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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: Mar. 16, 2006


Letters received :

From 8 th graders Thomas Monroe and Clay McKenna, proposing that vitamin water be sold during school lunches.

From Sharon Schubert, Co-chair of North Kingstown SELAC (Special Education Local Advisory Committee), inquiring about opportunities to share special education services.

From Daniel Burns, Jr., Chair, West Warwick School Committee, asking for statements of support for two bills (federal) that would increase the allowable tax deduction for public school teachers.

From Marc Gagnon, Account Manager for Blue Cross Blue Shield, announcing a 6.4% rate adjustment for the July 2006 renewal and offering to meet with the district to identify cost-cutting measures.

From Rhode Island Association of School Committees (RIASC), announcing a legislative workshop on March 25.

From Tim Duffy, Executive Director, RIASC, providing the Supreme Court ruling on the Johnston School District's suit to retain independent counsel.

From Angela Teixeira, RI Department of Education, announcing regional rollout sessions to prepare for the Commissioner's review of district graduation requirements.

From Liz Dolan, member of the North Kingstown Charter Review Commission, asking for input concerning a possible change in the school committee term. Mr. Brennan will reply for the committee, suggesting that NK consider reducing the number of committee members from seven to five to facilitate concensus-building.

Letters sent :

By Attorney Michael T. Eskey, representing the school department, to the Department of Labor and Training, concerning upcoming union negotiations.

Consent Agenda : The committee approved the minutes of February 27; payment of bills; and the appointment of Glenn Hopkins as Lawn baseball coach. The committee also accepted Mary Lou Dudley's notification of intent to retire at the end of the school year; and discussed and approved Sara Sweetman's request to participate in the GEMS-NET Teacher-in-Residence program.

Old Business

Discussion of the Presentation of the School Budget to the Town Council : The committee and superintendent discussed the format of the March 21 budget presentation.

Third Reading of the Policy on Family Vacations : The committee approved the policy by unanimous vote.

New Business

Calendars : The committee approved the 2006/2007 school calendar and the school committee meeting schedule for 2007.

Resolutions : The committee endorsed a resolution by member school committees in the Southern Rhode Island Educational Collaborative (SORICO) proposing that out-of-district transportation be limited to within district boundaries or that Region 4 be divided into two regions. The committee did not endorse a resolution on education funding because of wording that could open the door to litigation to require affluent communities to subsidize education in other communities. The committee also considered a resolution to ask the legislature to repeal state laws on special education laws that are more restrictive than federal laws. The committee will endorse the resolution and distribute it to other school committees once a list of the (more restrictive) laws has been distributed by David Kane of the Rhode Island Technical Assistance Project.

Information and Proposals:

The superintendent shared the latest enrollment figures with the committee.

Discussion of Survey Format for Lawn School Future, Principalship and Plan for Excellence : The committee discussed the scope and audience of the planned survey on the future of Lawn School. The committee agreed that changes in the structure of the middle school, in any, would not be implemented for several years, and that building-level leadership at Lawn School is a priority. Superintendent Sipala will contact potential providers about creating a survey to be sent to the extended school community to gauge feelings about where/how Lawn students would be best served. Julie Kallfelz and Julia Held will serve as an advisory subcommittee on this initiative. The committee also agreed on the need to identify, measure and promote excellence at Lawn School.

Committee Reports:

Melrose School Improvement Team : Melrose SIT is planning activities for Hunger Awareness Week (April 3-11) to allow students to contribute to their community. The Feinstein Foundation will match students' food donations with a monetary contribution to St. Mark's Food Pantry.

Lawn School Improvement Team : Lawn SIT discussed Jamestown Day -- a day of community-oriented activities; in addition, the group discussed working with the Melrose SIT to establish common vocabulary for behavior and discipline.

SELAC : The group reviewed highlights of Education Awareness Day and set a date, March 10, for next year's event. In addition, the group is revamping its website; and will form a subcommittee to identify grant-writing opportunities.

Facilities Committee : No meeting.

North Kingstown High School : Mr. Brennan gave a powerpoint presentation on Lawn Avenue School at the NK School Committee meeting to show how the facility could accommodate 125 students during construction at Wickford Middle School or longer term.

Legislative : Ms. Kaiser testified at the State House in support of a RIASC bill to broaden the (management) powers of school committees. Superintendent Sipala and Ms. Kaiser testified on out-of-district transportation before the Joint Committee on Education Funding.

Wellness : The Health and Wellness Committee discussed the lunch program and will research related statutes.

Narragansett/Jamestown Shared Services : The subcommittee will meet on April 4.

The Town Council Budget Hearing on the school budget will be held on March 21 at 6 p.m. at the Jamestown Philomenian Library. The next work session of the Jamestown School Committee will be on April 6. The April business meeting will be on the 27th. All meetings are held at 7 p.m. in the Lawn Avenue School Library.