The Rochester School Committee met for their final meeting of the 2011-2012 academic year on Thursday, June 21. Brad Gordon of the Marion School Committee and Joint School Committee presented a plaque of recognition for the work of the school building committee in helping execute the construction of the updates and additions to Rochester Memorial School, including expanding the building by 33,000 square feet.
“The members of the school building committee, the architects, and the people of Rochester were absolutely critical to the success of this project,” Gordon said. “Thank you for your team work, cooperation, and support.”
Rochester School Committee chairperson, Tina Rood, during her opening remarks, offered words of thanks to the School Committee and the retiring members of the RMS Faculty, reading specialist Candy Miller-Mitchell, second grade teacher Joyce Bourdon, and principal Jay Ryan.
“I would like to end this year by thanking everybody for all the work that was done. It was truly remarkable. Our kids had a wonderful, wonderful year. The school year was productive and exciting and ended on a note of saying goodbye to some people,” said Rood. “I don’t know if ‘thank you’ is enough.”
All three retirees offered their tearful thanks and appreciation to the Committee for all the work they’ve accomplished over the years.
Jay Ryan later offered his final report as RMS principal. He touched upon the recent successful field trips, the excitement over the new summer reading program, and the up-coming release of MCAS scores.
“Right now, the scores are embargoed, but tomorrow, they will release some raw numbers,” he said.
Superintendent Doug White also introduced Eugene Jones, the new facilities director, who has already gotten to know the school buildings, their quirks, and has already been seeing areas where the district can improve the use of its buildings.
“We’re switching to digital lighting and they’re all going to be control by software to save energy,” he said.
“He comes to us from Tiverton and from a 30 year career in the Navy, in maintenance,” said White.
White also gave a summary of the district’s budget situation, which was mostly positive. According to White, while most sections of the budget were on or near target, one of the biggest cost increases was due to higher-than-normal energy bills, much of that being credited to the 33,000 square foot increase to RMS.
“It took a lot of individuals’ efforts to take the necessary steps, but we made it this year,” White said. “All bills have been paid and all personnel have been paid.”
The School Committee then voted to use any surplus funds for the purchase of heating oil in preparation for autumn and winter.
The superintendent also updated the Committee on the RMS principal search. He said Mora Rodgers and Derek Thompson have been named the two finalists in the principal search for Rochester Memorial School. Both people were able to visit the school and meet with students, parents, and teachers.
“We got a nice feeling of the two candidates,” said White.
He also said that they are still vetting candidates to take up the school business administrator position, recently left vacant by out-going Katie Isernio.
The next meeting of the Rochester School Committee will be on Thursday, September 6, 2012.
By Eric Tripoli