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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: March 17, 2005


Letters received :

• From Councilman Guy Settipane, asking the school committee to consider a proposed town resolution opposing changes to the rules of practice at the Rhode Island House of Representatives.

Consent Agenda : The committee approved the minutes of February 17 and March 3; and payment of bills.

Old Business

Continuation of Discussion on “Reorganization, Not Regionalization” : Superintendent Katherine Sipala reported that she had spoken with the Town Administrator about a possible sharing of facilities, but that currently he is exploring town hall options that involve new construction. Mrs. Sipala also reported that she introduced the question of shared services at the monthly superintendents' meeting. While small districts such as Narragansett and Exeter-West Greenwich were more interested than the larger districts, all agreed that the concept should be explored. The group asked the Southern Rhode Island Collaborative (SORICO) to organize a study group to examine the feasibility of regional purchased services in special education. In addition, the superintendents will invite Louie Bitar, the part-time superintendent of Little Compton, to share with them how a part-time administrative tier works. The school committee continued the discussion begun at the March 3 work session, sharing feedback from the community; emphasizing that this exploration is a multi-year process; and agreeing that no idea should be ruled out at this stage. As the group investigates the feasibility of shared services, it will move other ideas to a “parking lot” for future discussion. Ms. Kaiser will write a letter to the chairs and superintendents of South County districts asking them to place the topic of shared services on their meeting agendas.

Information and Proposals:

Director of Pupil Services Beth Pinto presented the committee with a new format for its policy manual. Additionally, she flagged all policies that relate to “Healthy Schools/Healthy Kids” and will bring a list of these topics to the next meeting to be prioritized.

Superintendent's Report : The premium increases reported by Blue Cross and Delta Dental are lower than expected, resulting in a line item reduction of $19,600 in the proposed 2005-06 budget. Also, the superintendent met with Bob Jenckes of First Student to identify bus routes that can be combined/eliminated for additional savings. Ms. Sipala asked for the committee's input on the format for the March 22 budget presentation to the town council. The committee also discussed Ms. Pinto's and Melrose Principal Kathy Almanzor's request for an indication on whether or not to proceed with the investigation of a universal pre-school program in Jamestown. The committee asked the administrative team to provide additional information on potential cost versus benefit.

Committee Reports:

Melrose School Improvement Team : Melrose SIT continues its work on a school curriculum guide and expects to have a draft completed by June. The group also discussed involving SIT members in interviewing parents of children enrolling in private school as well as parents of children choosing to enroll in the Jamestown Schools.

Lawn School Improvement Team : Lawn SIT continues to meet with teachers to work on action plans and will follow the lead of the Melrose SIT in producing a curriculum guide. The group also reviewed the 2004 SALT data and discussed the need to identify new volunteers to analyze future SALT data.

SELAC : Mr. Filkins was unable to attend the meeting, but commended the group on an outstanding Education Awareness Day.

Facilities Committee : No report.

SORICO : Ms. Kaiser attended the March 12 Southern Rhode Island task force meeting and brought back for the committee's consideration resolutions on pension benefit reform, the charter school funding formula, scope of bargaining, out-of-district transportation and school finance reform. A vote will be taken at the April 7 meeting.

Legislative : Ms. Kaiser testified before the Senate Finance Committee in support of Senator Teresa Paiva-Weed's bill requiring that Jamestown Schools be reimbursed for the cost of Newport Bridge bus tokens used in transporting special education and vocational students to school/out-of-district programs.

RIASC : Ms. Kallfelz reported on the legislative workshop organized by the Rhode Island Association of School Committees . The group reviewed upcoming legislation and Gary Sasse of the Rhode Island Public Expenditures Council presented that group's pension system reform proposal.

The budget presentation to the Jamestown Town Council will be on March 22 at 6 p.m. at the Jamestown Philomenian Library. The next business meeting of the Jamestown School Committee will be on April 7. All meetings are held at 7 p.m. in the Melrose Multi-Purpose Room.