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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: May 20, 2004


.Letters received:

• From the Public Archaeology Group, copies of correspondence and diagrams relating to the 1990s archaeological investigation of school property.

• From Superintendent Katherine Sipala, a copy of the notice issued on the closing of the walking path between the two schools.

• From the Rhode Island Association of School Committees, notice of a June 12 seminar on collective bargaining.

• From North Kingstown, the list of Jamestown students on the NK honor roll.

• From Director of Pupil Services Beth Pinto, a letter commending Renie Sullivan for her assistance with a family with two medically fragile children.

• From the Pell Center for International Relations, Salve Regina, a letter thanking Maureen McGuirl for her participation in the Civitas international exchange program and the Jamestown School for its hospitality.

• From Superintendent Sipala, a report that the Grade 5/6 Chorus was rated “Outstanding” at the RIMEA Elementary Choral Festival; the Grade 7/8 Band received a gold medal in the New England “Great Festival” in early May and the Grade 7/8 Chorus received a silver medal.

• From the RI Department of Education, notice of a change in the federal reimbursement policy for the completion of IEPs.

Letters written:

• To Governor Carcieri thanking him for meeting with Blue Cross in an ongoing effort to reduce health care insurance costs.

Consent Agenda:  The committee approved the minutes of April 8, 22 and May 6; payment of bills; and the 2004-05 transfers of Sonya Bieler from the position of teacher assistant in Grade 5 to the 5/6 resource position and Joan Shaffer from T.A. in Grade 6 to T.A. in Grades 5/6.  The committee also regretfully accepted the resignation of Leslie Wolken and approved the request by Maureen McGuirl to remain with the Grade 8 team. 

New Business

Policies: The committee discussed two draft policies: Use of School Buildings by Non-School Based Organizations; and a Statement of Nondiscrimination and Affirmative Action.  The committee tabled a reading of the building use policy until a clarification is received from The Interlocal Trust concerning coverage of after school activities under the school insurance policy.  After a first reading of the Statement of Nondiscrimination and Affirmative Action, the committee agreed to eliminate reference to affirmative action from the text and title of the policy.  

Information and Proposals:   

Update on Bus Bid/Report on Parking Sites:  The Superintendent reported on her meeting with town officials Maryanne Crawford and Fred Brown about alternative sites for parking school buses.  The conversation was not encouraging due to zoning limits on possible sites. Mr. Filkins and Ms. Gooding will speak with Mr. Brown about the possibility of zoning variances.  Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds Lew Kitts is waiting for responses from Diane Hurley of Newport Grand about use of that back lot; and from Rep. Bruce Long about use of the Park & Ride lot next to Heffie’s.  Mr. Jenckes of First Student reported on his conversations with two possible landlords – on North Road and on Southwest Avenue.  The latter property is not paved and therefore not suitable.  A back lot that may be cleared in the next several years could be a potential site.  Mr. Brennan expressed concern about the North Road property because it is in the watershed.  A suitable site will have to have lights for security and safety and bathroom facilities for the drivers.  The committee agreed that the bus bid can be awarded based on the buses remaining on school property, with the option of reopening the contract should an alternative site become available.

Superintendent’s Report:  Mrs. Sipala brought the committee up to date on the request made in March by Jane Argentieri of NEARI to accrete the bus monitors into JESPA.  The monitors have never been part of the Jamestown union and the question of their inclusion was not raised by the union during recent contract negotiations.  Following a statement of no interest by the school department, Ms. Argentieri petitioned the RI State Labor Relations Board for an election to allow the monitors to form their own union.  A hearing will be held on June 4.  Amato DeLuca, the school’s lawyer, has indicated that although the board will likely honor the request for an election, it is unclear whether a sufficient number of monitors will elect to take that step.   NEARI filed an unfair labor practice charge after the school asked bus companies bidding for the Jamestown transportation contract to include a price for bus monitors in order to allow the school department to identify the most cost-effective option.  NEARI has since withdrawn the charge.

Committee Reports:

Melrose School Improvement Team: SIT identified school improvement goals that had been achieved; those that should be carried over; and new goals.  The group also completed the school’s mission statement.

Lawn School Improvement Team: SIT continued to work on action plans for the school improvement plan. 

SELAC: The group discussed the open house to be held on June 8 and a fall workshop on the ABCs of IEPs.  Mrs. Gooding informed the committee that she will be unable to continue as liaison to SELAC due to a conflict with her work schedule; Mr. Filkins volunteered to serve in her place. 

Facilities Committee:  The committee will renovate Lawn bathrooms economically by reusing the marble partitions, installing stainless steel doors and applying a clear coating to the floors.  It is hoped that the work will be completed this summer.  

North Kingstown:  The NK school committee heard a report on the Senior Project, to be required of all students graduating in 2008.  A special budget meeting is scheduled for June 14 in the event that the school budget fails to gain approval in the June referendum.  

Legislative:  Ms. Kaiser reported that she testified at the state house with Rep. Bruce Long in favor of state reimbursement for bridge tokens used in transporting students out of district.  She and Mrs. Kallfelz also testified against a bill requiring union contracts negotiated by school committees to be ratified by town councils.

High School Review Committee:  Mr. Filkins reported that the high school review committee has made one site visit and will complete the other four by early June.

Jamestown Education Foundation:  Mrs. Gooding shared information from a conference she attended on after school programs.  She also noted the success of the May 13 kick-off party for the JEF and reported that there has been much interest shown in the summer session with Save the Bay.


A joint meeting with the Jamestown Town Council will be held on June 16 (location to be announced); the next business meeting will be on June 17.  All meetings are held at 7 p.m. in the Melrose Multi-Purpose Room.