School Committee Minutes of March 10, 2009

Posted: March 31, 2009, by Cathy Grant

MARCH 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

      All principals and Mr. Larry Weathers, Director of Science, Health and Technology Education, were 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. 

      2.2      Superintendent's Report

      Dr. Aubin asked Ms. Julie Silverman, Human Resources Manager, to update the School Committee on the searches for the Director of English and Principal of the Butler School.  Ms. Silverman stated that search committees have been formed, interviews are scheduled, and decisions are expected in early April.

      Dr. Aubin asked Dr. Michael Harvey, BHS Principal, to inform the School Committee on today’s visitors to Belmont High School.  Dr. Harvey stated that 25 Chinese school administrators and members of the Central Chinese Education Ministry toured BHS, met with curriculum directors, saw a performance by the Madrigal Singers, and visited classes guided by BHS students in our Chinese program      .  Star Chen, BHS Chinese teacher, and Dan Richards, Assistant Principal, worked with the China Exchange Program to facilitate this visit.     

      2.3      Chairman's Report       

      Mr. Bowe briefly summarized last week’s Education Forum organized by Rep. Will Brownsberger.  Mr. Bowe thanked Dr. Aubin for making the necessary arrangements.  Speakers at the forum were DESE Commissioner Mitchell Chester, MASS Executive Director Tom Scott, and MASC Executive Director Glenn Koocher.

      Mr. Bowe urged the School Committee and the public to attend the Foundation for Belmont Education’s upcoming fund raising gala and auction on April 4.

      Mr. Bowe stated that the Superintendent of Minuteman Vocational Technical High School attended last week’s Warrant Committee meeting.     

      Mr. Bowe asked Dan Scharfman to speak briefly about the parent group forming to investigate fundraising models to support athletics and after school activities.  Mr. Scharfman indicated that the group had only recently met, would be meeting this week with school department officials, and hoped to return soon with possible fund raising models for the School Committee’s consideration.

2.4      Citizens' Concerns       

Jayson Ito-Adler, Student Council representative to the School Committee, asked about the possible
loss of hall monitors at BHS.

Jeanne Mooney, parent, asked about the sustainability of the parent fund raising effort as outlined by
Mr. Scharfman.  She also wanted to know if this would be a one time effort or an on-going effort.



      4.1      Curriculum Updates     

      Mr. Fitzpatrick provided information on upcoming trips to London by theater and choral students, to China by social studies students, and to Italy by Latin students.

      Mr. Fitzpatrick informed the School Committee of the course sequence change in the BHS Social Studies Department.  US History II will now be taught in tenth grade, and World History II will be taught in eleventh grade.  This change in sequence is being made in advance of the mandated US History MCAS.                                                                       
      4.2      Continued Discussion of Budget

      Dr. Aubin reviewed the current FY10 budget reduction list and reminded the School Committee of the Warrant Committee’s request that the school department make an additional $400,000 cut.  Dr. Aubin then outlined interests of the members of the School Committee in restoring some proposed cuts.  Dr. Aubin had Dr. Harvey speak to the impact of the proposed cuts to the high school program and to the issue of class sizes raised by some members of the School Committee.  Dr. Harvey used a power point presentation to address both issues.  He also answered questions from members of the School Committee.

      Members of the School Committee discussed their interests in restoring some positions as well as supporting the need for an operating override, changing the school/town funding split, and requesting the use of free cash to mitigate cuts on both the school and town sides. 

      Members of the audience commented on their concerns about the loss of athletics at the high school and about the rise in fees as well as the need to support an operating override.  Members of the School Committee expressed similar concerns.                                                                             


      6.1      Consent Agenda - None                 
      6.2      Personnel Items - Informational

            a.      Resignations – Exhibit A
            b.      Instructional Assignments – Exhibit B
            c.      Leave of Absence – Exhibit C
            d.      Non-Instructional 6 Month Prob. Period Complete – Exhibit D
            e.      Non-Instructional Assignment – Exhibit E
            f.      Extra-compensatory Assignments – Exhibit F                  
      6.3      Business Items - None

      6.4      Approval of Minutes – None                       




      7.1      Next Meeting Dates:

            March 17, 2009 – 7:30 p.m.
            Regular School Committee Meeting
            CMS Community Room

            March 24, 2009 – 7:30 p.m.
            Regular School Committee Meeting
            CMS Community Room

      8.1      March 2, 2009 Enrollment

      At 10:00 p.m., on a motion offered by Mr. Bowe and seconded by Ms. Gibson, it was

      VOTED:  unanimously on a roll call vote (6-0) to enter executive session, without returning to Open Session, for the purpose of discussing strategy related to collective bargaining and contract negotiations with non-union personnel.


      At 10:45 p.m., on a motion offered by Ms. Vose and seconded by Mr. Bowe, it was

      VOTED:  unanimously to adjourn the meeting.

                        Respectfully submitted by _____________________________________
                                    Ann Rittenburg