Thursday, March 25, 2021

Recap - School Committee meeting - Mar 23, 2021 - school budget presented, Jefferson Elementary provides highlights

Quick Recap:
  • School budget shared in public hearing, insightful questions from 5 members, one with no questions makes negative comment, one School Committee member absent. Budget returns to SchComm for vote in April
  • Jefferson Elementary provides highlights of their pandemic school year
  • One policy approved, one moved to second reading
  • Re-opening plans underway for in person education for those who are hybrid and choose to change from remote only
  • FHS graduation date confirmed for Jun 4 outside, with a rain date of Jun 5. Car parade planning also underway. Additional details to be shared as they are firmed up

Photos captured during the meeting and shared via Twitter can be found in one album:


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  #schcom0323 

Budget hearing
  • Budget hearing opens, via roll call passes 5-0-1 (Keenan not present yet) (updated post-meeting D’Angelo not present although named called, recording has no response, nor acknowledgement of visual vote)
  • #schcom0323 presentation doc being shared 
  • Minimum aid district means not $30/student - noted but also because we have $11+m more than we should have received per the revised calculation. 2nd only to Boston across the Commonwealth. #schcom0323
  • Multiple slides matter (lines up and down) confused? What the town will fund is open but slide assume they will provide what is needed? Question remains how much of that will they? #schcom0323
  • More slides on teacher and enrollment status over the years by elementary, middle and high school #schcom0323
  • Davis Thayer to Keller transition and positions associated reviewed with several slides (see deck) #schcom0323 anticipate supporting Title I at Keller next year. Looking to bring some staff back (i.e. restoration) on a page of the adds to prior year. Not tallied but my math …
  • ... gets to just about $1m of the 3m increase. What is the other? #schcom0323 use of revolving funds always a problem.
  • Citizens will have time to ask questions on budget, Chair addressing comments by TC budget Subcommittee chair that were made in the the TC budget meeting last week where he was 'disappointed' when #schCom0323 wasn't there to talk to
  • Chair reading line items of the budget (per function codes for DESE accounting). Individual members can 'hold' an item for further discussion. Vice Chair keeping track of holds. #schcom0323
  • FYI  - 5 viewing live stream, approx. 68 on Zoom, and Keenan did arrive, see his name in listing now #schcom0323
  • If you do want to look at the budget details, check this doc  #schcom0323
  • Questions on replacement of Dr. Edwards and where those fall on the budget lines, Q on the use of legal advice, and on consultants (for the master plan and possible redistricting) Q on degree advancement (regarding steps and lanes per contract) #schcom0323
  • Q on sped decrease, covered by grants. Q on removal of travel stipend; used by one position, by adding another position travel not required. #schcom0323 contract for the 10GB line accounts for the increase.
  • Q on SPED out placements - all required per each student's level of needs, we are unable to provide within district. #schcom0323 interesting comment by one member saying it is not fair for the Town to give every dollar to the schools. (And yet she asked no Qs on budget)
  • Student enrollment decline as well as the DT cost savings are signs of adjustments over the years. DT closing results in a total of about $900K for staffing and expenses (which includes about $120k on town side) #schcom0323
  • Motion to close budget hearing passes 6-0-1 via roll call  (updated post meeting - Keenan is there, D’Angelo not even has named called out)
  • Now to regular schedule of meeting. #schcom0323 
FHS Student representatives
  • FHS representatives promoting SEL during remote, via "what's up?" Sections during day. GirlUp club discussion on Thursday at 6 PM
  • Touts DECA awards of 25 students to National. One acts coming Thursday. #schcom0323 FHS home football against Attleboro. 
Superintendent's Report
  • Superintendent's report shorter this week mindful of the budget and agenda, speaks to the acts of violence in Atlanta and Denver
Jefferson Elementary
  • Moving along to Jefferson Elementary for their update #schcom0323 Principal Sarah Klim leads the group
  • The Jefferson presentation doc can be found here #schcom0323 many thanks to many folks, stakeholders across the district. Kids excited to return Apr 5
  • Time for coloring let's kids light up #schcom0323 monkey fidgets have a little marble in the cloth pocket so it allows for fidgeting but quietly
  • More slides and good conversation / information supporting these #schcom0323
  • Staff slideshow at opening in September had photo of teachers/staff with and without masks #schcom0323
Discussion Action items
Discussion only = Re-opening
  • #schcom0323 Caution on maintain protocol, distancing, masks, etc. Participation in pool testing increasing, experience with positive tests. Will pool testing be continued after pilot? Maybe funded with relief funds after pilot
  • Custodian staff working Weds and weekends to move desks and reset classrooms to be ready, not anticipating challenges on accommodations either way for elementary, middle closes soon, FHS working numbers with info due in couple of days #schcom0323
  • Attendance memo coming to parents to reinforce in person and no slide to remote, need to be in person. Principals doing to work with the parents on Communications, etc. Also thinking about summer programs for ELA and math #schcom0323 possible summer school at FHS
  • A new beginning with students in 5 days at 3' playgrounds to be opened in near future, adjusting to travel advisory changes per Gov Baker's changes. 'Urge' to quarantine or test upon return. #schcom0323 vaccine changing circumstances for some teachers, etc.
  • Swampscott situation due to a post football game party, would handle due to circumstances call DESE, no set guidelines. #schcom0323 individual schools working the volunteer situations at each school 
  • Testing being set for Sept to help assess the starting point
  • FHS graduation will be first Friday in June, outdoor, rain date June 5, working on car parade which folks enjoyed last year. #schcom0323 budget meeting Apr 6, info for flyer using #s from video, Policy, meeting Apr 29, joint PCC amazing how much work these PCCs are doing
  • Looking at vaping and justice models to best address violations #schcom0323 to work with SAFE Coalition as well Sch wellness looking at fitness for summer
  • District improvement plan updates, budget vote, and how the return is looking.
Consent agenda to Closing (Executive Session)
  • Consent agenda, motion to approve, second passes via roll call 6-0 (I apparently missed Jen D'Angelo).
  • Motion to executive session, second passes 6-0 (no D'Angelo) #schcom0323 
  • That's all for tonight catch you next time!


a slide captured from the school budget presentation depicts local contribution to budget over time
a slide captured from the school budget presentation depicts local contribution to budget over time

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