School Committee Minutes of February 10, 2009

Posted: March 31, 2009, by Cathy Grant

FEBRUARY 10, 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

            Eric Smith, Peg Callanan, and Liz Allison were in attendance representing the Education Subcommittee of the Warrant Committee.  Jim Davis, Director of Athletics, Physical Education, and Student Activities, was also in attendance.


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.    Mr. Bowe welcomed members of the BHS Student Advisory Council (Yong Yoon, Jayson Ito-Adler, Sharon Kelleher, and Josh Nelson) as well as Dr. Michael Harvey, Principal of Belmont High School, and Ms. Deb McDevitt, Student Council Advisor.  Students reported on their recent activities, including a very successful semi-formal dance at BHS and an anti-idling campaign.

      2.2      Superintendent's Report 

      Dr. Aubin announced that she met with parents from the Butler School regarding the search for a new principal.

      Dr. Aubin confirmed that Rep. Will Brownsberger will hold a public forum on March 5 in the BHS auditorium for the purpose of discussing school budget issues; DESE Commissioner Mitchell will attend.

      Mr. Fitzpatrick announced the names of CMS and BHS students accepted into Massachusetts Music Educators Association Eastern Division Junior High Music Festival to be hosted by Lincoln-Sudbury High School on March 6 and 7, 2009.  Mr. Fitzpatrick also announced national science awards to BHS seniors Jamie Kang and Anji Tang.     

      2.3      Chairman's Report       

      Mr. Bowe reported on the recent well-attended community budget forum.  He reminded the members of the School Committee about the public nature of e-mail.  He announced that over 500 students participated in the FBE Student Spelling Bee, raising over $15,000.  Mr. Bowe called on Ms. Graham to inform the School Committee of plans for the upcoming BHS Diversity Week, February 23 to 27, 2009.                 

      2.4      Citizens' Concerns                         





4.1      Continued Discussion of FY 2010 Budget     

Mr. Davis presented a revised athletic reduction proposal which brings back junior varsity sports at
BHS and lowers the projected fee increases.  School Committee members and members of the audience asked questions about the proposal and offered suggestions and rationales for returning freshman sports.                 
      4.2      Announcement of New Superintendent      

      Mr. Bowe reviewed the superintendent search process to date, including recent site visits to the finalists’ districts.  Members of the site visit committee gave their impressions.  Mr. Bowe asked each member of the School Committee to indicate a preference for superintendent.  Each member of the committee preferred Dr. George Entwistle.
      On a motion offered by Ms. Rittenburg and seconded by Ms. Vose, it was

         VOTED:      unanimously that Dr. George Entwistle be offered the position of Superintendent of Schools for the Town of Belmont, effective July 1, 2009, subject to the execution of a formal and satisfactory written contract within ten days of this vote, consistent with the terms negotiated with him by the Chairman.  The failure of such a written contract being executed shall void this offer of employment.
4.3     Continued Discussion of FY 2010 Budget     

      Members of the School Committee reviewed a class size distribution chart created by the administration.  The chart involved a possible reorganization of the Burbank School into a K and Grade 1 school and the Wellington into a Grade 2, 3, and 4 school.  Dr. Aubin pointed out that this configuration would better distribute class sizes and would reduce by two the number of elementary teachers.  Dr. Missal suggested that this plan would be a useful model to consider should students need to be relocated in the event of a successful debt exclusion vote to build a new Wellington School.  School Committee members expressed interest in holding a public forum to hear from parents; Dr. Aubin suggested scheduling time for parent input at a School Committee meeting in March.

      Members of the School Committee discussed tomorrow’s meeting of the Warrant Committee as well as issues related to a future debt exclusion vote for the rebuilding of the Wellington School and a future Proposition 2 ½ override for the town and school operating budgets.

      School Committee scheduled a meeting for Friday, February 27, at 8:00 a.m. in the conference room at the School Administration Building.

      Mr. Bowe asked Ms. Rittenburg and Ms. Vose to meet with representatives of the Belmont Public Library to discuss possible collaboration for services to the elementary schools.  Mr. Bowe accepted a suggestion that the March 3 meeting of the School Committee focus on the administration’s proposal for a possible reorganization of the Burbank and Wellington Schools as well as the idea of a school district development office for the purpose of raising private funds to support some expenses in the operating budget.
5.      REPORT OF SUBCOMMITTEES/LIAISONS                       


      6.1      Consent Agenda - None                             
      6.2      Personnel Items - Informational

            a.      Leave of Absence – Exhibit A            
            b.      Instructional Assignments – Exhibit B     
            c.      Change of Instructional Assignments – Exhibit C     
            d.      Non-Instructional Assignments – Exhibit D
      6.3      Business Items - None

      6.4      Approval of Minutes - None                       

      7.1      Next Meeting Dates:      March 3, 2009 – 7:30 p.m..
                              CMS Community Room
                              Budget Discussions
                              March 17, 2009 – 7:30 p.m.
                              CMS Community Room
                              Budget Discussions w/BOS & WC

                              March 24, 2009 - 7:30 p.m.
                              CMS Community Room
                              Public Hearing: School Budget                       

      8.1      February 3, 2009 Letter to Michael Harvey from NEASC           
      8.2      Butler Elementary School Principal Search Schedule

      8.3      Director of English Language Arts Search Schedule                 

1.      EXECUTIVE SESSION                                   

      At 11:00 p.m., on a motion offered by Ms. Gibson and seconded by Ms. Vose, it was

      VOTED:  unanimously on a roll call vote (6-0) to enter executive session for the purpose of discussing strategy related to contract negotiations with the final candidate for Superintendent of Schools.  The Committee stated that they did not plan to return to Open Session.


      At 11:20 p.m., on a motion offered by Ms. Rittenburg and seconded by Ms. Gibson, it was

      VOTED:  unanimously to adjourn the meeting.

                        Respectfully submitted by _____________________________________
                                    Ann Rittenburg