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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 Meeting: August 26, 2004


• Cara McDermott Fasy for achieving National Board Certification.


Letters received:

• From Faith Krause thanking the custodians for their efforts in getting the schools ready for the new year.

• From North Kingstown School Department, the Principal’s Honor Roll.

• From the Tree Warden, on tree removal on school/town property.  Superintendent Kathy Sipala informed the school committee that the dead trees lining the path connecting the two schools will be removed before school resumes to allow safe passage.  The question of town-school responsibility for removal of the property’s other dead trees will be placed on the agenda for the October 7 joint Town Council-School Committee meeting.

• From the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council, an invitation for the superintendent and school committee chair to attend the RIPEC annual meeting in October.

• From the Department of Education, a copy of the transportation report prepared for the RI General Assembly.

• From SORICO, an announcement of a September 20 Key Work of School Boards meeting.

• From RI Healthy Schools Coalition, an announcement of the 3rd offering in the breakfast series, “RI Schools – Making the Connection: Eat Healthy, Get Active, Score High.”  Ms. Kaiser noted the publication in 02835 of 7th grader Alice Toll’s essay urging support of Representative Joseph McNamara’s bill to ban the sale of soda and high-fat snacks in elementary and middle schools.

Consent Agenda:  The committee approved the minutes of July 8 and 16; payment of bills; and the appointments of Pamela Mothon as teacher support team chair at Melrose; Kelly Speck as cross country coach at Lawn; and Najih Lazar as soccer coach at Lawn.

Old Business

Third Reading of Policy “Use of School Buildings by Non-School Based Organizations”:  The committee approved the policy by unanimous vote.

Second Reading of “Formulation of Policies, Maintenance in Policy Manual”:  The committee approved the policy by unanimous vote.  Mr. Brennan requested the removal from the policy handbook of policies that are out-of-date or rendered obsolete by the approval of new policies.

Second Reading of “Bullying”:  The committee omitted a section on taskforce formation after deciding that this should be an administrative decision rather than a policy stipulation.  Discussion of this policy will continue at the next business meeting.  Mrs. Sipala informed the committee that language on bullying prevention programs has been added to the strategic plan.  The PTO will support the schools’ anti-bullying effort by sponsoring “Bully-Free is the Choice for Me” workshops for both schools on September 30.

New Business

Discussion of Bus Monitors Accretion into JESPA:  Mrs. Sipala reported on the July 16 hearing at the State Board of Labor.  In response to committee concerns about accreting employees who work less than 20 hours/week, Ms. Kaiser shared the definition of “municipal employees” as established by RI General Law 28-9.4-2.  The “less than 20 hours per week” exclusion applies only to employees not under direct management of a municipal employer (the school committee).  The school solicitor has has recommended changes to the language proposed by the union.  The school committee authorized Mrs. Sipala to continue negotiations with the union.

School Committee Goals, Review 2003/2004: The committee scheduled an October 15 retreat to review committee 2003/04 goals and set goals for the upcoming year.

School Committee Calendar Adoption: The committee approved the meeting schedule for the upcoming year.

Information and Proposals:   

Superintendent’s Report:  The Superintendent shared the latest enrollment report and a summary sheet on state aid (which changed little from last year’s total -- the figure used for the current school budget).  Mrs. Sipala also reported that the reputation of the district’s special education program is attracting families with special needs children to the island, affecting the number/and severity of special needs at the two schools.  Mrs. Sipala shared a request by Director of Pupil Services Beth Pinto for an additional teacher at Lawn to meet the needs of several new special education students and also the needs of students not reading at grade level (as per new state regulations on literacy).  This special education/reading position can be funded with monies budgeted for tuition in 2004/2005.  Ms. Kaiser asked that the need for this position be reassessed at the end of the year (i.e., that the position receive reduction-in-force notification in March pending evaluation of need).  Mr. Brennan commented that funding for this position in the next budget will necessitate cuts in other areas.    Mrs. Sipala reported on the joint efforts of representatives of the Recreation Department, school, library, Substance Abuse Prevention Taskforce, Jamestown Educational Foundation, and senior citizens in preparing a proposal for a Rhode Island Foundation Youth Opportunities grant to provide programs and a meeting place for Jamestown youth ages 11-15.    Mrs. Sipala attended the August 6 Open Government Summit, where she learned of the need to provide recusal forms for use by committee members. 

Committee Reports:

Melrose School Improvement Team: SIT welcomes two new co-chairs, Jane Wright and Sally Schott.  Melrose Principal Kathy Almanzor provided a summary of SIT activity, which has focused on expanding the school-community partnership and supporting differentiated instruction.

Lawn School Improvement Team: No meeting. 

SELAC: No meeting. 

Facilities Committee:  No meeting.   The facilities committee and school committee will tour the buildings together.  A tentative date, September 29 at 7 Lawn, was set.

North Kingstown:  Special Ed Director Dr. McGregor presented a report on new initiatives at NK to the North Kingstown School Committee.

SORICO:  No report.

High School Review Committee:  The review committee is still waiting for responses from several principals.  The committee anticipates presenting its report to the school committee in October.


The next work session of the Jamestown School Committee will be on September 9. The next business will be on September 23.   All meetings are held at 7 p.m. in the Melrose Multi-Purpose Room.