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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: October 16, 2003


For their commitment to professional development as demonstrated by the completion of Nonviolent Crisis Intervention Training: Joanne Augustinho, Mary Berry, Sonya Bieler, Gayle Davis, Sandra Hanson, Debbie Irwin, Shani Kitchin, Christine Minus, Muriel Munro, Barbara Ricci, Janet Smith and Virginia Perry.


Letters received:

From the Southern RI Collaborative (SORICO), a notice of a November 3 Key Work workshop.

• From the Office of the Auditor General, notifying the district of changes in the definition of conditions that enable a city or town to apply to increase its tax levy in excess of 5.5%.

• From Karen Rafanelli, announcing the date of the Chair Affair, April 3.

From North Kingstown, an invitation to an Oct. 26 panel presentation highlighting North Kingstown High School for the New England Association of Schools and Colleges Accreditation Visiting Team.

Consent Agenda: The committee approved the minutes of September 18 and October 2; and payment of bills; and accepted the resignation of Meghan Cloud, payroll clerk.

Unfinished Business

Strategic Plan Discussion: The 5-member review committee met to begin refining the draft strategic plan and determine the number of action plans needed (district, school and blended). The school committee discussed ways to "roll-out" the strategic plan in the community. Ideas under consideration include asking the 34 strategic planners to invite interested others to a reception on School Report Night, Nov. 5; a Superintendent’s Corner column in the Jamestown Press; dialogue with JTA and JESPA; posting of the strategic plan on the school website; and the use of the tagline "A School-Community Partnership" throughout the budget process.

Information and Proposals:

Charter School Legislation: The committee agreed to support Senator Teresa Paiva-Weed in drafting a bill to exempt small school districts from the charter school mandate.

Out-of-District Transportation Committee: Superintendent Sipala has been named to a committee working with Commissioner of Education Peter McWalters to review out-of-district transportation issues.

Aquidneck Island Education Funding Dialogue: Mrs. Sipala and Ms. Kaiser reported on their participation in the Education Funding Dialogue organized by Aquidneck Island towns. Also participating are town manager Maryanne Crawford and town council liaison Guy Settipane. At a Sept. 30 meeting, Gary Sasse presented RIPEC's report on Education in Rhode Island 2003, with recommendations for restructuring the state's method of funding education. At the close of the meeting, the group divided into two sub-groups (superintendents & town managers; school committees & town councils) to identify key concerns about educational funding and begin to generate recommendations for systemic change. Mrs. Sipala reported that the superintendents’ group met on Oct. 10 to discuss consolidation opportunities available through the regional collaboratives; the school committee/town council sub-group will meet next week. The work of these sub-groups will lay the foundation for a broader-based conference on educational funding later this fall, to which other communities, state and federal legislators, and the governor will be invited.

Superintendent’s Report: Mrs. Sipala informed the school committee that the annual membership fee for the Southern RI Collaborative (SORICO) has doubled, but that she considers membership a good investment due to the no-cost professional development programs provided. • Ms, Sipala also shared with the committee what she has learned concerning insurance for volunteers and outside instructors and recommended that the school work with town administration to ensure that the two groups’ insurance requirements/policy are consistent. • In November, Maureen McGuirl will travel to Ireland as one of 13 Rhode Island teachers participating in a Civic-Link exchange; in April, teachers from partner schools in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland will travel to Rhode Island to meet with classes here.

Budget Schedule and Format: The committee approved the budget meeting schedule, contingent on Mr. Brennan’s confirmation of his availability.

Policy Revision Proposal: The committee agreed with Ms. Pinto’s proposal that the school committee subscribe to the RIASC online Model Policy Guide to facilitate policy review and revision.

Committee Reports:

Melrose School Improvement Team: No report.

Lawn School Improvement Team: Lawn SIT met with the Facilities Committee to discuss building needs and the proposed 5-year capital improvement plan.

SELAC: Jamestown’s legislators have been invited to hear Dr. Thomas DiPaola speak on Oct. 28 on NCLB and RI legislation. Ms. Pinto reported on the senate proposal for reorganization of IDEA. SELAC also discussed transition for 8th graders, the upcoming Nov. 15 high school tour, and the creation of a resource library.

Facilities Committee: The committee met with the Lawn SIT. The next Facilities Committee meeting is Oct. 21.


The next business meeting of the Jamestown School Committee will be on November 6; budget work sessions are scheduled for November 13 and 20. All meetings are held at 7 p.m. in the Melrose Multi-Purpose Room.