School Committee Minutes of January 27, 2009

Posted: March 30, 2009, by Cathy Grant

BELMONT SCHOOL COMMITTEE MINUTES
CHENERY MIDDLE SCHOOL COMMUNITY ROOM
JANUARY 27, 2009

Present:      Mr. John Bowe, Chair
            Ms. Ann Rittenburg, Secretary
Ms. Elizabeth Gibson
            Ms. Leslie Walker
            Ms. Laurie Graham
Ms. Becky Vose
            Dr. Patricia Aubin, Superintendent of Schools
            Mr. Denis Fitzpatrick, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction
            Dr. Gerry Missal, Director of Finance and Administration
 

      Elementary principals, high school principal, and the Director of Fine and Performing Arts were in attendance.
      Liz Allison, member of the Education Subcommittee of the Warrant Committee, was also in attendance.

1.       EXECUTIVE SESSION
     
      No Executive Session     

2.      OPENING BUSINESS
     
      2.1      Call to Order
                                   
           At 7:35 p.m. Mr. Bowe called the meeting to order in the Community Room of the Chenery Middle School.         
      2.2      Superintendent’s Report

      Dr. Aubin reported on the recent MASS mid-winter conference which included a panel discussion about the current fiscal crisis.  Panelists included Mike Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers’ Association; Paul Reveille, Secretary of Education; Paul Harrington, Associate Director of Labor Studies at Northeastern University, and House Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Robert DeLeo.  DESE Commissioner Mitchell Chester spoke at lunch.  From these presentations, Dr. Aubin concluded (drawing on Mike Widmer’s words) that in the face of the current fiscal crisis, Belmont, like other communities, will have to keep focused on preserving the core, prepare to “do without” for the next few years, consider ways of doing the work of schools differently, and develop long-term plans and strategies.
      Mr. Fitzpatrick reported on recent awards presented to BHS students by the Boston Globe Scholastic Art Awards program.  He also announced students accepted into the Massachusetts Music Educators Association’s All-State Honors Chorus and Symphonic Orchestra; students will perform at Symphony Hall on March 28, 2009.

      2.3      Chairman’s Report

      Mr. Bowe announced the upcoming Budget Forum on February 4 at 7:30 p.m. in the CMS Auditorium.  The forum will include budget presentations by both the town and school departments.
      Mr. Bowe encouraged the community to attend the FBE Student Spelling Bee on Saturday, February 7.
      Mr. Bowe provided an update on the superintendent search and added an agenda item to tonight’s meeting for the purpose of identifying two finalists for site visits by a School Committee selected team.  Mr. Bowe said he hopes to select a new superintendent at the February 10 meeting of the School Committee.


      2.4      Citizens’ Concerns

      None     

3.      UNFINISHED BUSINESS

      None


4.      MAJOR BUSINESS

      4.1            Superintendent Search

      Each school committee member commented positively on the four candidates who visited the
community during the last two weeks.  Members unanimously selected Dr. George Entwistle and Dr.
Richard Hoffman as finalists.  Plans will be made for site visits.

      4.2               Continued Discussion of FY 2009 Budget     

Elementary principals and the Director of Fine and Performing Arts presented their
recommended level service budgets as well as the anticipated reductions with an available funds budget.  They answered questions from School Committee members.

      Elementary 1 – 4, Kindergarten, and Library
      Fine Arts
      Art
      Music
      Theater Arts

      Dr. Missal presented the recommended level service budgets as well as the anticipated
reductions with an available funds budget for the following accounts:

      Substitutes
      Regular Transportation
      Buildings and Grounds
      Custodial
      Utilities
                 
5.      REPORT OF SUBCOMMITTEES/LIAISONS

      None
     
6.      OTHER BUSINESS

      6.1      Consent Agenda      

            None

      6.2      Personnel Items – Informational

            None
     
      6.3      Business Items

            None

      6.4      Approval of Minutes      

            None           

7.      FUTURE BUSINESS

      7.1      Next Meeting Dates:
           
            February 3, 2009 – 7:30 p.m.
            Regular School Committee Meeting
            CMS Community Room

8.      ENCLOSURES

      None
           
9.      ADJOURNMENT

      At 10:20 p.m., on a motion offered by Ms. Graham and seconded by Mr. Bowe, it was

      VOTED:  unanimously to adjourn the meeting.

                        Respectfully submitted by _____________________________________
                                    Ann Rittenburg
                                    Secretary