JAMESTOWN SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEETING
Lawn Avenue School
August 21, 2008
Present: Catherine Kaiser, Chairperson
Present: Dr. Marcia Lukon, Superintendent
Dr. Robert Fricklas, Director of Pupil Services
Maria Alfred, Business Manager
Jane Littlefield, Interim Business Manager
Kathleen Alamanzor, Principal
Carole Melucci, Principal
Lewis Kitts, Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds
Michael White, Town Council Liaison
Ms. Kaiser reported that the School Committee was returning to Open Session following an Executive Session on July 10, 2008 pursuant to RIGL 42-46-5, Exception 2, Contract Negotiations. She explained that two votes were taken 1) to amend the contracts of the Superintendent and 2) to amend the contract of the Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds. Both votes were unanimous.
Call to Order: Ms. Kaiser called the general meeting to order at 7:10 p.m. and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Ms. Kaiser called the Roll Call.
Members present: Kaiser, Brennan, Held, Whitehouse.
Members absent: Kallfelz.
Public Forum: None.
Consent Agenda: Mr. Brennan asked to exempt Minutes of June 5, 2008 and all Payment of Bills.
Mr. Brennan moved and Ms. Held seconded a motion to approve Personnel. All approved. So moved.
Dr. Lukon explained that this vote related to a request from Sara Sweetman for a Leave of Absence. She will be leaving GEMSNet to work for University of Rhode Island. Ms. Kaiser added that the vote was to deny Sara Sweetman’s request for Leave of Absence.
Mr. Brennan asked Mr. Whitehouse why he voted No on the issue of teacher contracts at the June 5 meeting. Mr. Whitehouse said his vote was sound and well thought out, and he would discuss it with Mr. Brennan after the meeting.
Mr. Brennan questioned several bills, including those with dates of June 24, July 5, and July 8. Mrs. Alfred explained the amounts were for assistive technology equipment, networking upgrades, and debit card fees that were charged to employees at the beginning of the year.
Mr. Brennan moved and Ms. Held seconded a motion to approve Payment of Bills for June 24, June 16, July 2, July 8 (two), July 15 (two), and July 22 (two). All approved. So moved.
Mr. Brennan moved and Ms. Held seconded a motion to approve Minutes of June 5, June 18, and July 8. All approved. So moved.
Mr. Brennan referred to an article in the paper today about North Kingstown and special education students taking state exams. He asked whether Dr. Lukon had been in touch with North Kingstown about special education collaboration with Jamestown. Dr. Lukon explained that North Kingstown’s rank was low because their out-placed students did not take state tests so they got zeros. She added that she attempted to call North Kingstown’s Superintendent last week. Ms. Kaiser suggested that it may be appropriate for Dr. Fricklas to contact their Special Education Director; he will do so.
Ms. Kaiser received several pieces of correspondence: 1) a letter from Mrs. Alfred stating her intention to retire as of December 26, 2008; 2) a letter from the DOE approving Jamestown’s food service; 3) an email from Tim Duffy regarding a management rights decision in which the Superintendent and School Committee do not have the right to give up managerial decisions; 4) the SELAC Annual Report and 5) School Committee members’ pictures taken at North Kingstown’s graduation.
Mr. Whitehouse reported that he was in touch with Bruce Long to questions regarding the appropriateness of a legislative meeting on House Bill 8385, the Public Education Emergency Relief Act. He also contacted the Attorney General’s office and confirmed that the General Assembly is exempt from the Open Meetings Law. Ms. Kaiser added that this also gives them the right not to publish an agenda so they can address bills at the last minute.
Food Service Update and Food Service Financial Report 2007-08: Mrs. Alfred presented data that showed last year’s food service cost was $152,681.93 and revenue was $122,066.85. To break even, the average cost of meals would have had to be $4.25; however meals cost $3.00 at Lawn and $2.00 at Melrose. Ms. Kaiser added that Jamestown changed food service in the middle of the year. If North Kingstown’s cost and the cost of personnel were removed from the total, the average cost of meals would have had to be $3.18. She said that the subcommittee discussed the possibility of offering premium items at a higher cost. She added that the goal was not to save money but not to spend more for the new food service. Dr. Lukon explained that she notified JESPA that the hours for the cook’s assistant were decreased from five to three hours per day.
The committee discussed whether to raise costs. Dr. Lukon explained that the district is moving ahead with the point-of-sale system. She suggested that the committee look at food service in September. At that time, information will be sent to parents to tell them about how to place money in students’ food accounts. The consensus of the committee is that two options be discussed with Sodexho: 1) to offer premium items like panini at higher cost, and 2) to offer healthier pizza.
Mr. Brennan said that data show increased meals were sold. Dr. Lukon explained that it is hard to compare years because the present figures do not take into account a la carte meals from last year. Dr. Lukon added that the cost of free breakfast was extremely expensive. The plan for this year is to streamline the program by having bag breakfasts done the night before and refrigerating them. Ms. Kaiser thanked Mrs. Alfred and Ms. Littlefield for their assistance in calculating these figures.
August Retreat Update: Ms. Kaiser reported that this information was published in the Jamestown Press.
Model Schools Update: Dr. Lukon explained that the district is moving ahead with plans for the Model Schools program. The concept of models schools will be introduced to the staff by sharing a video on the program and by informing teachers that the district is moving ahead with rigor and relevancy. The professional development day on September 2 will feature a speaker who will introduce expectations for the program about how to help good schools become great ones. Dr. Lukon invited School Committee members to attend the professional development day.
Ms. Held suggested that the Model Schools Program be introduced to the School Committee at a workshop. Mr. Whitehouse suggested that the program be presented for both the Committee and for parents in order to show the video and to explain how the program fits for Jamestown. This will be scheduled for the September 4 workshop. Ms. Held suggested that parents and Town Council be invited to the workshop. Dr. Lukon said she will be talking with the SITs, PTO, and others, to discuss the program and competitive education.
Dr. Lukon explained that Jamestown’s application for the Successful Practices Network has been accepted. Part of the program is that the district must have a successful practice to share. A mentor has already been scheduled for a site visit. Dr. Lukon said the district’s goal is to be one of the schools that is highlighted at the annual conference. Mr. Whitehouse explained that Jamestown teachers will have access to the materials that are part of the best practices of what the 600 school have already done. Dr. Lukon added that access includes lessons, class materials, and an online course for earning graduate credit. Marilyn Hostetler has been assigned as the professional development coordinator. This program will address SALT recommendations, NECAP scores, and strategic planning.
Mr. Brennan asked about the virtual high school. Dr. Lukon explained that the district is still participating in this program. Courses are tough.
Superintendent Contract Renewal: Ms. Kaiser reported that the Superintendent’s contract had two changes: 1) to change the number of days from 90 to 110, with the possibility of increasing to 120 days if needed; and 2) to set the annual increase at 3.5%.
Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds Contract Renewal: Ms. Kaiser reported that, when the town brought salaries to the state standard, it included Mr. Kitts’ salary. To bring Mr. Kitts’ salary to almost the state standard, his salary increase for July 8, 2008-July 1, 2009 will be 16.6%.
Recommended Building Use Fee Schedule, 2008-09: Dr. Lukon explained that the Building Use Policy was approved last spring. She asked Mr. Kitts to recommend a fee schedule. Mr. Kitts explained that fees are for for-profit groups that want to rent the building. He checked with other communities to determine their fees. Costs included wear-and-tear on the buildings, fuel, lighting and custodial care. Ms. Kaiser asked for an example of a for-profit organization, and Mr. Kitts answered that the Art Association rents the buildings for their shows. Last year’s fee was $500, and the new fee schedule would double this amount. He added that the fees cover direct costs for use. Mr. Kitts said he would a recommend fee for a specific building use, and the School Committee could reduce the fee if necessary. Mr. Whitehouse added that the fees are not for local non-profit organizations. Mr. Brennan asked why the fee for Melrose is more per month than for Lawn. Mr. Kitts explained that there are costs for air conditioning, pneumatic system, etc., and there is more use of this building at night. Ms. Kaiser suggested that wording be modified to show that the fees are intended for for-profit groups.
Ms. Held moved and Mr. Whitehouse seconded for discussion that the Building Use Policy’s Building Use Fee Schedule be approved for 2008-09. Mr. Whitehouse asked about whether insurance was calculated into the cost, and Dr. Lukon said it was included. All approved. So moved.
Information & Proposals:
Superintendent’s Report : Dr. Lukon reported on a number of items. 1) First Grade has been reduced by one class. The teacher who was eliminated has been notified. 2) There are three ways that bus use will be reduced this year: a) Bus #5 will be eliminated for elementary and middle school children, and students will be dispersed to other buses; b) North Kingstown’s two buses will be combined on Bus #2, because upper-level students frequently drive or carpool to school; and c) on-island late bus use is being evaluated. Mrs. Alamanzor explained that a paper will be sent to parents to inform them that there will be no late bus on Monday. Mr. Whitehouse suggested that the late bus be cut and run as a pilot program; the bus could be reinstated if needed. Dr. Lukon explained that very few elementary and middle school have late buses. Lisa Carlisle commented that, as a parent, she would rather see a bus cut instead of a teacher.
3) Jamestown received the First Student Award for achieving the standard performance goal of “zero children left, employee injuries and collisions”. 4) The district received a grant for $23,615 in order to implement the Chart of Accounts system. 5) Staffing of the Business Office is being planned and transition is taking place. Mrs. Alfred and Ms. Littlefield are working on a number of projects before Mrs. Alfred retires in December. Dr. Lukon asked Bruce Keiser to develop a proposal for sharing business services or personnel between town and school. Town staff will analyze this and Mr. Keiser will call the school next week. If the plan is not workable this year, then Dr. Lukon wants Mr. Keiser to present their plan at a workshop. 6) Because of the earthquake, the Chinese will delay their visit to Jamestown as part of the China Exchange Initiative. Jamestown is scheduled to visit China in April 2009, and this visit will not be affected. The China Exchange Initiative is providing this opportunity.
7) The Commissioner posted Jamestown’s school and district report cards. Both schools met targets and had “adequate yearly progress” but neither were designated as a “commended school”. Committee members discussed the ramifications of Jamestown’s high scores vis a vis the state average and why the school was not commended. Mrs. Alamanzor explained that the target was raised this year, but it will stay the same for the next two years. 8) Virginia Saccome, the new Executive Director of the Collaborative, will visit to discuss what the Collaborative can do for Jamestown . 9) The district is moving ahead with the food service point-of-sale system. 10) The buildings have been readied for school and are shining.
Principals’ Report: Mrs. Alamanzor and Ms. Melucci reported on a number of items. 1) Sixteen teachers attended the Dunn Institute’s Project Read three-day training in South Kingstown. 2) The English/Language Arts committee has worked all summer; they attended this institute. The curriculum guideline map is done and now the committee is looking at reading. 3) Mrs. Alamanzor and Ms. Melucci attended the Building Leadership Capacity Workshop which taught effective ways to implement Response to Intervention. 4) The School Information Guide has been updated for parents and students. The guide will be distributed at the next meeting. Mrs. Alamanzor explained that the first page of the guide is a Code of Conduct page; it must be signed by parents and students. 5) Current enrollment figures for both schools were presented. 6) Curriculum Guides for Melrose and for Lawn Schools have been updated.
Director of Student Services Report: Dr. Fricklas reported on a number of issues. 1) Dr. Fricklas presented highlights of the Extended School Year and Summer Literacy and Numeracy Camp 2008. All but two students were able to maintain or gain on IEPs. 2) Summer 2008 Computing Institute at URI was exciting to do. Three Jamestown students participated. Dr. Fricklas will look for funding from two agencies so that this program can be continued in the future. 3) Students from Pathways started their community-based learning project at Jamestown Community Farm last month. This will be expanded as the school year begins.
4) There are new special education regulations in Rhode Island as of July 1, 2008: a) the 230-day requirement has been eliminated. b) Speech and language services for students over age 9 will no longer be standalone classes. Students will receive assistance in a Reading-Recovery-type format. c) There is a new format for the IEP document and process. Staff from RITAP and the Sherlock Center will come to Jamestown to provide training in September. d) The five-year RIDE School Support System (monitoring) is running. Dr. Fricklas explained the process of reviewing records, looking at data, visiting the school writing a draft report, and writing a corrective action report. This system will assess Jamestown’s compliance with 20 RIDE state performance plan indicators and will include certification. Dr. Fricklas explained some of the ramifications of reducing the number of students with “other health impaired” conditions such as attention problems. He added that Rhode Island has the highest proportionality in the nation on learning disabilities. The top indicator is to reduce this proportionality. The certification person will look at Jamestown’s files to assure that certain documents are being maintained.
Director of Buildings and Grounds Report: Mr. Kitts summarized renovations completed in the schools this summer. Melrose School renovations included seals on the roof, re-carpeting of eleven rooms, re-tiling of four rooms, energy-efficient T8 fluorescent lights in the Multipurpose Room, and a new dry chemical fire suppression system in the kitchen. Lawn School Renovations included re-carpeting of the Music Room, completion of the fire alarm upgrade by Coastal, re-carpeting of eight rooms, re-tiling of four rooms, energy-efficient T8 fluorescent lights in the gym, and a new dry chemical fire suppression system in the kitchen. Mr. Kitts explained that 3000 32-watt fluorescent bulbs were replaced by 25-watt “ecologic” fluorescent bulbs, for a 22.5% savings; he discussed the savings in terms of both kilowatt hours and cost, He also explained that carpeting was done by school staff and would not have to be done again for seven years. Mr. Kitts encouraged School Committee members to walk through the gym to see the difference in the lighting. Lights in the gym and Multipurpose Room are now on timers.
SIT/Melrose : Ms. Melucci reported that she met with the Chairs of the SITs to discuss what to do in the coming year. Mrs. Alamanzor added that the district is going to put student hand prints on 8x8 plaques and hang them on the walls. She said this was important for the code of conduct.
SIT/Lawn: Mrs. Alamanzor announced the names of the Co-Chairs for next year.
SELAC: Ms. Held reported that there will be a meeting next week.
Facilities Committee: None.
North Kingstown School Committee: None.
SORICO: Dr. Lukon reported that there will be a meeting next week.
Legislative: Ms. Kaiser reported that she attended the Open Government Summit.
Policy: Ms. Held reported that the committee met today to prioritize policies for revision.
Public Forum: None.
Adjourned: Mr. Brennan moved and Ms. Held seconded a motion to adjourn the meeting at 9:15 p.m. All approved. So moved.
THE AFOREMENTIONED MINUTES ARE HEREBY APPROVED:
Chairperson, Jamestown School Committee Date