2014 School Budget Discussed in Marion

The 2014 School District budget was the priority at the Marion School Committee meeting on Wednesday evening.  With an expected enrollment of 435 students, Sippican Elementary School budgeted for a teaching staff of 32, a special education staff of 8, para-professional staff of 3 and other staff of various positions totaling $5,473,677.

Overall, the proposed budget shows an increase in regular day costs of $90,248, special education of $36,272, with an overall budget increase of 2.31%.

The committee agreed to consider the proposed budget and vote on it at the April 3 committee meeting.

Committee member Joseph Scott noted that there were far fewer students enrolling in private and parochial schools at the junior and senior level than in previous years.  “We project an enrollment of 760 to 765 students at the senior high, primarily due to the new ORR swim program and other reasons,” said Scott.

In other business, the committee announced a public educational invitation to “Addressing Fidgety Behaviors”, which will be held at Center School in Mattapoisett on Wednesday, March 20 from 6 to 7 pm.  Joseph Schectman, a professor of Special Education from Cambridge College will facilitate the meeting, All are welcome, with refreshments provided.

Retired teacher Diane Cook presented, via a written presentation, to bring back the Sippican School garden.  “Her intention is to revive it,” said Chairman Gordon.  All members agreed that the garden could provide additional educational outcomes for students working, planting and harvesting from the garden.

In other news, the Early Childhood Council representative, noted that ‘Big Ryan’ would be performing at Old Hammond Town School on May 8 from 5:30 to 6:00 pm for story-telling and there will be a parent’s meeting from 6 pm to 8 pm.

The board heard from Jody Dickerson, head of the Marion Recreation Committee who presented an after school program.  Sippican School principal, Lynn Rivet also spoke in favor of the program.

“This is a safe, fun place to spend time, after school,” said Rivit.  “It’s an energetic after school program”.

Mr. Dickerson spoke and said that he had run a similar program, which was nationally recognized in Newfound, NH, prior to relocating to Marion, several years ago.

“These programs are paid for through the fees paid by parents and by grants,” said Dickerson.  “We’ll just break even, but provide activities to keep kids engaged and off the streets.”

In other agenda items, Joseph Scott asked Curriculum Specialist Elise Frangos about professional development opportunities and what the outcome was from programs initiated.

“When I became a teacher in 1977, you took a test and that was it,” said Frangos.  “Today, we need to focus on growth and learning to change and engage with technology….that’s scary for some,” said Frangos, “our goal is to help teachers learn to grow and use their assets…to engage students.”

Committee member Christine Winters commented on the upcoming Destination Imagination competition in Harwich, MA coming up this Sunday and wished the science and engineering entrees much success.

By Joan Hartnett-Barry

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