School Committee Minutes of May 26, 2009

Posted: July 7, 2009, by Cathy Grant

MAY 26, 2009

Present:      Ms. Ann Rittenburg, Chair
            Ms. Leslie Walker, Secretary
            Ms. Laurie Graham
            Ms. Becky Vose
Mr. Paul Roberts
Ms. Karen Parmett
            Dr. Patricia Aubin, Superintendent of Schools
            Mr. Denis Fitzpatrick, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction
            Dr. Gerry Missal, Director of Finance and Administration
            Ms. Julie Silverman, Human Resource Manager

            Dr. Michael Harvey, Mr. Jim Davis, and Mr. William Pappazisis were also in attendance.

1.      EXECUTIVE SESSION      - None                                                                                                                                   


2.1      Call to Order     
The meeting was called to order by Ms. Rittenburg at 7:35 p.m. in the Chenery Middle School Community Room.

2.2      Superintendent's Report

      Dr. Aubin reminded the School Committee and the public of upcoming school related events including the BHS Senior Prom Promenade on May 29, the senior awards assembly on June 1, and the service awards presentation and retiree reception which will be part of the next School Committee meeting on June 2.

      Mr. Fitzpatrick announced that senior Sergei Bernstein has recently received several prestigious national and international awards for mathematics.  Mr. Fitzpatrick also announced the Appreciation Award from the Belmont Special Education Advisory Council to the 2008 BHS football team and its coaches.

      Mr. Jim Davis, Director of Athletics, Physical Education and Student Activities, announced the BHS teams currently engaged in post season play.                       
      2.3      Chairman's Report       

      Ms. Rittenburg reported on the May 20 dedication of the Peter B. Holland Library at BHS as well as the Blacker Awards that same evening.        She also reported on last week’s Wellington Informational Forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters.

      Ms. Rittenburg reminded the School Committee and the public of upcoming events including next week’s Town Meeting, the June 7 BHS graduation, the June 8 Wellington Debt Exclusion vote, and the June 23 close of school.

      Ms. Rittenburg introduced the co-chairs of the Belmont Special Education Advisory Council, Stephanie Woerner and Amanda Green, who honored Dr. Aubin for her years of dedicated service to all Belmont students.  They presented Dr. Aubin with an autographed photograph of Duke University’s basketball coach.     

      2.4      Citizens' Concerns - None                       


      4.1      Trip to China     

      Dr. Michael Harvey, BHS principal, reported on the very successful recent trip to China by 16 BHS students, three chaperones, and himself.  Dr. Harvey indicated that our sister school in China would like to investigate an extended exchange program involving both students and faculty.  School Committee members asked Dr. Harvey to report back on such discussions.                                                                                     
      4.2      Report from the Sub-Committee on School Policy – Exhibit A     

      Julie Silverman, Human Resources manager, provided members of the School Committee with an update on the work of the Subcommittee on School Policy.  Ms. Silverman presented disclaimer language which she recommends be included in all existing policy manuals.  Ms. Rittenburg explained that two public readings are required of all proposed policy changes and updates; an exception to this rule may be made if the committee votes unanimously to approve a policy on one reading.

      On a motion proposed by Ms. Vose, and seconded by Ms. Parmett, it was

      VOTED 6-0 (unanimously) to allow the committee to approve the proposed disclaimer language on one reading.

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

      VOTED 6-0 (unanimously) to approve the proposed disclaimer language and to post the following disclaimer to all policy manuals and policy postings:

      “The Belmont School Committee is in a multi-year process of reviewing and updating the district wide policy manual.  As each section of the policy manual is reviewed and approved by the School Committee it will be posted on the Belmont Public Schools’ website.  The older policies will remain in full force and effect, pending such review and approval, to the extent the policies comply with applicable federal and state laws and regulations.  In the case of a conflict between policies, the most recently dated policy will control.”
      4.3      Relocation Update     

      Dr. Missal reviewed three relocation proposals regarding the Wellington School.  School Committee members expressed special interest in a proposal to locate all Wellington School students in modular classrooms at Belmont High School.  Dr. Missal will continue to investigate this proposal and return with additional information to address issues and concerns brought up by members of the School Committee and those in the audience.                                                                             
4.4      Continued Discussion of the Budget

Ms. Rittenburg reviewed the budget process to date.

Dr. Aubin distributed a document proposing staffing restorations and new initiatives using federal
IDEA and ARRA funds.  Dr. Harvey addressed his proposal to return 2.8 FTE to Belmont High School using the federal ARRA funds.  School Committee expressed their support for these proposals even if the proposals do not restore all salary and non-salary cuts.

      Ms. Rittenburg reviewed the status of all offsets and revolving accounts.

      Dr. Missal reviewed the proposal to increase the bus fee to $520 per child per year (family maximum $1,040) for those non-mandated bus riders. 

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

      VOTED 6-0 to increase the bus fee to $520 per child per year (family maximum $1,040) for those non-mandated bus riders. 

      Dr. Missal reviewed the room usage and fees currently charged to the after-care programs at the four elementary schools and Chenery Middle School.  He outlined proposed increases and changes in the fees being charged based on a revised room usage chart.  This agenda item was tabled and no vote taken.  School Committee members asked for additional information regarding square footage allocations and requested recommendations from the after-care directors.      

      Mr. Davis presented information on two proposed athletic fees.  One proposal would be a $680 flat full year fee for each student athlete regardless of the number of sports each student played.  The second proposal was a $455 per season fee with a student maximum of $910.  This agenda item was tabled and no vote taken. 

      Mr. Fitzpatrick presented information on Fine and Performing Arts after school activities and expenses.  Additional information was requested regarding individual student participation in one or more of these activities       This agenda item was tabled and no vote taken. 


      7.1      Consent Agenda                 

            a.      Approval of School Committee Certificate Awards
                  for High Achievement – Seniors & Undergraduates –
                   Exhibits B-1 and B-2    CONFIDENTIAL

            b.      Approval of Staff Resolutions – Exhibit C

            c.      Approval of School Committee Dates for 2009-2010 – Exhibit D
      On a motion offered by Ms. Vose and seconded by Ms. Walker, it was

      VOTED: unanimously (6-0) to accept the consent agenda.

      7.2      Personnel Items - Informational

            a.      Resignations – Exhibit E
            b.      Retirements – Exhibit F           
      7.3      Business Items - None

      7.4      Approval of Minutes – No action taken                       

            a.      May 5, 2009
            b.      May 12, 2009     

7.5      Review of motion to be put before Town Meeting.

      School Committee members discussed a resolution being submitted to Town Meeting by Ann Mahon, Town Meeting member, to allocate Free Cash in the amount of $274,100 to the school department budget.

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

      VOTED  0-4 (with 2 abstentions) to support this resolution.

      8.1      Dates of Interest:
•      May 28 – Ice Cream Social for Bob Gleason

•      May 29 – Promenade at BHS

•      June 1 – Senior Class Awards; Town Meeting

•      June 2 – School Committee Meeting
6:45 p.m. – Recognition of Retirees
7:30 p.m. – Regular Meeting
CMS Community Room

•      June 3 – Town Meeting

•      June 7 – Graduation
                  3:00 p.m. Wenner Field House

•      June 12 – Underclassmen Awards

•      June 14 – Retirement Luncheon for Bruce MacDonald

•      June 15 – Butler Family Picnic Honoring Bruce MacDonald

•      June 16 – Courtyard Reception: Chris Worcester and Joanne Coffey

•      June 23 – Last Day of School

•      June 23 – School Committee Meeting
                  7:30 p.m. CMS Community Room


      9.1      City & Town Article - “Accountability in School Budgeting”
      9.2      April 2009 Chenery PTO Newsletter
      9.3      BPS Staff Development Council Bulletin
      9.4      Settlement Agreement – CONFIDENTIAL
      9.5      FY09 ARRA Stabilization Fund Grant

      At 12:20 a.m., on a motion offered by Ms. Walker and seconded by Ms. Vose, it was

      VOTED:   6 - 0 to adjourn the meeting.

                        Respectfully submitted by _____________________________________
                                    Leslie Walker