JAMESTOWN SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEETING
Lawn Avenue School
December 21, 2006
Present: Catherine Kaiser, Chairperson
Present: Dr. Robert Power, Superintendent
Elizabeth Pinto, Director of Pupil Services
Maria Alfred, Business Manager
The School Committee returned from a 6:oo p.m. Executive Session pursuant to RIGL 42-46-5 Exception (a) 1 Personnel Matter; Exception 8, Home Schooling Request; and Exception 2, Collective bargaining discussions of JTA and JESPA contract negotiations and personnel. Ms. Kaiser announced that a roll call vote on a home schooling request was taken. Roll call vote was repeated in Open Session”: Kaiser - Yes; Held - Yes; Kallfelz - Yes. All approved. So moved.
Call to Order: Ms. Kaiser called the open session of the general meeting to order at 7:05 p.m. and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Ms. Kaiser called the Roll Call.
Members present: Kaiser, Held, Kallfelz.
Members absent: Brennan, Filkins.
Public Forum: None.
Recognition: Ms. Kaiser said there was a wonderful service for Bruce Englehart; he will be sorely missed.
Correspondence: Ms. Held called attention to a seminar, Fast Track to Good Government which will be sponsored by the RI Interlocal Risk Management Trust on January 17. Dr. Power and Ms. Held will attend.
Ms. Kaiser received a letter from Patrick Guida from the Barrington Public Schools regarding their meeting on January 4. She proposed that Jamestown move the next meeting to January 3 so members can attend the meeting in Barrington. Members agreed to hold the meeting on January 3. Ms. Kaiser will email this change to the Jamestown Press and Town Hall.
Ms. Kaiser received a letter from Ginny Perry who questioned the procedure regarding the flag outside. She cited rules which state that the flag must be removed if there is no light on it. Ms. Kaiser suggested that the 8th Grade might consider purchase of a light as their gift to the school. Dr. Power added that the flag cannot fly half mast unless ordered by the President of the United States.
Mrs. Kallfelz noted that she received information from the High Fructose Corn Syrup group.
Consent Agenda: Mrs. Kallfelz moved and Ms. Held seconded a motion to approve the Consent Agenda: A) Approval of Minutes of Minutes of November 2 and 16, 2006; and B) Payment of Bills of November 17, 2006. All approved. So moved.
Continued Pre-Budget Discussion: Ms. Kaiser said that, at their last meeting, the Town Council accepted the school committee resolution from Providence. She questioned whether Jamestown School Committee had formally endorsed Providence’s resolution and suggested that this be done. Providence sent this resolution to every legislator, and now they are sending it to town councils.
Regarding 30/50, Ms. Kaiser wrote to the DOA and got a call from Peter Schaeffer. It is his task to put together a report for the legislature. She explained that the law dated to the 80s, applied only to municipalities, and paid at most $7,000. There will be no reporting before April 7. In the 90s, the legislature voted not to fund it, and it has not been funded recently. Mr. Schaeffer said that the DOA has asked the DOE whether the mandate applies to schools. DOA asked the DOE to create a list of all mandates and regulations. They also sent letters to town managers asking whether school districts should be included in their April report.
Ms. Kaiser noted that she received a letter from Mr. Fogarty who said that only cities and towns, but not school districts, are required to report costs of mandates. She asked him for clarification of this issue. Ms. Kaiser suggested that 1) a letter be sent to Jennifer Wood stating that school departments are affected by the law and should be recognized; and 2) letters be sent to the Town Council and Bruce Keiser regarding including the school department’s mandates with theirs. Ms. Held thought it was logical that school departments’ mandates be included with those of cities and towns. Ms. Kaiser will write the letters.
Dr. Power explained that the audit has just been completed, and there will be a surplus. He suggested that the district look at capital projects like urinals and windows. Both of these would save money in water and heating costs. He also thought the district should be looking at energy costs and possibly at use of a windmill. He thought that the surplus could be used for these projects.
Ms. Kaiser said she read in the newspaper today that North Kingstown School Committee is looking at a bond for improving Wickford Middle School and wants a re-vote on it. If no bond is put forward, perhaps North Kingstown will look again at tuitioning some students to Jamestown. Mrs. Kallfelz said that there has been no word on tuitioning from the school’s attorney, and Jamestown will need a legal policy on the books. Dr. Power noted that Portsmouth and several other districts take students on a tuitioned basis. He mentioned that some of North Kingstown’s top students are from Jamestown.
Ms. Held asked whether it is permissible to reduce a position by .2 FTE if there are fewer students. Dr. Power said yes. Reduction notices come out in February, so staff know their future for the next year. Ms. Held asked whether teachers could bid on another position if their hours are reduced. Dr. Power said that positions are based on seniority and not on the number of hours worked. Mrs. Kallfelz suggested that letters be sent to parents to solicit suggestions for cost savings. She will write a letter to the Editor of the Jamestown Press. Ms. Kaiser explained that the law is complicated. Seniority prevails unless there is need for a technical specialty; in addition, this includes “highly qualified” by Nickleby standards.
Continued Discussion of Food Service Programs: Mrs. Kallfelz called attention to Dorothy Braley’s letter, which suggested putting limits on specific classes of compounds. Ms. Held noted that added sugar standards should vary with the food and said that sometimes sugar makes foods more palatable. She added that Mr. Brennan is concerned about who is monitoring sugars. Mrs. Kallfelz thought there should be an additional paragraph on added sugars and suggested that there could be some reasonable added sugars for some foods. Ms. Held added that it was the quantity of added sugar that was at issue. Mrs. Kallfelz noted that Ms. Braley suggested there be no more than eight teaspoons of added sugar per day for children. Dr. Power suggested that the committee talk with Ms. Braley regarding her suggestions.
Ms. Kaiser suggested that the whole line regarding BGH and antibiotics be taken out but that support remain for milk from local dairies when it was feasible, cost competitive, and reasonably available. She added that Mrs. Kallfelz is working on Jamestown’s food service RFP, and Ms. Braley is working with the state regarding their RFP. Mrs. Kallfelz said she hoped to have information to the committee by January.
Reading of Home School Policy: Ms. Pinto mentioned that she received Portsmouth’s policy and used it as she wrote Jamestown’s policy. Ms. Davis read the proposed policy. Minor typographical errors were corrected. Ms. Held suggested that the requirement for science in the home school law be discussed at the legislative meeting. Ms. Pinto will bring the corrected policy to the meeting next month for a reading.
Donna Drago questioned whether annual assessments are required. Dr. Power explained that the school can request an annual assessment, and he said that Rhode Island is very lax on home schooling laws. Ms. Kaiser added that parents can send their children in for assessment tests. She said that Jamestown has about ten children who are home schooled.
New Business: None.
Information & Proposals:
Superintendent’s Report: Dr. Power reported on several items. 1) The movie people came to school to talk with the students about the process. 2) There will be a meeting regarding an early childhood grant in Newport. Jamestown will send people to it. 3) There is still no technology agreement/contract with North Kingstown. 4) There are three finalists for the Secretary position. Each finalist will shadow staff for a couple of hours so they get a sense of what is expected of the position. 5) Dr. Power attended a meeting with the Commissioner regarding the tax cap who thinks that this topic is all coming to a head.
Principal’s Report: None.
SIT/Melrose: Mrs. Kallfelz reported that the group met to update the School Improvement Plan.
SIT/Lawn: Mrs. Kallfelz reported that this group will be meeting to work on the School Improvement Plan.
SELAC: Ms. Pinto reported that the group discussed Awareness Day at their recent meeting. Rick Lavoie will be the speaker and will also lead two discussion groups. The group considered applying for grant funding and logistics for the event. They discussed the budget cycle meetings and members want to attend. They discussed emergency services and police having a database of special needs students; they had concerns about training for staff and privacy issues in maintenance of the database.
Facilities Committee: None.
North Kingstown School Committee: None.
SORICO: Mrs. Kallfelz reported that there was a meeting recently and Ray Seitsinger discussed high school reform and the portfolio model. This has not been effective everywhere, and the state is considering individualizing the high school process.
Legislative: Previously discussed.
Wellness: Previously discussed.
Public Forum: None.
Adjourned: Mrs. Kallfelz moved and Ms. Held seconded a motion to adjourn the meeting at 7:59 p.m. So moved.
THE AFOREMENTIONED MINUTES ARE HEREBY APPROVED:
Chairperson, Jamestown School Committee Date