Salem School Committee
Regular Meeting Minutes
Monday, October 6, 2008
A regular meeting of the Salem School Committee was held on Monday, October 6, 2008 at 7:30 p.m. in the School Committee Chambers at Collins Middle School, 29 Highland Avenue, Salem, Massachusetts.
Members Present: Mayor Kimberley Driscoll, Nate Bryant, Mr. Kevin Carr, Dr. Janet Crane, James Fleming, Mrs. Kerry A. Martin,
Members Absent: Dr. Brendan Walsh, Eileen Sacco, Secretary
Others Present: Dr. William Cameron, Superintendent, John Danizio, School Business Manager, Mary Manning, Paul L’Heureux, Deb Jeffers
Mayor Driscoll called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.
Approval of the Agenda
Mr. Fleming moved to approve the agenda, seconded by Dr. Crane and approved.
Approval of Minutes
The minutes of the School Committee meeting held on September 15, 2008 School Committee meeting were presented for approval. Mr. Fleming moved approval of the minutes of the September 15, 2008 School Committee meeting and Dr. Crane seconded the motion. The motion passes 6-0.
Dr. Crane thanks Barbara Fortunato for typing the September 15th minutes of the meeting.
Questions and Comments from the Audience
Marcy Clawson, 6 Skerry Street, a member of the Foundation for Salem Education, addressed the School Committee regarding the raffle Food for Thought. The drawing will take place at the Foundation Stage (outside of the Peabody Essex Museum) at 3pm on October 31st. Ms. Clawson has received positive feedback from the community and schools. Mr. Bryant is selling raffle tickets as well as many local businesses: Cabin Fever, Market Place Quilts, Pamplemousse, The Picklepot, The Trolley Dept, The Witch Museum, Waters & Brown and Witch City Thrift & Consignment. . Tickets are $5.00 each or five for $20.00. Prizes are dinner for two worth $250 anywhere in the world, 2 nights hotel accommodations worth $700; and fully paid airline tickets. The superintendent has approved a
flyer, which will be sent home this week. The Foundation’s website is www.salemedfoundation.org.
Student Representative Report – Vanessa Marshall
Class elections were held last week and class officers were elected for the sophomore, junior and senior classes. The freshman class will hold elections later this month.
The Homecoming Game was played last Friday. Seniors Patrick Swift and Ishrat Raji were crowned king and queen.
The Compass and Life Skills classes are operating the school store this year.
Superintendent’s Report – Dr. Cameron
Dr. Cameron welcomes Vanessa as this year’s student representative on the school committee.
Dr. Cameron also thanks Ms. Fortunato for preparing the packets for tonight’s meeting.
Dr. Cameron would like to take note of the SHS celebration held September 21st. There was an excellent turnout that day. Congressman Tierney, Senator Berry and Representative Keenan were present. Also, the executive director of the Mass. School Building Authority, Kathryn Craven, was in attendance. Ms. Craven was very impressed with our facility and actually recruited one of our teachers to be on an advisory committee. Dr. Cameron said it was a nice day to celebrate what has been a major investment by this community. It’s been a huge disruption in the educational program at the high school. Dr. Cameron appreciates the efforts of all those involved, in particular, the faculty and staff during this building project.
Dr. Cameron would like to mention that the Mass. Dept. of Education and the Commissioner’s spokeswoman, Heidi Guarino, recently commended Salem High School students for their exceptional performance on the 2008 MCAS exams. Dr. Cameron told the School Committee that there will be more specific information regarding this data at a future meeting. Dr. Cameron notes that students deserve much credit for their exceptional performance. Dr. Cameron also noted that a great deal of recognition and commendation is due to Mr. Angeramo and the entire faculty at Salem High School.
Dr. Cameron reports that prior to tonight’s regular meeting, a Committee of the Whole meeting met for the purpose of reviewing the Corrective Action Plan of the Coordinated Program Review audit. The school department will submit the Corrective Action Plan to the Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). The findings are on the DESE website and will be available within five working days after being submitted to DESE. Each principal will receive a copy along with the public library and the superintendent’s office. Anyone who has an interest in looking at the information regarding Vocational Education, Special Education, English Language Learner’s Instruction and Civil Rights; it is now available at administrative offices. This audit took place last February 2008.
Dr. Cameron would like to recognize Lt. Robert Preczewski who is here tonight to speak about the continuing issue of crossing guards. We’ve received great cooperation from the Salem Police Department in their review of the traffic and crossing guard locations. We currently have eleven vacancies for crossing guards. Dr. Cameron met with Lt. Preczewski prior to tonight’s meeting and he’s taken the time to make a presentation regarding traffic and crossing guard locations.
Lt. Robert Preczewski reports that he visited each school and observed the traffic flow of drop offs and pick ups, and the pedestrian cross walk situations. After observing all the locations and schools, Lt. Preczewski ranked and categorized these crossing areas. A rating of 1 is ‘high priority’. Lt. Preczewski concluded that the crossing guards at each school were just as important as the busy traffic intersection areas. In his opinion, children are better off having a crossing guard at a cross walk without traffic lights because at least there is an adult who can get them across those cross walks safely Lt. Preczewski concluded that each location is important and that the school department needs to fill all eleven slots. If for some reason they cannot be all filled, then look at the rankings to prioritize. If any crossing
guard doesn’t feel comfortable stopping traffic, Lt. Preczewski will train and help that guard.
Dr. Crane noted that Lt. Preczewski’s report was very helpful.
Mayor Driscoll spoke of a traffic program that is being used elsewhere and in other states, which help alert motorists that there’s a crosswalk ahead. It’s somewhat like the one at the Salem Public Library. The Mayor noted that it’s inexpensive and may be helpful. Lt. Preczewski will review program. Lt. Preczewski also suggested that there are two police officers assigned to the school department and if staffing permits, he’d like to see if they could fill in until all of the vacancies are filled.
Dr. Crane asks what the pay scale for Salem crossing guards. Dr. Cameron states that Salem pays $11-13 per hour and Salem’s pay scale appears to be lower than other surrounding communities.
Mr. Fleming reports that at a Personnel Subcommittee meeting this issue has been discussed and an alternative proposal may be the solution.
Dr. Cameron would like to seek the Committee’s authorization to offer Salem’s paraprofessionals these open crossing guard positions as additional hours to their work week. This proposal may seem attractive to some people. Mr. Carr fully supports offering these crossing guard positions to our paraprofessionals.
Dr. Crane moves that the School Committee authorize the Superintendent to advertise and hire the crossing guard positions to Salem’s current paraprofessional staff as part of their overall work day. Mr. Carr seconds the Motion. Motion carries 6-0
Mr. Carr thanks Lt. Preczewski and Chief St. Pierre for a collaborative effort. Dr. Cameron also thanks the police department for their efforts and also thanks Mr. Fleming for the personnel subcommittee’s discussions and recommendations. Anyone interested in applying for the crossing guard position should contact Jeanine D’Entremont in the Human Resources office at 29 Highland Avenue. The phone number is 978-740-1226 or 978-740-1115.
Curriculum Report - Alyce Davis
Ms. Davis reports that MCAS letters to parents (grades 4 through 11) will be mailed home.
If parents don’t receive this report, they should contact their building principal.
Ms. Davis also reports, relative to MCAS reports - that the district accountability status and the compliance letters for A.Y.P. and No Child Left Behind will be sent home later this week to all grades K-12. If anyone has questions, please call Ms. Davis’ office – 978-740-1214.
Also, Ms. Davis would like to thank Ellen Berry, Karen Malio, Nancy Meacham, David Angeramo and Richard McLaughlin for their work on the responses for the Corrective Action Plan. The district had just six weeks to meet the deadline.
Finance Report - John Danizio
- Deliberation on the School Department Warrant:
September 11, 2008 - in the amount of $757,514.20
September 18, 2008 - in the amount of $ 87,946.65
September 25, 2008 - in the amount of $241,662.81
October 2, 2008 - in the amount of $35,972.27
Mr. Fleming moves approval of all four warrants in the amounts stated in our agenda as submitted. Dr. Crane seconds the motion. The motion passes -6-0.
- Budget Transfer Request –
The following Budget Transfer is respectfully requested
$8,195.00 for Collins Middle School
$8,000.00 to Bentley School
Mr. Fleming moves for approval of both budget transfers as requested by the Business Manager, John Danizio – one in the amount of $8,195. and the other is $8,000 “from and to those accounts as noted”. Dr. Crane seconds the motion. The motion carried -6-0.
a. Deliberation for the lease of equipment (See attached). Dr. Cranes moves to refer this item to the Finance Subcommittee for discussion. Mr. Fleming seconds the motion.
After further discussion regarding this time sensitive price deadline, Dr. Crane withdraws her motion.
Mr. Fleming moves to approve the expenditure in the 2010 budget for a technology refreshed spending plan that will be entered into this month for implementation next year. This is subject to final review by the Finance Subcommittee on Wednesday. Mr. Carr seconds the motion. Motion carries 6-0
REQUEST: Mayor Driscoll requests a listing of the equipment we’re purchasing for the FY ‘09.
- Deliberation for referral to the appropriate policy subcommittee for admission into Chapter 74 Program (See attached Policy 5103.01). Mr. Fleming motions to move to the Policy Subcommittee. Dr. Crane seconds the motion. Motion passes 6-0
REQUEST: (Dr. Crane would like to receive a packet of all policies that need to be reviewed by Policy subcommittee. When Ms. Sacco returns to her duties she can gather that information)
c. Deliberation of the acceptance of a $15,000 donation from Health Quarters (See attached). Mr. Fleming motions to accept the $15,000 donation from Health Quarters. Dr. Crane seconds the motion. Motion carries 6-0.
Mr. Bryant asks for an explanation of how students are selected for the Teen Health Outreach Program. Mr. Angeramo explains that the 30 students who were enrolled in the advanced teen health course. The pre-requisite would be having passed the regular health education course first and then having a certain grade in that course. All students who desired to take this were able to this year.
School Committee Reports
Committee of the Whole – Coordinated Program Review
The committee reviewed the Coordinated Program Review and Corrective Action Plan.
Mr. Fleming moves to refer certain sections of the Coordinated Program Review to the Special Education Subcommittee and Curriculum Subcommittee. Dr. Crane seconds the motion. Motion passes 6-0
Mr. Fleming would also like to commend all those who worked tirelessly on the Corrective Action Plan. There were also several areas in which Salem was commended.
Special Education - none
Buildings and Grounds - none
Personnel Subcommittee - none
Policy Subcommittee - none
Curriculum - none
Finance - none
School Committee Concerns and Resolutions
Dr. Crane asks about the response of the Free and Reduced Lunch forms.
Deb Jeffers, Director of Food Service, reports to the School Committee that as of today, the return is 89.1%. The following schools reports to date:
Early Childhood 100%
Horace Mann 100%
Salem High 67%
Mayor Driscoll requests if Ms. Jeffers could present an updated report in November.
Dr. Cameron states that an update at the second meeting in November will include all aspects of the school lunch program.
Ms. Martin informs the committee that she’s received many constituent inquiries regarding the investigation of Bruce Guy. Ms. Martin had been asked if there have been any findings as a result of any investigation. With the Mayor’s permission, Ms. Martin contacted District Attorney Blodgett’s’ office and received a call back. Ms. Martin was told that any information of an investigation and/or its findings couldn’t be shared; it’s standard policy. Ms. Martin was also told that if there have been any news articles regarding this issue; it would have been generated from an alternate source – not the District Attorney’s office.
Also, Ms. Martin recognized the work of a Salem parent, Ms. Anna Ginetti-Ricci who composed and produced a song, “I Wonder” for Salem’s public school children. Any proceeds from the sale of this CD will benefit all of Salem’s public schools. This showcases students from all the various schools.
Mayor Driscoll suggests that the School Committee plan to discuss the Superintendent’s evaluation at the first public meeting in November. Mr. Fleming previously distributed the evaluation document from the MASC to all members of the school committee.
Questions and Comments from the Audience regarding the September 15, 2008 agenda
Mary Manning – regarding the subject of crossing guards. Ms. Manning would like to note that principals wouldn’t necessarily know which crossing guards are absent unless the person who the crossing guards report their absences notifies the Lt. Preczewski.
Paul L’Heureux as a follow up from the last meeting speaks of the bike path near the Carlton. Last week Mass. Highways installed a fence, which now obstructs the public from going behind the Carlton School.
Mr. Fleming motions to refer the bike path matter to Buildings and Grounds Subcommittee.
Dr. Crane seconds the motion. Motion carries 6-0.
Katerina Thompson reports that 50 parents attended the first SPED PAC meeting, which was held on September 29th @ Carlton School. The next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 16th at 6:30PM at Bates.
There being no further business to come before the School Committee this evening, Dr. Crane moved to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Fleming seconded the motion. The motion carried 6-0.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:30 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by:
Executive Secretary to Superintendent