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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 Business Meeting: February 17, 2005


Letters received :

• From Senator Paul Fogarty, asking for support for Senate Bill 2005S, the Rhode Island student investment initiative.

• From North Kingstown High School, the list of students on the honor roll for the first quarter.

* From the Lawn Avenue School Improvement Team, expressing concerns for the still-developing proposal for the 6 th grade.

Consent Agenda : The committee approved the minutes of January 13 and 20, and February 3; payment of bills; and the appointments of Jane Doyle as preschool teacher assistant; Joseph Ucci as baseball coach; and Nicholas Alfred as track and field coach. The committee also approved maternity (family) leaves for Jennifer Francis and Eric Bush.

Old Business

Discussion and Vote on the School Budget 2005-2006 : Superintendent Katherine Sipala reviewed the proposal received from North Kingstown for the purchase of technology services. Mrs. Sipala and tech staff member Samira Hakki will meet with NK to discuss the individual services offered. Mrs. Sipala recommended additional budget adjustments resulting in a $100,979 decrease in the budget. The adjustments include eliminating one on-island bus; reducing the line item for instructional supplies by 20%; reducing the school psychologist position to a .6 employee; reducing one full-time physical education teacher to a .6 position; closing one sixth grade classroom; and replacing a departing teacher with an individual at a lower salary step. The committee discussed the adjustments and additional suggestions by Mr. Brennan to combine two Melrose classrooms, outsource the psychologist position, and eliminate one of the three PE positions. The committee also discussed suggestions by Ms. Kaiser to defer until next year an expenditure for architectural vision boards addressing exterior problems at Lawn, such as parking and bus lanes and storage. Ms. Kaiser also proposed eliminating the library renovation line item in the hope that this work can be accomplished during this school year with anticipated surplus funds. Committee members expressed confidence in the plan being developed by the administration to reorganize sixth grade instructional delivery to meet the needs of students. By a vote of 4-1 (with Mr. Brennan voting no), the committee approved a budget of $10,257,737 that incorporates the superintendent's recommended adjustments and eliminates the architectural rendering and library renovation line items.

New Business

Discussion and Consideration of Resolutions on Charter Schools, State Pension and Regional Bussing :

The committee approved a motion to support a resolution drafted by the South Kingstown School Committee to seek a funding formula for charter schools that is revenue-neutral for the sending district. The committee will forward the resolution to the Jamestown Town Council for its support. The committee discussed the state pension and regional bussing resolutions that resulted from the January joint meeting of Southern Rhode Island school committees, superintendents and legislators. Discussion will continue at a future meeting, after word changes suggested by the participating districts are incorporated.

Information and Proposals:

Superintendent's Report : The superintendent shared the draft calendar for 2005-06 and the recently printed Jamestown School Department Strategic Plan pamphlet. Mrs. Sipala also informed the committee of a change in speakers for Educational Awareness Day on March 5. Clinical social worker Sharon Rust-Bottone, LICSW, will deliver the keynote speech, “Adolescence Makes No Sense.”

Committee Reports:

Melrose School Improvement Team : Melrose SIT continues its work on a school curriculum guide.

Lawn School Improvement Team : Lawn SIT continues to work on action plans and will meet again with teachers on March 7.

SELAC : The group is finalizing plans for Education Awareness Day (March 5), including the change in keynote speakers (see above). A special performance introducing the content of “The Ophelia Sessions”--innovative forums for young women--will be offered by Michele Smith.

Facilities Committee : No report.

North Kingstown : Ms. Kaiser reported on the budget meetings of the North Kingstown School Committee. One of the changes being considered is an increase in the minimum enrollment required to offer a class (from 15 to 19).

Legislative : Ms. Kaiser and Mrs. Sipala attended the January 29 taskforce meeting to address issues raised at the Jan. 10 joint legislative meeting. The taskforce is circulating two resolutions (see above) and collecting data to explore a proposal that the 2005-06 state aid increase be allocated based on number-of-teachers-per-district to help offset the pension contribution increase. The taskforce will meet again on March 12.

The next business meetings of the Jamestown School Committee will be on March 3 and 17. All meetings are held at 7 p.m. in the Melrose Multi-Purpose Room.