rehires teacher and assistant
The final June School Committee meeting of the Charlton-Dudley Regional school system began with a mild debate over a hot topic: the addition of a request to override prop 2 ½ to be proposed to the Dudley selectmen at their next meeting. The mere request to add the override request to the ballot was not in question. What was in question was the wording of how the money, if appropriated, would be allocated. One option would be to request that the money fund much needed technology gaps. Another option would be to funnel the money into the new elementary math curriculum which is slated to be put in place next year. But finally, after much discussion about the problems with designating one specific place or program (earmarking) for the money to go, the final consensus was that the committee would recommend the selectmen write the ballot item to state that the operational monies would go into a general education fund. In doing this, money could be used in whatever function was most needed at any particular junction.
Continuing to talk about the need for money, Superintendent Sean Gilrein spoke about Governor Duval Patrick’s recent request for a temporary budget extension. It seems that the fiscal year 2013 budget will not be resolved by July 1st. Gilrein cited the Boston Globe and Worcester Telegram as his source of this information. He reassured that $160,000 in Mass.Aid, and the $40 per student, was secure. In question will be the $16.5million in “Chapter 78…target aid.” It was suggested that Patrick might have resolution sometime during the second week in July. In the end, Gilrein stated that “it does hold up some things for us, but it doesn’t change our bottom line, which is good news coming from the state.”
The next topic discussed was the benefit of having School Resource Officer James L. Annese working at Shepherd Hill two to three days a week. His efforts have helped decrease the number of recorded drug offenses occurring at the school this year over past years. There have been fewer recorded physical fights as well. Officer Annese has also responded to a number of minor car accidents in the school parking lot, as well as to incidents of bullying. In addition to his efforts on the legal end of things, he has also taken on the teaching of a number of health classes during the year. Gilrein praised the work of Officer Annese and agreed that his efforts over the past few years has vastly improved the environment of the high school.
Quickly discussed was the need to address problems with the handicapped accessibility to the fields at Shepherd Hill. Work towards making the football field more accessible will start immediately and work to the other fields will follow. Also mentioned was a scholarship golf tournament on July 14th, to benefit two graduating students. Each, one from Dudley and one from Charlton, will receive a $2500 scholarship. Gilrein invited the general public to join in the fun for a day of golfing that will benefit the students of Shepherd Hill.
New business included accepting all of the lowest supply bids and approving revisions to the School Committee Policy regarding dates and times for meetings. It is important to many school-goers to note that chocolate milk, though low-fat, will still be available. Ice cream desserts, however, have not been bid out, due to the uncertainty of what foods will be considered unsuitable for consumption according to the new state healthy foods for schools guidelines. Time will tell if ice cream will make it to the school lunch rooms next year.
The most significant vote was with regards to rehiring one kindergarten teacher and one instructional assistant. After discussions, it was concluded that with the recent increase in registration, projected class sizes and the fact that considering unemployment liability that would be avoided by the rehiring, it was prudent to move forward with the hiring. It was a unanimous decision. Though the ticket price for the two positions (including salary and benefits) comes to about $75,000, when taking the savings in potential unemployment liability off the budget table, the two positions really only cost the tax payers under $20,000. The benefit of more manageable classes outweighed the slight cost.
Rounding out the night was the superintendent’s comments that the school system is in good position with regards to requirements of being a “Race to the Top” school district. There has been sufficient calibration training for the administration and Gilrein feels comfortable with where the district stands. He mentioned that there are still five slots open at the high school and two for the middle school for school choice. Finally, the July meeting, of which there will only be one, was set for 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 19th. This is a change from the normal 7 p.m time and will be held at Shepherd Hill High School in Dudley. The superintendent’s contract will be reviewed during the executive session of that meeting. The August meeting, which will be at the Charlton Middle School, will also be at 6 p.m. on the 16th.
- Friday, 29 June 2012
- Posted in Categories: : Region