School Committee Minutes of December 9, 2009

Posted: March 30, 2009, by Cathy Grant

DECEMBER 9, 2008

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

1.      EXECUTIVE SESSION                                               

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 her meeting with Jenny Fallon, Chair of the Planning Board, which is moving ahead with plans to establish a Citizens Council and an Advisory Board to focus on housing, growth, and economic development in the town. A consultant working with the Planning Board may be contacting school committee members for input.
      Dr. Aubin reported that US News and World Reports has named Belmont High School the 100th best high school in the nation based on a survey of over 21,000 high schools in the country.
      2.3      Chairman's Report       
      Mr. Bowe provided an update on the superintendent search process.  The School Committee will meet with Future Management System on Tuesday, December 16.  Candidates will be interviewed by the School committee in January.  The goal is to make an appointment in February.
      Mr. Bowe reminded the School Committee that it will meet every Tuesday in January for the purpose of reviewing the superintendent’s recommended budget.
      Mr. Bowe stated that the Board of Selectmen, Warrant Committee, and School Committee will participate in a budget forum on January 21, 2009 at Belmont High School.  Community members are invited.      Mr. Bowe assured the School Committee that an issue regarding the Belmont Youth Basketball Association (BYBA) had been successfully resolved.                       

2.4      Citizens' Concerns 

In response to a citizen’s concern raised at the November 18, 2008 School Committee meeting, Mr.
Bowe stated that the School Committee prefers not to create a policy on the placement of the children of blended families.  Mr. Bowe stated that the School Committee feels the superintendent, in conjunction with the elementary school principals should make placement decisions that take into account each family’s request in light of the school’s enrollment, class sizes, and capacity. 




      4.1      MASS Certificates of Academic Excellence     

      Dr. Aubin presented Anji Tang and Lincoln Hill, seniors at Belmont High School, with Certificates of Academic Excellence from the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents.  These two students have distinguished themselves academically as well as through their contributions to their school community.                                                                             
      4.2      Update on the Wellington Building Project

      Mark Haley, Gerry Missal, and Matt LaRue provided an update on the Wellington Building Project.  Dr. Missal presented the revised schematics for the building based on recent meetings with the MSBA.  Mark Haley outlined the schedule for the project.  Matt LaRue, associate with the architectural firm, answered questions about site orientation and traffic patterns.
4.3      Introduction of Two New School Committee Policies – Exhibit A     

      Steve Mazzola, Director of Technology, presented background information and answered questions on the proposed School Committee Policy on E-Mail Record Retention.  This policy will be submitted to the School Committee for a vote after it has been reviewed by the School Committee Policy Subcommittee.
      Denis Fitzpatrick, Assistant Superintendent, provided information on a required DOE policy regarding the English language fluency and literacy of all teachers in classrooms where English is the language of instruction. 
      4.4      Discussion of School Committee Policies on Governance and Operations     

      Kathy Miller and Elizabeth Gibson, members of the School Committee Policy Subcommittee, answered questions and clarified items about the most recent revisions of the sections of the School Committee policy manual pertaining to Governance and Operations.  These revisions will be voted on at the next School Committee meeting.  The subcommittee is working to revise all sections of the policy manual.
      4.5      Report on Special Education – Exhibit B     

      Ken Kramer, Director of Special Education, provided the School Committee with an update on Special Education programs.  Mr. Kramer provided enrollment information, gave an overview of special education initiatives for the 2008-1009 school year, and answered questions about the legal requirements and the cost effectiveness of the program.                 

      4.6      Presentation of Capital Budget Items – Exhibit C      

      Dr. Missal presented the capital budget requests for FY 10.  Dr. Missal outlined building and grounds requests, building envelope study priority requests, and a technology request to upgrade the existing data network.  Mr. Bowe suggested moving one item on the building and grounds request to a lower position on the list.      

4.7      Discussion of FY10 Budget

      Dr. Aubin reminded the School Committee of the Warrant Committee’s request from last spring for budget information early this fall.  Dr. Aubin reviewed the School Department’s assumptions as it worked to arrive at a level-service budget and then an available funds budget, based on figures provided by the Warrant Committee.  Dr. Aubin then used a power point presentation to outline the major differences between these two budget scenarios and the potentially necessary reductions to arrive at the figure provided by the Warrant Committee.  School Committee members asked questions and offered suggestions about ways to both produce revenue and to make savings to avoid these potentially necessary reductions.  Dr. Aubin will present this same information to the Warrant Committee on December 10, 2008.



      6.1      Consent Agenda


      6.2      Personnel Items - Informational

            a.      Extra-compensatory Positions – Exhibit D              
            b.      Instructional Assignments – Exhibit E       
            c.      Non-Instructional Assignments – Exhibit F                   
6.3      Business Items


6.4      Approval of Minutes

      On a motion offered by Ms. Walker and seconded by Ms. Vose, it was

      VOTED:      unanimously to approve the minutes of the October 1, October 7, October 21, and October 29, 2008 meetings of the School Committee.


      7.1      Next Meeting Dates:      January 6, 2009 - 7:30 p.m.
                              Regular School Committee Meeting
                              CMS Community Room           


      8.1      December 1, 2008 Enrollment
      8.2      December 2008 issue of The Beacon                                                                 

      At 11:05 p.m., on a motion offered by Ms. Walker and seconded by Ms. Vose, it was

      VOTED:  unanimously to adjourn the meeting.

                        Respectfully submitted by _____________________________________
                                    Ann Rittenburg