Oxford School Committee Notes
Oxford receives $230,000 Race to the Top award
Oxford - School Superintendent Allen Himmelberger on Monday updated the School Committee on the Race to the Top program, which is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, wherein states compete for funds relating to changes in public education. Mr. Himmelberger said that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts was awarded $250 million under the program, of which $125 million was provided to the Commonwealth and the remaining $125 million was pursued by local school districts.
Oxford competed for and was awarded $230,000, to be used over four years with the majority of the funds allocated to fiscal years 2013/2014.
Superintendent Himmelberger said, “Oxford chose to increase teacher education as well as school technology framework. The Oxford School Committee is working closely with teachers to improve test scores and standards in order for our students to be successful upon their graduation in today’s rapidly-changing job market.” These standards must be updated by Fall 2012 and are an ongoing process.
In other school committee business, Patricia Hokanson, Oxford Food Service Director and member of the Wellness Committee, gave her report regarding upcoming fruit & vegetable tasting by some of the younger Oxford school students. Ms. Hokanson stressed the urgent need for involvement of PTO members and parents from each school, especially for the upcoming and new flavored-milk standards.
All of Oxford’s parents of schoolchildren should be made aware of the new guidelines of the School Nutrition Bill, she said. Brenda Ennis, School Committee Chairman, suggested that a flyer be sent home to parents. Superintendent Himmelberger suggested that the PTO’s might be better at communicating parental awareness but that parental input was greatly needed to assist in implementation of the new guidelines. School committee member Marc Peterson stated that coaching staffs and booster clubs would be valuable assets for assistance, as their involvement is critical for getting the word out on the milk situation.
The Committee then reviewed School bus transportation bids. The lowest bid was a 12% increase over the existing year’s costs. Business Manager Richard Mathieu suggested that the bid request data be reviewed, modified, and sent back out to bid. Chairman Ennis inquired whether the computerized route configurations were part of the cost increase and wanted Mr. Mathieu to look into the matter. The current contract expires in June 2012. A unanimous vote passed (in the absence of member Stephen Anderson) to place the transportation contract back out to bid.
Committee member Susan Rivelli reviewed the member list of the current Advisory Committee which consisted of several teachers, two parents, and possibly two students. She stated that the first meeting was tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, March 14, and it was vital for more parental involvement in all phases of their child’s education.
Superintendent Himmelberger spoke about the upcoming school budget process, making two points. Firstly, he wanted all schoolchildren’s parents to become familiar with the budgetary process and asked that they please feel free to stop at the new school administration building located at the Community Center on Main Street---those who care about their child’s school environment should become aware and involved in the budget process by coming to the Annual Town Meeting, he said. Secondly, Mr. Himmelberger made a sincere request to all Oxford school students: “Look at your grades and review them carefully and please choose to either continue your good work or realize that right now is the time to make the extra effort to improve yourself. The time is now.”
Mr. Peterson then confirmed that the next Public School Budget Hearing was scheduled for Monday, March 26, and that the school budget would be the sole topic of the meeting. He
He also noted that the large granite marker in front of the school had again been knocked over. A plea was made for volunteers to come forward to help right the monument, with possible rebar additions to improve the monument’s strength and stability. Mr. Peterson then requested that he would like a review and replacement of all non-working school exterior lighting.
The committee’s Executive Session followed.
- Wednesday, 29 February 2012
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