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School Committee Action Notes

" SCAN ," issued by the Superintendent's Office in conjunction with the School Committee, is designed to inform staff members and interested others of matters discussed and actions taken by the Jamestown School Committee at its most recent meeting. SCAN does not represent meeting minutes.

Jamestown School Committee and Town Council Work Session: Oct. 6, 2005

Continuing Discussion: Reorganization, Restructuring, Shared Services

Explanation of SORICO Feasibility Study: Chair Cathy Kaiser and Superintendent Katherine Sipala provided an update on the shared services feasibility study being conducted by a task force whose membership includes John Cronin, CEO RIMES (RI Manufacturing Extension Services); Paul Rennick, EASTCONN (a Connecticut collaborative); Vernon Bliven, Senior V.P. Human Resources, Washington Trust; Dr. Roy Seitsinger, Superintendent, Exeter-West Greenwich; Don Nester, Project Manager, RIMES; Lizann Gibson, Executive Director, SORICO (Southern Rhode Island Collaborative); Robert Walsh, Executive Director, National Education Association RI; Gary Sasse, Executive Director RIPEC (Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council); Dennis Stark, President, University Club, URI; Patrick Durney, URI intern representing the Washington County Regional Planning Council. The school committees of all nine South County school districts have endorsed a resolution that supports the need for this study. Superintendents of the nine districts have helped define the study's scope and focus. Initially the study will explore regional contracting for products and services including: energy, supplies, private school textbooks, food services, transportation, insurance, and facilities maintenance. School business managers from the nine districts met at SORICO on Oct. 7 to provide input on the study and town managers will meet on Oct. 27.

Sharing of School Committee Goals and Topics for Upcoming Workshops : The school committee has scheduled work sessions devoted to a district-level discussion of restructuring and reorganization. On November 3, the committee will look at middle school programming; class size; and support services. The Dec. 1 session will focus on the administrative structure district-wide and at Lawn School. Discussion of all topics will be ongoing. The January 5 work session will include an analysis of the possible impact of these discussions on the 2006/07 budget. Possible longer-term (multi-year) discussion areas include regionalizing with another district, evaluating a K-8 model, and re-locating grades 6, 7 and 8 off-island.

Possible Town/School Shared Projects : The school committee and town council discussed the following areas of mutual concern:

Grounds and Recreational Fields, including Bicycle and Baseball Committee requests : Members of the baseball and soccer associations raised questions about oversight of the school/town fields. Matt Bolles, Parks and Recreation Director, shared concerns about charges for custodial overtime for use of the gym and asked the school committee to review its policy on the use of that facility. He also asked the school department to use its custodial staff to do the pre-season preparation of the field used by the middle school interscholastic baseball team. During the summer, the school facilities committee wrote a letter outlining its concerns about the town's upkeep of the school grounds and fields and what the committee termed a general pattern of neglect. The facilities committee asked the school committee and town council to address this problem, which is compounded by the fact that no one body is directly charged with overseeing coordination of these areas. Similarly, no one body is charged with responding to the concerns of community groups using the fields or groups such as Rolling Agenda, which is seeking cooperative efforts to improve surrounding roadways. The school committee and town council each designated two representatives to work with school and town administration and interested members of the local sports associations to define the problems and make recommendations for a timely resolution. Bill Kelly and Barbara Szepatowski will represent the council; Julie Kallfelz and Bucky Brennan will represent the school committee.

Shared Building Maintenance: Acting on an earlier suggestion of Councilman Bill Kelly, the school committee proposed that the town and school department explore whether opportunities exist to save money and/or improve maintenance by sharing custodial services. Currently the town out-sources custodial maintenance of its buildings, while the school employs a custodial staff. The school committee and town council asked the school's Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds, Lew Kitts, to work with Acting Town Administrator Tom Tighe to assess the possibilities.

Crossing Guard at Four Corners: Superintendent Sipala reported that the school has tried unsuccessfully to fill the position of crossing guard at Four Corners (a position funded by the town). The school committee and town council agreed that the current policy of encouraging children to cross at Cumberland Farms (where there is a crossing guard) should be continued.

Town Hall at Lawn School: The school committee had previously suggested to the town administrator that a second floor be added to a portion of Lawn Avenue School to accommodate a new Town Hall. The school committee now repeated the proposal since it had not at that time been discussed by the town council. The council reported that the building and facilities committee had considered Lawn as a possible site and that further investigation would delay completion of the new facility.

The next business meeting of the Jamestown School Committee will be on October 20 at 7 p.m. in the library at Lawn Avenue School.