5 Things You Missed at the School Committee Meeting
Budget cuts are eyed to meet Town Manager recommendations and the Superintendent updates the committee on the search for a new principal at Elmwood.
1. After a budget recommendation by Town Manager that is $127,000 lower than what the School Committee requested, members looked at what needs to be done to rectify the difference. Although Finance Director Ralph Dumas was not at the meeting, he did submit a list of ways to cut the difference out. The list included a reduction in the purchase and leasing of new copiers, the removal of a crossing guard and potential savings by having a new principal at Elmwood School next year. Two items on the list the committee did not agree with were cutting the replacement of several countertops at the Center School and not replacing some of the carpets at the Elmwood School. The committee did not make a final decision tonight but did establish that they are willing to work with the town to close the gap.
2. Superintendent Jonathan Landman updated the committee and the town about changes to the schools’ strategic plan. “The district is in the process of a refresh of the strategic plan that was created in fall of 2009, in the meantime we’re still moving forward with the current strategic plan,” Landman said. Several of the goals of the plan have been met already, including alignment of teacher schedules and improving the availability of foreign languages; but others such as raising long-form open response scores on standardized testing were not as quick to respond.
3. School Committee member and Americans with Disabilities Act Oversight Committee liaison Nancy Burdick updated the board on a capital request to improve the town’s compliance with the ADA. She said there will be a $150,000 request which if approved will be used to fix handicapped access at the Center School as well as create a handicapped accessible bathroom at the library. The committee voted in favor of supporting the request at town meeting.
4. Superintendent Landman updated the committee about the hiring process for a new principal at the Elmwood School. The posting for the position is open until March 9, and nearly 50 applicants have already applied. A committee is being formed to select applicants that will move on to an interview process and eventually meet with the School Committee. The tentative date for a public hearing with the new candidates is March 26 in the Elmwood School.
5. Chairman of the School Committee Jean Bertschmann presented information about the plan to have a statue of Team Hoyt placed on the Center School lawn. Because the Center School is in the historic district, the Historic Commission must approve the statue’s placement. Normally there is a public hearing required for such a change but the Historic Commission waived this instead opting for a 10-day public comment period before they make an official decision. Bertschmann said a decision is expected by the middle of the month.