JAMESTOWN SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEETING
Lawn Avenue School
December 7, 2006
Present: Catherine Kaiser, Chairperson
Present: Dr. Robert Power, Superintendent
Elizabeth Pinto, Director of Pupil Services
Maria Alfred, Business Manager
Kathleen Alamanzor, Principal
The School Committee returned from a 6:oo p.m. Executive Session pursuant to RIGL 42-46-5, Exception a1, Personnel Matter and Exception 2, Collective bargaining discussions of JTA contract negotiations and personnel. Ms. Kaiser announced that no votes were taken.
Call to Order: Ms. Kaiser called the open work session to order at 7:10 p.m. and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Ms. Kaiser called the Roll Call.
Members present: Kaiser, Brennan, Held, Kallfelz.
Members absent: Filkins.
Public Forum: Tony Rafanelli, Co-Chair of SELAC introduced Co-Chair Donna Perry. He read a letter from SELAC recognizing the contributions of past Co-Chairs, Terrie Tamase and Tracey Shea. The letter will be submitted to the Jamestown Press.
Consent Agenda: None.
Continued Workshop Discussion:
Food Service Program: Goals: Ms. Kaiser asked for recommendations or changes to the food service goals. She will send the final list to Dorothy Fraley, and Ms. Fraley will send the list to the vendors for next week’s meeting.
Mr. Brennan asked about added sugars. By consensus, it was agreed to change the document to “...100% juice, milk, water, or beverages that contain no more than 4 grams of total added sugar per ounce.”
Mrs. Kallfelz suggested that vendors be asked if they can get milk without bovine growth hormone (BGH). Ms. Held suggested that milk come from animals who had not been given antibiotics. By consensus, it was agreed that, if cost-competitive and reasonably available, milk shall be from shall be from dairies that do not use antibiotics or BGH.
Ms. Kaiser suggested that the following documents be distributed at the meeting next Thursday: 1) the report from North Kingstown and 2) a list of equipment in each kitchen. Dr. Power added that he asked Mr. Kitts to compile this list. He thought that the vendors would return with their teams to tour the facilities. Ms. Kaiser noted that some equipment at Lawn needs replacement. Dr. Power said that he had not seen any response from the large vendors yet, but his secretary has contacted them. He added that there has been personal contact with local people, and they have expressed interest. Ms. Kaiser will email corrected goals to Dr. Power.
Ms. Held recommended that there be no or minimal use of trans fats or high-fructose corn syrup. By consensus, it was agreed that use of saturated fats be discouraged, and trans fats be eliminated.
Pre-Budget Discussion: Ms. Kaiser said she hoped to focus on legislation. Ms. Kaiser, Ms. Held, and Mrs. Kallfelz attended a SORICO meeting last week. Ray Seitsinger was there and discussed unfunded mandates. Ms. Kaiser noted that she reread the law, and Jamestown will not benefit next year. She presented on an easel the process and timetable for how cities and towns receive reimbursement for unfunded mandates. In essence, cities, towns, and schools submit their list of unfunded mandates to the Department of Administration; the reimbursement money is placed in the Governor’s budget for the following year; and reimbursement is sent in July. Ms. Kaiser noted that this law is not new; however, the legislature can overthrow it by a 3/5 vote. She added that the law states that mandates are to be reviewed every four years, but she was not sure this was being done. She said that the way the bill is written, schools may have to work with cities and towns to get their unfunded mandates together. Ms. Kaiser thought Jamestown should have their list of unfunded mandates in time for the legislative meeting in South County on January 29. Dr. Power suggested that if the Department of Administration identifies an approved list of mandates, Jamestown can examine the list and show costs. Ms. Kaiser asked if administration could call to find out how to get this report for the Department of Administration.
Ms. Kaiser brought up the issue of the representative fee that teachers who are not members of the union must pay. She thought the choice regarding representative fee should not be legislated. Mrs. Kallfelz thought it was fairly unusual to have this fee legislated. Ms. Kaiser noted that Massachusetts has legislation on this fee. She will call them to see what is in their law.
Ms. Kaiser suggested that Jamestown support Pawtucket’s legislative efforts toward having the state pick up the difference for special education outplacement, and she thought it would be nice to get Theresa Paiva-Weed involved. She explained that Pawtucket has 5-6 suggestions, some of which concern group homes, out-placement tuitions, and transportation. Dr. Power added that some states handle transportation differently and suggested that legislators look at the use of smaller vehicles. Ms. Kaiser noted that the Paiva-Weed bill concerns a statewide transportation system handled by RIPTA and billed back to districts.
Ms. Kaiser explained that the new IDEA law makes the district responsible for special education evaluation for all students who attend non-public schools in EP, regardless of their home community. The legislation would require the home community to maintain this responsibility. Ms. Pinto described this process and noted that the state regulations are in direct conflict with the federal law. She thought that new Rhode Island regulation on special education would be out in January. There will be a period for public comment, and districts can submit their comments. Ms. Pinto further described the process. She suggested that there may be some backsliding on the state end.
Ms. Kaiser suggested that the School Committee solicit suggestions from staff regarding potential savings. Mrs. Kallfelz thought that SITs could also be asked. She thought that elimination of a bus last year came at the suggestion of a parent. Mrs. Alamanzor said she had heard a suggestion today regarding boys’ and girls’ basketball teams; if both teams rode the bus together from one school to another and played back-to-back games, transportation could be cut to one round-trip bus ride rather than two.
Ms. Kaiser suggested that a general email be sent to parents to elicit their suggestions for potential savings. Mrs. Kallfelz will draft the letter and send it to School Committee members for comments. Mrs. Alamanzor suggested that a letter be sent to the teaching staff in time for their January meeting. Dr. Power recommended that comments be anonymous. Mrs. Kallfelz suggested that the letter to the teaching staff include information about the decease in the 5.5% cap as a way of explaining why comments regarding potential savings are being requested.
Ms. Held questioned when the draft budget would be ready. Ms. Kaiser explained that the School Committee voted on the budget last year at the first meeting in February. Dr. Power said the process would follow the same timetable as it did last year. He added that administration is already working on the budget. Mr. Brennan asked whether administration would suggest areas for changes. Dr. Power said that he wanted both the School Committee and administration to give suggestions.
Ms. Held questioned whether there would be six instructional groups in Grades 7-8 next year and suggested that this be discussed. Mrs. Alamanzor said there will be six instructional groups next year. Mrs. Kallfelz suggested that it would be good to have a budget workshop. Ms. Kaiser suggested that budget be discussed at the workshop in January. Dr. Power requested that School Committee members send their priority budget areas to him by email.
Mrs. Kallfelz commented that, in general, Jamestown is not one of the school committees that go into the budget process with a sense of dread. Although people don’t always agree, the committee works very well together.
Public Forum: None.
Adjourned: Mrs. Kallfelz moved and Mr. Brennan seconded a motion to adjourn the meeting at 7:55 p.m. So moved.
THE AFOREMENTIONED MINUTES ARE HEREBY APPROVED:
Chairperson, Jamestown School Committee Date