By Becky Harvey
OXFORD -- The Oxford School Committee began its meeting on Monday, September 24, with a discussion of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC) Resolutions that are being put forward for a delegation vote.
Resolution one, proposes to provide greater access to students to visit vocational programs that are approved by Chapter 74. Member Brenda Ennis voted that resolution one would pass, all three members present agreed.
Resolution three, submitted by the Brookline School Committee, requested that schools support the house bill requiring health insurance, not schools, to cover medical expenses for special education students who require such care as oxygen, special transportation, and other costs. Medically necessary expenses would be covered by insurance companies, not the schools, while the students were “accessing their educations.” Currently, schools are required to cover these costs, placing an undue burden on the school systems. Allen Himmelberger, school superintendent, drew the line of distinction showing what costs were currently being covered. All three members voted to approve the resolution.
Chairman Dan Coonan passed control of the meeting to the superintendent due to a conflict of interest on items four and five. He participated due to the necessity for a quorum.
Resolution four aimed at streamlining the educator evaluation system. The current requirements are too extensive to be considered and so time-consuming, as well as unfunded, therefore creating an unfair situation for teachers and evaluators, alike. Both Coonan and Susan Rivelli abstained, leaving Ennis the only vote, which was in the affirmative to pass.
The fifth resolution requests a change in how credible studies are performed to find the adequacy of and cost of education. With two yes votes and an abstention, the motion carried.
The anti-bullying sub-committee met and has started “Empathy” as their theme. They are working towards putting together a presentation for the school community next spring.
Superintendent Himmelberger reminded the board that next Wednesday is the special town meeting at the Oxford High School at 7 p.m. Also, he noted that the vote for the Bay Path expansion is also next week on the 4th. Voting will be open from noon until 8pm.
Himmelberger announced that the roof of the middle school is finally complete. Though the HVAC system still remains to be updated, as does the replacement of the windows and doors, he was thrilled to share the news of the roof. He also stated that the town is waiting to see what waivers the AAB will allow in terms of handicap accessibility. If the school were to be updated to complete compliance, the price of the updates would roughly equal the current value of the building itself. Himmelberger noted that the students are doing very well in MCAS, but that the town isn’t still completely where they want it to be. Due to a state waiver, there is no longer an AYP (adequate yearly progress) accountability. There are, however, newer accountability standards. Himmelberger stated that he is not satisfied where Oxford stands. He has asked to have some data reassessed by the state, though he felt improvement is still necessary, no matter what.
Committee Member Ennis made an impassioned plea to the board to schedule, promote and fund “meet the superintendent” nights at each of the schools in town. The purpose of said meetings would be to introduce the board and superintendent, as parents, educators and leaders. The evening would be a chance to tell parents of students in town what the board and he were responsible for deciding and putting into action. Himmelberger agreed that it was a great idea. He reiterated that there is a need to disseminate information in a way that parents can understand and get first hand.
Ennis reminded voters to get out and vote in the Bay Path special vote. She reiterated that the school is in desperate need. She punctuated the fact that the needed remodel was in reflection of a severe deficit that the school has, not just goodies that the school “wanted.”
- Tuesday, 25 September 2012
- Posted in Categories: : News