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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: September 22, 2005

Executive Session Vote

• The School Committee approved a home schooling request.


Letters received :

• From the Joint Committee to Establish a Permanent Education Foundation Aid Formula for Rhode Island seeking written testimony on school finance “adequacy.” From Superintendent Kathy Sipala, copies of testimony submitted by Chair Kaiser for Jamestown and by Superintendent Robert Hicks (South Kingstown) for the Superintendents' Association.

• From Director of Pupil Services Beth Pinto, confirming that, per the school committee's 2005-06 goals, the feasibility of a pre-school program expansion will not be evaluated at this time due to economic constraints.

• From Mr. Brennan, a copy of an email from the Jamestown Tree Preservation and Protection Committee asking for volunteers to help clean and clear the town forest (between the two schools) on Saturday, September 24.

• From the Rhode Island Department of Education, announcing the availability of two publications on improving academic achievement through social and emotional learning.

Consent Agenda : The committee approved the minutes of August 25; payment of bills; and the appointment of Robin Herud Lee as teacher assistant at Melrose; Kristen DeSantis as student council advisor; Faith Kaplan as jazz band director; Nicholas Alfred as technology coach and track coach; Thomass Carney as soccer coach; Eric Bush as boys' basketball coach; and David Pritchard as girls' basketball coach .

Information and Proposals:

Superintendent's Report : The Superintendent shared the latest enrollment report and a conversation with the dean of students at the Naval War College. The dean confirmed that while enrollment at the War College has remained steady, the number of families opting to live in Jamestown has increased. Mrs. Sipala shared that Jamestown enrollment at North Kingstown High School has increased by 17 students, to 241 (two more than budgeted).

• Jamestown responded to a request by the Department of Education for assistance with the Katrina evacuees in Middletown by offering to make available the services of the school psychologist and director of special education.

• Jamestown responded to a request by the Department of Education for information on the increase in fuel costs for the district. The Board of Regents will consider submitting a special budget request to help defray districts' increased costs. Mrs. Sipala reported to the committee that the school department is now monitoring gasoline used by our buses to ensure that we fuel only Jamestown School-originated routes. Jamestown will review the newly established state-bid price for petrol to see if savings can be achieved. The school department currently purchases heating oil at prices based on the daily “port” cost. Other energy-saving measures include cleaning all radiators, setting a recommended temperature for classrooms and purchasing electricity through a consolidated group established by the Rhode Island Association of School Committees.

• Mrs. Sipala shared information on truancy law, which requires districts to appoint a truancy officer yearly. In Jamestown, the chief of police serves as the truancy officer and thus no appointment is required.

• Mrs. Sipala reported on recommendations generated at the superintendents' meeting for areas to include in the feasibility study on shared services. These included energy, transportation, curriculum, supply purchase, technology purchase, repair and maintenance, food services, purchased services such as plumbers, etc., and human resource areas such as insurance and benefits.

• The committee looking at “healthy schools” will soon share a list of recommended changes with the two school improvement teams and expects to make recommendations to the school committee in November.

• Mrs. Sipala reviewed the topics for upcoming Restructuring/Reorganization/Shared Services workshops:

October 6: Joint Workshop with the Town Council. Agenda items include an update on the feasibility study of shared services; grounds and recreational fields; a shared building maintenance program; and locating the town hall in part of Lawn Avenue School.

November 3: Review of Oct. 6 topics; discussion of class size and support services (facts and philosophy).

December 1: Review of Nov. 3 topics; review of the administrative structure at Lawn School and the district-wide administrative structure.

January 5: Analysis of discussions as they impact the budget for 2006-07.

February 2, 9, 16: Budget workshops.

Committee Reports:

Melrose School Improvement Team : Mr. Filkins shared the SIT-published brochure that maps the curriculum at Melrose. The Lawn Avenue SIT is working on a similar document. The school committee commended the effort, which provides a valuable tool for the school and community.

SELAC : Planning is underway for Education Awareness Day. SELAC discussed the restructuring/reorganization/shared services work sessions being held by the school committee and stressed the importance of SELAC having a voice in the dialogue.

Facilities Committee : No meeting.

North Kingstown : Mr. Brennan reported that the North Kingstown School Committee approved the technology contract with Jamestown.

SORICO : Mrs. Kaiser reported on the feasibility study task force.

The next work session of the Jamestown School Committee, a joint meeting with the town council, will be on October 6 at 7 p.m. in the Melrose Multi-Purpose Room. The next business meeting will be on October 20 at 7 p.m. in the Lawn School Library.