeated season and 2nd place in the MIAA State Championships. Byron Jones won the MIAA State Championship in the one mile. He ran it in 4.14.35.

Eagle Scout, Russell Miller, was recognized for his achievement. Russell’s project was work performed on part of the Charm Bracelet, a total of 120 man hours.

Cliff Watts, retiring member of the Finance Committee, was recognized with a plaque for his efforts as liaison to the School Committee.

Superintendent Towle also recognized Cheryl Bertone, a paraprofessional at the high school, upon retirement after twelve years in the district.

Yearbook editors, Jacob Weinstein and Danielle Ma, presented members of the Committee with copies of this year’s yearbook. They were most proud that the book is totally in color.

Committee members were given a copy of the Assabet Collaborative Vocational brochure.

Accolades were extended to all those who made the Gibbons School trip to Washington, D.C. such a success. Principal, Dr. David Fredette, was pleased with the positive comments from hotel and site staffs on the conduct and behavior of the students.

WHS junior, Graham Allen, won first place in the Massachusetts Association for Jazz Education’s composition contest. “Work in Progress” was the winner for the small ensemble category. Senior, Justin Demichele received the second place award for his composition, ”Hurry Up and Sync” in the small ensemble category. Judges from the New England Conservatory and Boston University critiqued their work.

School Committee Meeting 2.

June 17, 2009

COMMITTEE REQUESTS AND REPORTS

Mr. Tretter reported he and Mrs. Henderson attended the sixth grade United Nations Summit at the Mill Pond School. It was an outstanding program. Mrs. Levine-Kanji noted the Community Education program is still available for the summer. Mr. Harris suggested checking the school district web site for information on the state finances. A Connect Ed message will be sent to the staff when the state budget is finalized.

Mrs. Henderson stated the Joint Committee of Education is reviewing a bill that would mandate sterilizing musical instruments. It could result in districts paying between $6000 - $20,000 for this process. Music educators are strongly opposed to the bill.

SCHOOL LUNCH PRICES

Mr. Hendricks recommended an increase in prices in the range of $.10 - $.15 in the a la carte menu items for next year.

MOTION

Mr. Tretter made a motion to accept the recommendation for an increase. Mr. Harris seconded the motion and the Committee voted 4-0 in favor.

BUDGET REDUCTION

In order to reduce the budget by $25,000, the Superintendent recommends a reduction in the paraprofessionals from the preschool program at the Hastings School. The reduction would include one full time para as well as a .9 reduction of five positions. This will result in no paras on Friday afternoons when there are no children in the program. A reduction of .4 SPED paras at the Fales School will reduce the hours from 8:30 – 3:00 p.m. to 10:15-2:15 p.m.

Committee members discussed reductions in the custodians or maintenance areas. Mr. Hendricks pointed out the department has already taken reductions and further reductions would severely impact the ability to maintain the buildings Mrs. Levine-Kanji strongly supported finding other areas to reduce rather than the para positions.

MOTION

Mr. Tretter made a motion to accept the administration’s recommendation regarding the budget reductions. Mr. Harris seconded the motion. The Committee voted 3-1 in favor of the motion with Mrs. Levine-Kanji voting in the negative.

Mrs. Henderson requested the administration prepare a ranking order of restorations to the budget in the event the state votes additional funding in its final budget. She also reported MASC will be hosting a workshop on “How to Manage a Budget” and asked if anyone has a preference on presenters at the MASC Conference. Also of interest to Committee members will be a meeting hosted by Senator Jamie Eldredge June 23 in Sudbury.

A request to inform the Board of Selectmen and Town Manager of the possible layoffs in the school department was made by Mrs. Henderson with the caveat that some may be brought back.

POLICY SECTION J AND L

The Committee was in receipt of Policies J and L which have been reviewed by MASC and the Policy Sub Committee. The Committee will vote on these policies at it next scheduled meeting. It is hoped the last section of the Policy Manual will be completed by the end of September.

SUMMER CURRICULUM WRITING

The Committee was in receipt of a copy of the Summer Curriculum Writing program which is approximately half of what is usually recommended. The program is K-12 inclusive and is predicated on funding from the Professional Development budget.

School Committee Meeting 3.

June 17, 2009

Mrs. O’Connor informed the Committee the kindergarten assignments have been completed. There are seven waitlisted students for the Armstrong full day program which most likely will be accommodated. Two hundred sixty-nine students are registered; one hundred ninety-two are registered for full day kindergarten.

MOTION

At 7:19 p.m. upon a motion by Mr. Tretter, seconded by Mr. Harris, the Committee voted 4-0 in favor by roll call vote to enter Executive Session under Chapter 39, Section 23B, sub paragraph (3) to discuss contract negotiations. The Committee took a short break.

The Committee returned to Open Session at 8:19 p.m.

The Committee signed bills and at 8:20 p.m. upon a motion by Mr. Tretter, seconded by Mrs. Levine-Kanji, the Committee voted unanimously to adjourn.

Respectfully submitted

Ilyse Levine-Kanji

Secretary

These minutes are as recorded by the secretary to the school committee and do not become an official part of the record until so noted in a subsequent record.


 

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Last Updated on Saturday, 05 September 2009 06:49
 
   

School Committee Minutes 2009-06-08

School Committee Minutes Written by Webmaster   
Tuesday, 01 September 2009 06:08

These minutes fetched from the district site on 2009-08-31

WESTBOROUGH SCHOOL COMMITTEE

WESTBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS

MINUTES

Monday June 8, 2009

The Westborough School Committee meeting was called to order in the Selectmen’s office at 6:00 p.m by Chairman, Karen Henderson. Committee members present included Mr. Bruce Tretter, Mr. Stephen Doret, Mrs. Ilyse Levine-Kanji and Mr. Craig Harris. Administrators present included Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Anne Towle; Assistant Superintendent Mrs. Marianne O’Connor; Director of Pupil Personnel Services, Maureen Ferguson; Principals, Reene Hatherley, Pattie Berkey, Dr. David Fredette, and Jeffrey Slomski; Director of Technology, Kathy Martin; Athletic Director, Johanna DiCarlo.

The meeting opened with the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.

FY10 BUDGET

Superintendent Towle recalled two proposals for balancing the FY10 budget were put on the table at the June 3 meeting. At this time the administration is recommending a streamlined version of the two proposals:

PROPOSED REDUCTIONS

Technology $50,000

Utilities 25,000

Secretary Com Ed 25,000

Facilities 50,000

Supplies 25,000

1 SPED Para 25,000

1 ELL Tutor 15,000

1 teacher 75,000 (a teacher is moving to another district)

Total $290,000

Dr. Towle announced Representative Karyn Polito informed her a revised version of the Governor’s budget was released today, indicating the Governor’s strong commitment to education. Representative Polito will keep the district informed of any developments.

The Superintendent made a recommendation to reduce the budget by $290,000. The proposed reductions impact few positions. If the district is informed of any restoration of Stimulus funding from the state, the Committee will make appropriate adjustments from a priority list it will establish.

MOTION

Mr. Tretter made a motion to accept the administration’s recommendation to achieve a $290,000 reduction in the FY10 budget. Mr. Doret seconded the motion.

Mrs. Levine-Kanji again inquired about reducing costs in the transportation area in order to retain the SPED para. Mrs. Levine-Kanji felt the Special Education department has taken a greater percentage of reductions. She also inquired where the para reduction would occur. Dr. Towle asked the Committee to trust the administration to determine where the reduction is made. Mrs. O’Connor added the administration has rated each child and looked at the personnel shift in the schools for next year.

The Superintendent added that when making reductions the administration tries to keep programs as much as possible. It is difficult to bring back a program; that is the reasoning behind retaining the third grade string program and the freshmen sports program.

Mr. Doret spoke strongly in favor of maintaining the third grade string program. Committee members discussed studying the bus numbers, including increasing ridership numbers. The suggestion was made to reduce the transportation budget by $25,000 and keep the SPED para position in place.

School Committee Meeting 2.

June 8, 2009

Mr. Tretter spoke of the importance of maintaining the millions of dollars of investment in the school buildings. In his opinion the state has let the district down. Since Town Meeting, May 16, the state has reduced the town’s anticipated revenue by one million dollars.

Mrs. Henderson compared the percentages of reductions in different areas. Special Education is 26% of the budget and 13% of the student body. She compared teachers versus custodians, and noted there are many areas that have not been touched. 82% of the budget is salaries. The district is close to class size target numbers. Mrs. Henderson requested the administration be ready with recommendations for restoring items if the Governor’s budget is accepted. She also noted there is a transportation sub committee in place to study the entire problem.

In discussing the SPED para reduction, the Superintendent noted it is better to reduce a para rather than a teacher. Mrs. Levine-Kanji would prefer to target the transportation area and leave the para position in the budget.

AMENDED MOTION

Mrs. Levine-Kanji offered an amendment to the original motion. The motion is to accept the administration’s recommendation for $290,000 reductions except the $25,000 for the Special Education para. The administration is requested to bring forward at the next meeting a specific para reduction proposal. Mr. Doret seconded the motion. The Committee voted 5-0 on the motion.

Mr. Harris expressed appreciation to the community members who have submitted emails with budget reduction suggestions.

Mrs. Henderson reported Westborough High School graduation and Baccalaureate were excellent and extended thanks to everyone involved in helping the students go on their way to future endeavors. The next regularly scheduled School Committee meeting is June 17. Committee members were asked to forward their vacation schedules to the superintendent.

Mr. Doret thanked the entire staff for maintaining the quality of the physical plant. The buildings are in great shape.

MOTION

At 6:50 p.m. upon a motion by Mr. Tretter, seconded by Mr. Doret, the Committee voted unanimously to adjourn.

Respectfully submitted

Ilyse Levine-Kanji

Secretary

These minutes are as recorded by the secretary to the school committee and do not become an official part of the record until so noted in a subsequent record.


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School Committee Minutes 2009-06-03

School Committee Minutes Written by Webmaster   
Tuesday, 01 September 2009 06:03

These minutes fetched from the district site on 2009-08-31

WESTBOROUGH SCHOOL COMMITTEE

WESTBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS

MINUTES

Wednesday June 3, 2009

The Westborough School Committee meeting was called to order at 6:05 pm by Chairman, Karen Henderson. Committee members present included Mr. Bruce Tretter, Mr. Stephen Doret, Mrs. Ilyse Levine-Kanji and Mr. Craig Harris. Administrators present included Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Anne Towle; Assistant Superintendent Mrs. Marianne O’Connor, Director of Finance and Administration, Mr. Daniel Hendricks; Student Representative, Katherine McManus; Director of Pupil Personnel Services, Maureen Ferguson, Director of Fine Arts, David Jost; Principals, Pattie Berkey and Reene Hatherley.

The meeting opened with the Pledge Allegiance to the Flag.

MINUTES

Upon a motion by Mr. Tretter and a second by Mr. Doret, the Committee voted 5-0 to approve the minutes of May 20, 2009.

Upon a motion by Mr. Tretter, seconded by Mr. Doret, the Committee voted 5-0 to approve the minutes of the Special Meeting, May 16, 2009.

SUPERINTENDENT’S REPORT AND HIGHLIGHTS

The Superintendent recognized retiring members of the staff and presented them with Certificates of Appreciation. Those recognized included Jeanine Wales, Mary Ann Burritt, Beverly Kody, Anna Ventriglia, Shanna Frost, Kathy Farley, Cheryl Bertone. They were thanked for their many years of dedicated service.

Dr. Towle and Mary Ann Burritt, Guidance Counselor at the Hastings School, recognized the second and third grade winning students of the U.S. Department of Energy’s 39th Annual Earth Day Poster Contest. The students were presented with Certificates of Achievement: 1st place, Kevin Flahive; 2nd place, Kathryn Smith; 3rd place, Aylin Valentijn; and Honorable Mention, Jack Slocum, Maidah Farooq, and Tony Lee.

Joshua Brush was congratulated by Dr. Towle for achieving the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest ranking of the Boys Scouts of America. Joshua did construction and organizational work in the Fine Arts Department.

Superintendent Towle introduced Jessica Bready who placed first in the state on the Level 6 National Spanish Exam. Jessica will be attending Regis College in the fall and has been recognized by the college for her accomplishment.

Matthew Spring was recognized for receiving a gold medal in the National Latin Exam for all four years.

Mrs. O’Connor reported five teachers are on a week long sabbatical at the Boston Museum of Science under the auspices of Genzyme. The company has awarded the district a $15,000 grant which covers the costs. Students of the teachers will receive a field trip to the Museum under the grant.

Summer School registration has been completed. Two hundred and fifty students will be attending.

Mrs. O’Connor also encouraged attendance at the Gibbons Writers’ program and the United Nations Summit at the Mill Pond School.

COMMITTEE REQUESTS AND REPORTS

Katherine announced MCAS testing is underway at the High School and Graduation ceremonies will take place June 6 at 5:00 p.m. Academic Awards are scheduled for June 4; the Senior Dinner will be held June 5 at 5:00 p.m. followed by Baccalaureate at 7:00 p.m. Katherine also supported the UN program at Mill Pond School and reported a rape awareness program at the High School was very well received.

School Committee Meeting 2.

June 3, 2009

All members of the Committee offered accolades for Katherine’s service as student representative on the school committee. They recognized the point of view she brought to the committee as well as her intelligence, insightful comments and complete reports. Mrs. Henderson presented Katherine with a gift and one for her parents from the Committee and administration. Good luck was extended for her future at Tufts University.

Mr. Tretter reported a meeting of the Joint Labor/Management Committee was held. Among the topics discussed were staff reductions and payroll issues. Newly elected President of the WTA, Greg Gallagher, offered to meet over the summer to discuss some issues.

Mrs. Levine-Kanji thanked the staff for the emails and suggestions offered for budget reductions. All will be taken under consideration. The summer reading list for all students is on the web. Mrs. Levine-Kanji offered thanks and appreciation to all the staff for the time and effort spent on the outstanding special school programs that are now taking place.

Mr. Doret acknowledged and thanked the administration and staff for the work they performed re-painting the parking spaces at the High School following a senior prank.

Mrs. Henderson announced she does not know when the district will hear the final numbers from the state on the Federal Stimulus money. Upon the recommendation of the Department of Education, the Superintendent filed for $446,610 in Federal Stimulus funds which has been designated to make up a 50% reduction in state aid that the town is not receiving in fourth quarter Chapter 70 funds. This will be used to cover health insurance costs.

The Westborough Education Foundation donated $16,000 in grants to members of the staff who applied with written applications for special programs.

LATIN AND FINE ARTS STUDENTS’ TRIP TO GREECE

Ms. Shelley McCormick-Lane and Mr. John Hayes requested permission to take Latin and art students to Greece during April vacation 2010. The trip would be under the auspices of ACIS, a fully insured travel company at a cost of $3491.

MOTION

Mr. Doret made a motion to approve the trip to Greece for Latin and art students in April 2010. Mr. Tretter seconded the motion and the Committee voted 5-0 in favor of the motion.

SCHOOL CALENDAR

MOTION

Mr. Tretter made a motion to approve the School Committee Calendar for 2009-2010. Mr. Doret seconded the motion and the Committee voted 5-0 in favor of the motion.

BUDGET REVIEW AND REDUCTIONS

Dr. Towle reported the Committee had reduced the FY10 budget by $770,000 before Town Meeting on May 16. The Town Administrator had requested all departments submit a level funded budget. Because of the financial picture, the school department was given $500,000 from the town side to cover some reductions. The submitted FY10 budget resulted in a 1.32% increase over last year’s budget. Before Town Meeting, the school department anticipated receiving $1 million dollars in Federal Stimulus money. That has continuously been eroded by the state. $400,000 of the money has been awarded as a grant to the town to cover the reduction of Chapter 70 funds this year. After much debate by the state legislature, it appears the school Stimulus package will be $139,431 from the state.

After a meeting with administrators, the Superintendent is submitting Scenario A and Scenario B reductions for review by the Committee. Scenario A includes reductions in technology, utilities, SPED and reading paras, ELL tutor, secretary Community Ed and teachers. Scenario B includes reductions in technology, utilities, facilities, freshmen sports, 3rd grade strings, secretary Community Ed, ELL tutor, SPED paras and fees. Also under consideration should be transportation, field trips and late bus.

School Committee Meeting 3.

June 3, 2009

Mr. Doret felt the mandated programs established by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts should be reduced by the district. It is necessary for us to take budget items and staff reductions from the normal school process in order to fund the mandated programs from the State of Massachusetts. Mr. Doret does not feel that is the correct method. If money has to be taken from regular programs, the State should at least have the common sense to offer relief on what the district has to spend the money on. Mr. Doret raised the issue of not paying some of the mandates and being sued by the state. Bring the information forward and have a day in court. We should spend the town’s tax dollars to continue the educational process. The people in Boston continue to take money away from our system. It is resulting in dismantling a quality program.

Mr. Doret added he would also consider looking at the bus program. Some buses are only one quarter full. The district does not have a mandate from the Commonwealth to bus every student. It is time to take back and challenge the state’s right to take the money from us. Mr. Doret stated he does not want to cut any more staff. He does not know what quality of program would be left if more cuts are made. It would not be the kind of school system he would like to see.

Mr. Tretter would like to see the mandates and what they cost. He noted the Superintendent and the MASS havesubmitted recommended mandated reductions and nothing has been forthcoming.

Mr. Harris noted a lot has happened since Town Meeting. He questioned why no one from the town side has come forward to say the schools are bleeding. The school department followed through on its commitment to the Town Coordinator in preparing the budget. “The landscape has changed and we are now in the process of dismantling the school system. I wonder when the citizens are going to come forward.” Mr. Doret stated “we should do something about it”.

Mr. Harris added that $290,000 needs to be reduced at the next meeting. He would like to learn more about administrative contracts and the possibility of going from 12-month to 10-month employees and what the cost savings would be, as well as a further look at non teaching positions within the schools. Mr. Harris noted sub committees have been established to study transportation, fees and energy and are due to report in the fall. He felt the committees should stand and decisions be made after the reports.

Mr. Doret pointed out the entire athletic program costs $530,000 with another $130,000 returned to the program through fees. There are 180 freshmen involved in sports. One twentieth of the school budget is spent on athletics and music which has a place in the curriculum for a very large number of students. The increase cost of stipends has also been covered through an increase in the activity fee.

School Committee members will tour all buildings during school hours and also observe bus capacities. The Superintendent will make arrangements for the School Committee to tour the buildings. She will also provide bus counts.

Mrs. Henderson noted the money voted at Town Meeting for FY10 is the amount the school department will receive, regardless of the changes from the state. The Superintendent added if the Committee considers the proposed reductions, it is $165,000 away from a balanced budget. 80% of the budget is for salaries.

Mrs. Levine-Kanji wished to see a spreadsheet of the reductions to date. She also would consider a bus fee. The Superintendent expressed concern about the timeline for bus fees.

Mrs. Henderson noted teachers should know teaching assignments for next year in June. By Massachusetts law non professional teachers must be formally notified by June 15 regarding their positions. By June 10 the paras must be notified of assignments. Since Town Meeting, the district budget is down $683,000 through significant reductions by the House and Senate.

School Committee Meeting 4

June 3, 2009

It was noted the fixed costs of next year’s budget will increase by 2-3% without contract renewals. All union contracts are up for renegotiation.

Requests for information for the next meeting: Administrative contracts, athletics, including freshmen sports, non teaching positions, dates and times of building tours and buses, and spreadsheet of all reductions.

Mr. Harris and Mrs. Levine-Kanji expressed thanks to the administrators for the tasks they have performed and to the staff for all the anxiety they are experiencing and making sure the students are not feeling it.

MOTION

At 8:00 p.m. upon a motion by Mr. Tretter, seconded by Mrs. Levine-Kanji the Committee voted 5-0 by roll call vote to enter Executive Session under Chapter 39, Section 23B, sub paragraph (3) for the purpose of discussing negotiations and litigation.

At 8:47 p.m. the Committee returned to Open Session, and signed bills.

Upon a motion by Mr. Tretter, seconded by Mr. Harris, at 8:48pm the Committee voted unanimously to adjourn.

Respectfully submitted

Ilyse Levine-Kanji

Secretary

These minutes are as recorded by the secretary to the school committee and do not become an official part of the record until so noted in a subsequent record.


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School Committee Minutes 2009-05-20

School Committee Minutes Written by Webmaster   
Tuesday, 01 September 2009 05:20

These minutes fetched from the district site on 2009-08-31

WESTBOROUGH SCHOOL COMMITTEE

WESTBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS

MINUTES

Wednesday May 20, 2009

The Westborough School Committee meeting was called to order at 6:00 p.m by Chairman, Karen Henderson. Committee members present included Mr. Bruce Tretter, Mr. Stephen Doret, Mrs. Ilyse Levine-Kanji and Mr. Craig Harris. Administrators present included Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Anne Towle; Assistant Superintendent Mrs. Marianne O’Connor, Director of Finance and Administration, Mr. Daniel Hendricks; Director of Pupil Personnel Services, Maureen Ferguson.

The meeting opened with the Pledge Allegiance to the Flag.

MINUTES

Upon a motion by Mr. Tretter and a second by Mr. Harris, the Committee voted 5-0 to approve the minutes of May 6, 2009.

SUPERINTENDENT’S REPORT AND HIGHLIGHTS

Superintendent Towle introduced and extended congratulations to Fritz Kaelber who attained the rank of Eagle Scout. Fritz constructed cubbies for the Fine Arts Department to store musical instruments. He plans to attend the Citadel next year.

Dr. Towle thanked the Westborough town officials and citizens for their support of next year’s school budget. State revenues continue to fall. The Superintendent reported she filed for $446,610 in AARA stimulus funds which has been designated to make up a 50% reduction in state aid that the town is not receiving in this, the fourth quarter payment of Chapter 70 funds. The district has also heard the AARA funds will only be available for FY10 and not FY11. The Senate has affirmed the House vote to increase the sales tax. Dr. Towle will recommend further reductions at this meeting to bring the district to the House’s recommended funding level of $319,000 in stimulus funds. The Senate Ways and Means budget has projected only $139,000 in that account.

The circuit breaker funding has fluctuated from 60% reimbursement, to 70% to 30%. Currently, our budget is $406,252 in additional funding. That could change.

The Superintendent extended thanks to the school committee, administration, and principals who have had the

difficult task of making the reductions. The decisions have been made in the best interest of students. The

principals also have the burden of telling people that they will not have a job. We are losing many, many good

people. The Superintendent will also recommend holding some funds in abeyance.

The financial status now reduces 18 people and moves three full time employees to half time. It is possible the bottom line will not be known until July.

Mrs. O’Connor reported the Westborough Educational Foundation breakfast will be held May 22. It will be awarding $16,532 in grants to Westborough staff at the High School, Mill Pond school, Armstrong, Fales and Hastings.

Mr. Hendricks stated he attended a state workshop last week that discussed the state of flux of revenues.

SUB COMMITTEE APPOINTMENTS

Mrs. Henderson appointed the following sub committees members:

Karen Henderson – Forbes Loan Sub Committee

Ilyse Levine-Kanji, Bruce Tretter, Karen Henderson – Budget Sub Committee

Craig Harris, Ilyse Levine-Kanji – Sick Leave Bank

Bruce Tretter – Joint Labor/Management Committee

Stephen Doret, Craig Harris – Safety Committee

Bruce Tretter – Facilities Committee

Karen Henderson – Delegate to MASC Annual Meeting

School Committee Meeting 2.

May 20, 2009

Ilyse-Levine-Kanji – Community Education liaison

Steve Doret, Karen Henderson – Grant writing (This sub committee will be advertised and open to community members and parent groups.)

COMMITTEE REQUESTS AND REPORTS

Mr. Tretter reported the Senior Music Banquet is being held this evening with 92 seniors participating. The Stipend Sub Committee met and agreed all new positions will be posted on the web site, and information will be forwarded to all principals and the WTA. Building principals will ask someone from each building to act as a liaison to the sub committee to bring needs and concerns forward. The position of supervisor in the Fitness Room was approved for recommendation to the School Committee as a stipend position.

Spring Concerts were held last week at the High School. Some performances were well attended; others not as well attended. A better job of promotion should be considered.

All Committee members extended thanks and appreciation to Dr. Towle, the administration, staff and community for passing the school budget at town meeting. Mr. Doret felt the information presented was factual and concise. Mrs. Levine-Kanji noted the teacher assignments will not be mailed until mid summer because of the uncertainty of staffing reductions. Mrs. Henderson noted the community may contribute to the Westborough Ed Foundation by “Buying a Brick”, donate in the name of a teacher, or support the Trivia Bee. Police Chief Gordon has sent letters to parents regarding the Social Host Law. The junior prom and graduation are upcoming events and safety is a concern.

The Energy Sub Committee will be meeting as soon as the town side appoints a representative.

PUBLIC HEARING – SCHOOL CHOICE

MOTION

At 6:50 p.m. Mr. Tretter made a motion to recess the regular School Committee Meeting. Mrs. Levine-Kanji seconded the motion and the Committee voted 5-0 in favor.

Mrs. Henderson called to order a Public Hearing on School Choice. Dr. Towle recommended that no additional School Choice students be admitted to the Westborough Public Schools for next year. At 6:52 p.m. the Chair declared the Public Hearing closed.

MOTION

Mr. Tretter made a motion to accept the administrations’ recommendation regarding School Choice. Mr. Harris seconded the motion and the Committee voted 5-0 in favor of the motion.

RECOGNITION

Dr. Towle recognized Abhinav Gupta who has been named a semi finalist in the 2009 Presidential Scholars Competition. One male and one female from each state will be chosen to attend a week long seminar in Washington, D.C. this summer. Abhinav plans to attend Yale University in the fall. Congratulations were extended by all.

REDUCTIONS

The administration recommends the following reductions:

1. Full time elementary Guidance Counselor

2. $15,000 athletics

3. .5 music (keep violin and viola for 3rd grade strings)

4. .5 Middle School Psychologist

5. Elementary technology specialist

6. 3rd grade Hastings

7. Grade 5 Mill Pond

8. 1 position at High School

9. .5 nurse leader

School Committee Meeting 3.

May 20, 2009

One additional position will be added, a grade three position at Fales School.

Mr. Doret requested David Jost, Director of Fine Arts, respond at the next School Committee meeting, whether there is any other solution to keeping the third grade strings program whole.

The Committee reviewed the enrollment numbers in the elementary schools and inquired whether one of the Mill Pond guidance counselors could take on some of the K-3 numbers to equalize the case load. Counselors at Mill Pond average 250 students; K-3 counselors will have approximately 560 students. The administration was directed to review the situation and decide on a plan to go forward.

MOTION

Mr. Tretter made a motion to accept the administration’s recommended reductions. Mr. Doret seconded the motion with great regret. The Committee voted 5-0 in favor of the motion.

MOTION

Mr. Tretter made a motion to keep $200,000 in abeyance to cover any future financial reductions. Mr. Harris seconded the motion and the Committee voted 5-0 in favor to hold the funds in abeyance.

$50,000 in technology

$50,000 in facilities

$25,000 in energy (reduce temperatures in all schools)

$50,000 in school choice funds

$25,000 in all supplies and materials.

PARENT GROUPS –HASTINGS, MILL POND, WABA

Kim Keogh, co-president of the Hastings School PTO, informed the Committee the PTO gives approximately $25,000 to the school in the forms of enrichment, playground equipment, field day participation, and landscaping. The principal fundraiser is the Winter Festival followed by the Ice Cream Social. Lisa Segal of the Mill Pond PTO, reported the organization returns $14,000 to the school in the form of enrichment and programs. Colonial Day and America Day receive a total of $5,800. There is also a Kid’s Fund that is available for students not able to afford a field trip or have needs identified by the guidance department. Maura Shunney stated WABA is a non-profit organization that supports all schools, all sports, all levels. Funds have been expended on Turfs Up, the weight room, and wall graphics. A total of $11,200 will be awarded for sixteen scholarships at graduation.

OUT OF DISTRICT PLACEMENT

Director of Pupil Personnel, Maureen Ferguson, reported she investigates what Westborough has to offer a student, then the Assabet Collaborative, and finally Out-of-District placements for students. Currently there are 38 students in Out-of-District placements for a total of $2,781,486. Next year there will be 45 students in the program because of the Collaborative Vocational Life Skills program. Ms. Ferguson noted the staff is committed to keeping students in the district when possible. Those served are between the ages of 3 to 22 and program costs range from $25,000 to $200,000. The Out-of-District transportation costs are $525,000 down from $700,000.

The School Committee was given a copy of proposed meeting dates for 2009-2010. It will review the dates and take action at the next meeting. A Special Town Meeting is scheduled for Monday, October 19.

MOTION

Mr. Tretter made a motion at 7:50 p.m. to enter Executive Session under Chapter 39, Section 23B, sub paragraph (3) for the purpose of discussing negotiations. Mr. Harris seconded the motion and the Committee voted 5-0 in favor by roll call vote. The Committee took a short break.

The Committee returned to Open Session at 8:40 p.m., and signed bills. The Committee further discussed the upcoming Senate vote and the elementary guidance counselor situation and agreed it is an administrative problem.

School Committee Meeting 4

May 20, 2009

At 8:50 p.m. upon a motion by Mr. Tretter, seconded by Mr. Harris, the Committee voted unanimously to adjourn.

Respectfully submitted

Ilyse Levine-Kanji

Secretary

These minutes are as recorded by the secretary to the school committee and do not become an official part of the record until so noted in a subsequent record.


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School Committee Minutes 2009-05-06

School Committee Minutes Written by Webmaster   
Tuesday, 01 September 2009 05:06

These minutes fetched from the district site on 2009-08-31

WESTBOROUGH SCHOOL COMMITTEE

WESTBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS

MINUTES

Wednesday May 6, 2009

The Westborough School Committee meeting was called to order at 6:00 p.m. by Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Anne Towle. Committee members present included Mr. Craig Harris, Mr. Bruce Tretter, Mr. Stephen Doret, Mrs. Ilyse Levine-Kanji and Mrs. Karen Henderson. Administrators present included Assistant Superintendent Mrs. Marianne O’Connor, Director of Finance and Administration, Mr. Daniel Hendricks; Student Representative, Katherine McManus; Director of Technology, Kathy Martin; Director of Fine Arts, David Jost.

Superintendent Towle asked for nominations for a chairperson. Mrs. Levine-Kanji nominated Mrs. Henderson. Mr. Harris seconded the motion and the Committee voted 5-0 in favor. Mrs. Henderson assumed the chair and asked for nominations for vice chair/secretary. Mr. Harris nominated Mrs. Levine-Kanji. The motion was seconded by Mr. Tretter. The Committee voted 5-0 in favor. Mrs. Henderson announced standing committees will be appointed at the next meeting.

Mrs. Henderson requested everyone Pledge Allegiance to the Flag.

MINUTES

Upon a motion by Mr. Tretter and a second by Mrs. Levine-Kanji, the Committee voted 5-0 to approve the minutes of April 29, 2009.

SUPERINTENDENT’S REPORT AND HIGHLIGHTS

Dr. Towle reported on a bomb scare at the High School today. The police are involved and extra patrols will be scheduled in the area. When the perpetrator is found, prosecution will follow.

The Superintendent announced this is Teacher Appreciation Week and it is also Nurses Appreciation Day. Congratulations were extended to both groups for the wonderful work they perform. Secretary’s Day was celebrated today to thank them for all the work they do.

Dr. Towle extended best wishes to Principal Elaine Halford, who is hospitalized.

Mrs. O’Connor reported Mandarin teacher, Carol Cheung, through a grant offered by the Office of Chinese Language International, will be studying abroad for two weeks this summer in Peking.

COMMITTEE REQUESTS AND REPORTS

Mrs. Levine-Kanji reminded the audience of Town Meeting, May 16, at 1:00 p.m.

At 6:20 p.m. the Committee took a short break to solve some cable difficulties. The meeting resumed at 6:30 p.m.

Katherine reported the Student Directed One Act Plays will take place May 8. On May 9 the a cappella group will perform, “Voices for Darfur” with proceeds going to Doctors without Borders. Two students have been elected school committee representatives for next year, a sophomore and a senior. Katherine will introduce them at the June 17 meeting. The Senior Ball was held last weekend and was a very positive experience for all.

REPORTS

The Superintendent reviewed the class size numbers of all grade levels. Middle School numbers are averaging 24 per class; the Fales first grade is averaging 23. The numbers will be watched over the summer. The in-school total is 3563, Out of District, 37, for a total of 3600 students for FY09-10.

The Committee will review all budgetary information before it and make final decisions about reductions at the May 20th meeting. The Committee welcomes community input.

School Committee Meeting 2.

May 6, 2009

GOOGLE EARTH ANCIENT ROME 3D PROJECT

Carol Alcusky and Ingrid Gustafson presented their 7th grade Google Earth Ancient Rome 3d Project which won an on-line Google competition. The project included creating a newspaper, becoming a journalist on line, and individual research of Ancient Rome. They won equipment including a digital camera and $500 at Office Depot. Ninety-two students participated.

RECOGNITION OF SCOUTS

Superintendent Towle recognized the Girl Scout Gold Award winners for outstanding achievement. Each senior award winner informed the community of her project and her college plans for next year. Winners of the award are Lindsay Nolan, BJ Grim, Rebecca Webb, Anne Blackney, Taylor Cronin, Kate Liedell, and Nicole Arsenis. Katherine McManus, recognized at an early meeting, is also a member of this Girl Scout troop.

ENERGY SUB COMMITTEE

Mr. Hendricks stated Mr. Doret and Mr. Brian Schlegel will be members of the energy subcommittee as well as a town side member and a member at large. Mr. Doret asked that the committee be no more than five. He noted the energy area is the fastest growing piece of the federal stimulus money and the benefits should be researched.

SPECIAL EDUCATION AND TECHNOLOGY BUDGETING

Mr. Hendricks presented the Committee with an outline of the Special Education and Technology Budgeting Summary. The district has budgeted the additional $406,252 IDEA aid (not through the state) and $350,420 Chapter 70 federal funds (flows through the state) under Contracted Services. The district is slated to receive $206,800 ARRA funds in the Technology area. What is now being debated in the state house will impact the district.

The state House of Representatives has finalized its budget which now moves on to the Senate. The House budget reduces the districts’ receipts by $260,000.

The administration will present Out-of-District placement costs at the next meeting.

REDUCTION PRIORITY

Dr. Towle reported the FY09-10 budget has already been reduced by $770,000 and the additional reductions of $250,000 will bring the figure to close to $1 million dollars in reductions. Technology, building maintenance, custodial staff, supplies and materials, and staff have been reduced.

Mr. Doret noted the district developed a level funded budget equal to last year, which includes an increase in salaries per contracts, thus reductions have had to be made to achieve the number. The district has nowhere near the money needed to reach the salary payments it has to reach. Dr. Towle noted the budget figure is a 1.3% increase.

Mr. Tretter added the budget reflects the $1 million dollars in reductions as well as the $500,000 from the town side, and there is still a shortfall in the budget.

Mr. Harris noted the Committee went through tough negotiations for one and a half years and agreed upon a contract that was rejected by the WTA. “In going back to the negotiating table for a second round, the town ended up with a settlement that saved Westborough an additional $1 million dollars. The School Committee has done what it can to preserve the product we have. It is a difficult time for the town.”

Mrs. Henderson stated the contract was fair at the time; now the climate is worse.

Dr. Towle noted all unions settled contracts last year. The teachers’ contract was less than every other union in town. The teachers recognized that things were changing and settled for less than everyone else. The additional cuts of $260,000 are difficult for the administration to recommend. The focus has to be the students and the services they need. The recommendations are not in any priority order.

School Committee Meeting 3.

May 6, 2009

RECOMMENDED REDUCTIONS TO ACHIEVE $260,000 NOT PRIORITIZED

Elementary Guidance Position (2 positions for 3 schools)

3rd grade teacher, Hastings (a 3rd grade teacher at Armstrong will go to 1st grade)

5th grade teacher, Mill Pond

High School teacher

Technology Para (1 day per week, 3 schools)

3rd grade Strings (move to Community Ed on fee basis)

2 Para positions at Fales

Psychologist (moving toward district model)

Nurse Leader

Reading teacher, Fales

Mr. Tretter noted the first four reductions result in a savings of $165,000. An additional $95,000 is needed.

Mr. Jost discussed the impact of the 3rd grade Strings program moving to an after school program. He noted 70% of the students at that grade level participate in the program, and research shows the program would have a 40-50% reduction in participation if moved to after school. Mr. Jost’s preference would be to condense the program and retain a fraction of it. He will also look at restructuring other areas of his programs. Mr. Doret supported Mr. Jost’s premise. Parent, Diane Wagner, also spoke in favor of retaining the 3rd grade program.

SENATOR ELDRIDGE

State Senator, James Eldridge, stated he knows how difficult it is for the school districts of the cities and towns going through the budget process and how hard the district has worked to receive equitable foundation funding the past few years. He is fighting for fair education funding at the state house. For many years Westborough has not received fair and equitable funding. Because of the economic crisis that is in jeopardy.

Mr. Tretter stated the district knows what it is getting from the town; it does not know what is happening with the state. The House and Senate decide where the budget stands. The district just wants to know the figures. The Governor’s budget returned $557,000 to the district; the House budget is recommending $317,507, or a $239,000 deficit. Senator Eldridge stated all stimulus funds are up to the Governor and how he wishes to appropriate them. The Senator is advocating that the foundation funding be restored because it is part of the five year plan that Westborough agreed to. He reported the Senate is due to take up its budget next week. In the last three months, there has been a loss of $1.6 billion dollars in state revenue. The Senate could end up reducing the budget more than the House. When the Senate budget comes out, it will have no revenues in it just like the House.

Mr. Tretter stated no one understands the Chapter 70 formula. The House and Senate decide where the budget stands. The district just wants to know the figures and move on.

In Mr. Harris’s opinion, it appears the budget figure for Westborough could be cut further before the next school committee meeting, May 20. He inquired what reforms are being planned by the state. The Senator replied the superintendent and MASS have provided recommended changes for consideration, including the freezing of out-of- district tuition rates which traditionally go up between 5-20%. He does not expect the suggested changes to be in this year’s budget.

Senator Eldridge stated he is in favor of supporting an increase in sales or income taxes, a controversial suggestion. The state has to receive more revenue. If it is the Governor’s prerogative, why would the House change it? The Senator thought the House perhaps is sending a message that this is how they would like the funds to be spent. The Senate may leave it alone. There are federal regulations on how the money can be spent for educational grants. The Executive Branch distributes grants.

Mrs. Henderson requested the increase of foundation funds as agreed to be kept to bring the district up to a minimum level. Mr. Harris noted peer town, Hopkinton, receives $3 million dollars more than Westborough.

School Committee Meeting 4.

May 6, 2009

Mr. Doret added that the legislature wants to change the Governor’s distribution of funds for those communities who did not get any funding. Westborough ends up with $250,000 less, a 40% hit, which has nothing to do with fairness. It is a political call. Mr. Doret felt the district representatives should be arguing for citizens of Westborough, who have been suffering all these years by being under funded. Raising taxes in this environment is worst thing that could be done.

Mr. Doret continued, “All the people of the Commonwealth are asking is to balance the budget and create an affordable economy, that is what is important. Raising taxes to continue the waste that is out there is unfortunate. All the people of the Commonwealth ever ask for is fair treatment and a clear and understandable formula instead of the formula we deal with every year that is in effect. People laugh at it on the basis that no one understands how you come out with the answers you come up with even if you understand the metrics of the formula. There is no formula at all.”

Mr. Doret asked that the Senator and his colleagues sit down and look at what is going on and answer the question, “What can the taxpayer do; how much can they afford?” Just raising taxes to continue programs that are unfair and don’t deliver the service is unfortunate. I would ask that the Senator sit down and ask what the people get for the money spent. And if 50% of the money doesn’t get to the purpose of the program, it should be eliminated. The legislature would find a lot of money to use differently. The district has been lauded for its performance. Give the district the money to continue doing what we do. We cannot do it if we do not have the teachers, and we are not going to have the teachers if this continues the way it is.”

Senator Eldridge stated he will continue to advocate for the original figure. “We are in the greatest economic crisis since the depression. The state is losing revenue. We need to do reforms in addition to cutting pensions and transportation. It is not going to make up the difference.” That is why the senator advocates raising taxes. Program cuts are occurring in autism, mental health, police and fire, and there is extreme concern about the teachers. The state cannot provide for them all unless revenue is raised.

Mr. Doret suggested creating jobs; only jobs will increase revenue; and to make changes in state laws to attract jobs to create taxes. Only the legislature can get the Commonwealth out of the box we are in.

Mrs. Henderson pointed to the letter from Dr. Towle and other superintendents to relieve some of the monetary mandates. She urged the Senator to push forward on some of those. Any relief on the reports and mandates will be helpful. As stewards of education, the superintendents have suggested areas for relief not financially based. Westborough’s Town Meeting is May 16. Some people have to be notified of reduction according to contracts. The sooner the district receives firm numbers, the better.

The timetable going forward is the Senate will debate the budget starting May 19 and end on May 22. It then goes to conference committee. There should be an agreement in June. Senator Eldridge stated the results will depend upon the budget debates and how much revenue is added to the budget.

Mrs. Levine-Kanji pointed out Westborough is 30th from the bottom in Chapter 70 funding. The state average is $4170 and Westborough receives $1272 per student in terms of state aid. Mr. Harris noted the student average expenditure is $12,000, of which the state pays 10%. Mr. Doret added the citizens are out of money and cannot afford to carry the cost any more. The citizens want equality. Every student in Massachusetts should get the same amount of money. Fair is fair. At least let the legislators know the cuts are hurting everyone. Let them be treated fairly.

Senator Eldridge agreed the parents are suffering. The Municipal Relief Commission report will be announced on May 7. Included in it will be local options, taxes, and closing the telecom loophole. It should result in added revenue for Westborough. There should also be GIC reform to help reduce insurance costs for town employees and towns sharing costs. The legislators are looking to pass that legislation quickly.

School Committee Meeting 5.

May 6, 2009

Dr. Towle stated relief on the mandated issues would be greatly appreciated. Senator Eldridge will follow up with the Joint Committee on Education to see if the notes have been heard yet.

Discussion on budget reductions

Dana Catarius, Fales School Counselor, and Hastings Guidance Counselor, Mary Ann Burritt, spoke to the changes that will occur if two counselors cover three schools. Of particular concern is involvement in the emotional and mental well being of the students and crisis management which cannot be dictated to occur at a specific time. Direct services would be reduced 40-50%. Ms. Catarius suggested Committee members visit the schools and talk to the staff. Kate Finn, reading teacher, related concerns with eliminating the support positions.

The Committee welcomes emails from the staff if they have any ideas to share.

Mr. Doret stated the budget goes to Town Meeting and there are notification requirements to be met. The School Committee will not be giving up any source or any method including discussion with unions. There has to be common sense. Hopefully, there will be discussion with the unions to see how they can help to keep the teachers where they are.

MOTION

Mr. Tretter made a motion at 9:00 p.m. to enter Executive session under Chapter 39, Section 23B, sub paragraph (3) for the purpose of discussing negotiations. Mr. Harris seconded the motion and the Committee voted 5-0 in favor by roll call vote.

The Committee returned to Open Session at 9:45 p.m., signed bills, and upon a motion by Mr. Tretter, seconded by Mrs. Levine-Kanji, the Committee voted unanimously to adjourn.

Respectfully submitted

Ilyse Levine-Kanji

Secretary

These minutes are as recorded by the secretary to the school committee and do not become an official part of the record until so noted in a subsequent record.


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