Saturday, January 23, 2021

SchComm: Davis Thayer Facility Analysis subcommittee meeting recap - Jan 20, 2021

Quick Recap:
  • In the prior meeting, the SubCommittee heard the financial analysis and education research required to complete Stage 1, Phase 2. A couple of points were left open and the meeting ran out of time. This meeting picks up where that left off. (The link for the prior meeting recap is located below)
  • There was a clarification on the role of the School Committee (they determine educational use and requirements) and Town (they manage the facility building and would determine a future use) if the School Committee declares it not needed for education. This subcommittee is follow the policy and process to determine if the building is needed or not. Given the excess capacity in the current facilities, it is likely to be determined not needed.
  • Solutions (the after school care program) is not constrained in either facility (Davis Thayer or Keller), the program would adjust depending upon where the students were. It is a fee based program and effectively self supported.
  • Discussion among the subcommittee reveals no consensus on readiness for decision. Meetings to be scheduled weekly for a period to work through this discussion. Overall concern is to make a decision soon. The planning for transition to the new school will require time and effort to make that transition successful.
Photos captured during the meeting can be found in one folder
The audio recording of this meeting will be available soon

As with most meetings in this pandemic period, I took my notes via Twitter during the meeting reporting in real-time via the virtual session.
The Twitter hashtag can be found online  #DTFA0120

  • Getting ready for live reporting of the SchComm Davis Thayer Facility Analysis subcommittee meeting agenda doc contains link info #dtfa0120
  • #dtfa0120 open at 5:30 with roll call of members, three present (all accounted for) motion to approve minutes of prior meeting, passed 3-0 via roll call (Pfeffer, Scofield, Stokes - chair)
  • Davis Thayer facility analysis page #dtfa0120
  • Clarification on buildings as property of the Town and used by SchComm; SchComm determines school use, if not longer desired, the Town has decision process. #dtfa0120
  • #dtfa0120 Pfeffer raises question on sentence within report reviewed prior. Re: town budget for support of DT facility. Q - from prior meeting on Solutions, A - no constraints on space at Keller, and re: staffing, minimal requirements, could be handled in transition ...
  • Not a financial issue for Solutions operations, they haven't been full at either location, they could be more efficient at one. #dtfa0120 architect report had recommended using Keller as it was already paired with DT feeding Sullivan middle school
  • Focus on DT question first, Parmenter is also a consideration for closing but also has other programs that were not considered as part of the architect report and would be more work to figure out. DT 'easier' / 'cleaner' to work numbers for. #dtfa0120
  • #dtfa0120 could DT be used for other educational purposes. Was briefly discussed at Central Office; alternative high school, office space, among ideas raised. Space is still excess, will have space elsewhere as the years move along and the population wave moves thru
  • Educational adequacy and access still pose issues as it stands today. Addressing those comes at a cost (not cheap) for an aging building. #dtfa0120 clarification on title I, will follow the students (targeted assistance) but can't exceed what's provided for Parmenter
  • Will write the Title I grant accordingly. #dtfa0120 difference between positions and people. Some roles might not be needed but folks in those today and be used elsewhere in many cases. BTW approx. 50+ participating via zoom
  • #dtfa0120 not an easy decision, some students would be bused across town. We need to think about that. Discussion on meeting frequency, what info is available vs. what is required (diff among subcomm members). Discussion on outline of info for full SchComm
  • #dtfa0120 other options for consideration. Page 1 - if option to close for FY 22 is desired, need to make soon to start transition planning; logistics, school culture, etc. Page 2 other options to slow the closure and/or redistrict
  • No option on redistrict without closure, issue is with excess space and the ease of closing (without redistricting) is the better financial option. Esp if closing elementary schools and combining middle schools is long term plan, the way to go #dtfa0120
  • Redistricting is something you only do once, if at all. #dtfa0120 the full SchComm will likely take up 'master plan' after this Committee does it's work. Map of district shared to highlight the middle school sending areas in the 3 colors
  • Discussion on impact of apartments at Waverly and Dean, and they currently do not have an impact on the school population. #dtfa0120 discussion on how to make the decision, not as quantitative as one thought. Subcommittee members to put decision thought process on paper to ...
  • Have members review to see what if anything is needed or ready. Discussion on FY 22 vs 23 is key to reduce options, members not ready to commit to that tonight. #dtfa0120 could do VLA students as part of the phased approach. Voting is on recommendation not actual decision
  • Opening for Community questions, comments #dtfa0120 apprehension around closing is present and could be worse with decision. Dealing with unprecedented times. We don't know what next year will bring. #s represent real students and people.
  • #dtfa0120 4th graders would be there for one year and then to Sullivan for middle school. Taking a logistics approach. Can it be done in the time required? We need this to be a thoughtful process. Make decision and go. We need to do the rest of the work
  • Other options to communicate on this issue, #dtfa0120 motion to adjourn, passes 3-0 via roll call 


Jan 14, 2021 recap =  (audio) =

SchComm: Davis Thayer Facility Analysis subcommittee meeting recap - Jan 20, 2021
SchComm: Davis Thayer Facility Analysis subcommittee meeting recap - Jan 20, 2021

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