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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: August 25, 2005

Returning from Executive Session : The School Committee voted to approve two requests to home school.


• Ginny Perry, recognized by Superintendent Katherine Sipala for her commitment to children and her dedicated service as a 2 nd grade teacher assistant and as a continuing member of SELAC.


Letters received :

• From Peter Gingras, National Education Association (NEARI), providing a choice of hearing dates for a reduction of staff dispute.

• From the Facilities Committee, about the lack of upkeep and maintenance of school property used for recreational purposes. The committee directed the superintendent to forward the letter to the town council, accompanied by a cover letter raising the broader question of roles and responsibilities for the oversight and upkeep of the school fields and gym (afterhours).

• From Peter McWalters, Commissioner of Education, a decision on the appeal by a non-graduating high school student to participate in graduation ceremonies.

• From the Commissioner of Education, about the status of the Beacon Charter School.

• From the Commissioner of Education, about changes to Article 13 of the FY 2006 budget act.

• From the Commissioner of Education, about the use of public funds to advocate for bond referenda or other election items.

• From Arlene Petit, Town Clerk, about a change in the deadline for submission of town council agenda items.

• From the Town Clerk, a copy of material on the open meeting law.

• An announcement of the Fifth Annual Peter C. Clarke Memorial Golf Tournament, with proceeds benefiting Jamestown School and other charities.

• From Superintendent Sipala, copies of two letters from UnitedHealthcare.

Letters sent :

• From Superintendent Sipala to South County superintendents to schedule a meeting to identify opportunities to collaborate on out-of-district bus transportation.

• From Superintendent Sipala, responding to an NEARI letter about a possible contract violation.

Consent Agenda : The committee approved the minutes of July 7 and August 18; payment of bills; and the appointments of Erin Covell as grade 3 teacher, Thomas Carney as grade 7 English teacher, Carole Melucci as grade 2 special educator, Jennifer Caswell as a long term substitute (for Sara Sweetman, on leave), Sonya Bieler as grades 7/8 resource teacher assistant, Jane Doyle as teacher assistant at Melrose, Norma Gervais as grades 5/6 resource teacher assistant, and at Melrose School, Colleen MacIntyre as temporary teacher assistant, one-on-one, for diagnostic planning. The committee appointed Diane Wright as yearbook advisor and Kelly Speck as cross-country coach; accepted the resignations of Kaitlyn Downing and Ginny Perry; and approved a leave of absence request from Sara Sweetman.

Old Business

Review and Vote on the Technology Contract with North Kingstown School Department. Due to time constraints at its last meeting, the North Kingstown School Committee did not have the opportunity to review the changes proposed to the technology contract. The Jamestown School Committee authorized Superintendent Sipala to sign the contract once it is approved by North Kingstown.

New Business

Election of Chair, Vice Chair, Clerk of School Committee. The committee elected Cathy Kaiser as chair, Julie Kallfelz as vice-chair, and Jim Filkins as clerk.

Selection of Committee Assignments 2005/2006. The committee appointed Bucky Brennan as liaison to the facilities committee and to the North Kingstown School Committee; Julie Kallfelz as liaison to the Lawn Avenue school improvement team and to SORICO; Jim Filkins as liaison to the Melrose school improvement team; Julia Held as liaison to SELAC (special education local advisory committee); and Cathy Kaiser as liaison for legislative developments.

Adoption of School Committee Goals 2005/2006. The committee adopted seven goals:

•  To provide to all students a rigorous, differentiated academic program and to heighten student challenge by using tools such as Individual and Personal Literacy Plans (ILP and PLP), with particular emphasis on staff professional development.

•  To continue to support and implement District Strategic Plan goals.

•  To study regionalization, collaboration and administrative reorganization and to evaluate programs, delivery, and human resources as we address the impact of declining enrollment.

•  To develop and implement a district pubic engagement plan to include communication of the fiscal challenges the school faces.

•  To continue to investigate and implement the tenets of the “Healthy Schools/Healthy Kids” program.

•  To advocate for district interests locally, regionally, and at the state house.

•  To negotiate fair and equitable collective bargaining agreements with JTA and JESPA that are driven by a focus on student achievement.

Information and Proposals :

Superintendent's Report :

• Mrs. Sipala provided the school committee with an updated enrollment report. Enrollment K-8 is 520, which is an increase over last year's enrollment. Of the 57 new enrollments, 39 are students from military families. High school enrollment includes 15 new students, four of whom are from military families.

• Special Education Director Beth Pinto reviewed changes in federal statute.

• Mrs. Sipala reviewed changes to Article 13 of the FY 2006 budget act.

• Mrs. Sipala and Business Manager Maria Alfred reviewed the unaudited balance of $286,000 for the 16-month 2004-2005 budget. Mrs. Alfred attributed the surplus to a bus contract that came in lower than budgeted; having fewer bus monitors than budgeted; having several students leave NKHS during the school year; and receiving monies past due from Medicaid. Mr. Brennan asked the superintendent to continue to inform the committee when monies are expended above what is budgeted on line items. The committee agreed on the importance of including this discussion as a regular part of the monthly review of year-to-date figures.

Mrs. Sipala reported the receipt of a $7000 grant from Rhode Island Foundation to support additional afterschool programming.

• Mrs. Sipala invited available school committee members to attend the orientation for new families on August 30 and for teachers and staff on August 31.

Committee Reports:

Melrose School Improvement Team : No summer meeting.

Lawn School Improvement Team : No summer meeting.

SELAC : No meeting.

Facilities Committee : The committee sent a letter to the school committee expressing its concern for the lack of upkeep of the adjoining fields and related facilities. The school committee's response is detailed above, under “Correspondence.”

SORICO : No summer meeting.

North Kingstown : Ms. Kaiser reported that the start time at the high school has changed to 7:05. She recommended to the committee that it raise with the North Kingstown School Committee the question of the voting rights of the Jamestown representative. She also reported that NK Food Services (provider of Jamestown food services) ended the year with a deficit and will raise lunch prices. Mrs. Kaiser raised the point that (unhealthy) snack offerings are the lunch items with the highest profit margin and she asked the committee to consider putting on a future agenda alternative options for the lunch program. Accordingly, the committee discussed the merits of limiting the upcoming food services contract to one year rather than two.

The next work session of the Jamestown School Committee will be on September 8; the next business meeting will be on September 22. The meeting on the 22 nd will be held in the Lawn Avenue School Library. All other meetings are held at 7 p.m. in the Melrose Multi-Purpose Room.