The Rochester Memorial School Committee meet for their regular monthly meeting on Thursday, March 7 at 6:30pm. The Chairperson, Michelle Cusolito, informed the committee that although the playground committee is not ready to come before the school at this time that the teachers and parents in the group are working hard and making progress.
Next the Food Service Director, Caitlin Meagher, reviewed her quarterly report. She informed the committee that she is still accepting applications for the three-hour cafeteria position. The position is Monday through Friday 10:30 to 1:30, 180 days a year. Ms. Meagher was also excited to announce that produce is now being purchased from Sid Wainer & Son of New Bedford. They were able to match the prices and have good produce. The percentage of student’s purchasing food has stayed at 42%, same as last year, even with a cost increase. This past month there was a surplus of $1853 after cost was subtracted from sales.
The Superintendent, Douglas White, reviewed his report highlighting the federal funding cuts, which he feels will have little impact on Rochester. The development of the new strategic plan began with the Joint School Committee, whom recommends that the Strategic Plan Conference be scheduled for next fall verses this spring. This coming school year all districts will need to come up with a two means or measures of rating individual educator’s impact on student learning.
The Assistant Superintendent, Elise Frangos, discussed the grant obtained of $3,700 for the full day kindergarten to be spent on reading materials. Wednesday, March 13 will be a half-day of school for students as teachers attend professional development. There will be a presentation open to the community addressing fidgety behaviors in children on Wednesday, March 20 from 6-7pm at Center School in Mattapoisett. Parents and teachers are encouraged to attend. The district is now part of SmartPD, which allows teachers to have access to professional development in thirty-five other communities. It also allows this district to sell empty seats. This money then goes to future training.
The Director of Student Services, Teresa Hamm, report was given to the school committee but Ms. Hamm was not in attendance to review.
Dr. Moira Rodgers, Principal, presented her report. The new RMS School Council has been created. Their first meeting is scheduled for April 3, 2013 at Rochester Memorial from 4:15 to 5pm. Quarterly meetings have established between Old Colony Vocational Technical School, Police Chief Paul Magee and Dr. Rodgers to discuss crisis management.
The School Committee received quarterly written reports from the Facilities Director and Technology Director. The committee discussed the new website going public March 28, 2013. It is hoped that this will provide a more usable events calendar.
The School Committee approved the minutes of the regular meeting and executive session from February 7, 2013 with minimal corrections.
Next the Financial Report and Budget Transfer Request were reviewed. The committee approved transferring monies from one line item to another to correctly show expenditures.
The committee reviewed the 2014 fiscal year budget. The revised budget is $10,771 lower than this year. There is an increase in contractual staff salaries and contracted services. However, there is a decrease in special needs costs. Dr. Rodgers is proposing an assistant principals position. The cost associated with this could from a reduction in teaching staff. Due to lower enrollment in the upcoming third grade there would be one less teacher/classroom. She is also proposing moving a support teacher into a sixth grade classroom, replacing a current teacher. A public meeting for the budget will be held on April 4 at 6:30 during the School Committee’s regular meeting at the Rochester Town Hall.
The Spring Play procedure and process was discussed. Up to now there had been no contractual position to compensate the teacher who organizes this event or to cover costs, therefore money has been spent from other areas in the budget and not been transparent. Superintendent White would like to see it be financially self-sufficient. The committee wants this program to continue so has asked the Superintendent to reach out to the P.T.A. to help find answers to these concerns.
On behalf of the Student Council Dr. Rodgers brought forth the request to have a fundraiser to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society called Pennies for Patients. Students would collect change for three weeks during March. The School Committee unanimously approved the fundraiser.
For Committee reports, the Chairperson informed the group that at the Early Childhood Council’s last meeting the Girls Scoots came to discuss what they are about to increase awareness and interest. The council also discussed the possibility of setting locations and times for play dates for incoming kindergartens to ease the transition.
At 8:20pm the School Committee went into executive session for the purposes of exception number 3, to discuss collective bargaining. After the executive session the Committee voted to accept the contract with the custodians union and then adjourned.
The next Joint School Committee meeting will be March 21 beginning at 6pm at the ORR Superintendent’s Office. The next Rochester School Committee meeting will be April 4 beginning at 6:30pm at the Rochester Town Hall.
By Beth Redman