Margaret Raymond Driscoll is a nine-year Melrose School Committee member who is passionate about excellent teaching and learning for all public school students, and considers it a privilege to collaborate with others who share that passion. You can also follow her on Twitter at @MargaretDrisc. Just to be clear - opinions expressed here do not represent those of the Melrose Public Schools, the Melrose School Committee, or the Massachusetts Association of School Business Officials - they are hers alone.

Monday, February 15, 2016

MVMMS School Choice, Campus Kids Fees, OCR Actions, Liaison Sharing, and More: 2/9 School Committee Meeting

(Reminder: official minutes of the Melrose School Committee can be found on the melroseschools.com web site following approval by the Committee. My notes are below, and edits and errors are mine alone.)
The meeting opened with a Public Hearing on the middle school’s proposal to welcome ten school choice students to 6th grade and ten to 7th grade in FY17. (The vote is scheduled for 2/23.) Following the Hearing, Roosevelt School students, along with Principal Maranto, presented an overview and Powerpoint of the things that make their school unique and special. Supt. Taymore provided updates on the technology roll-out (seven of eight schools completed, and Central Administration scheduled for next week meaning no computers or phone on Thursday and Friday 2/18-19); graduation and drop-out rates (noting that some of our students are not candidates for diplomas but instead receive certificates of attainment, and that the high school takes a variety of steps to encourage students who have dropped out to return and complete their schooling); the MPS teachers who have been accepted into selective training programs; using technology to improve Kindergarten placements; and internal decision-making processes around keeping or cancelling student foreign travel.
The Consent Agenda was approved and included meeting minutes from January 26th; E-camp field trip requests; a request to send an orchestra student to the All State Music Festival in Boston; the Cafeteria Report; the Personnel Report; the Monthly Budget Summary; and a number of bills.
 In the Finance and Facilities Subcommittee portion of our meeting, Campus Kids fees for this summer were considered. Fees were raised about 3%. There was discussion around the fact that only direct costs were considered in the equation and a motion to approve the fees was postponed until the next meeting when indirect fees are expected to be considered as well. Ms. Casatelli spoke to the Budget Timeline, re-confirming the timeline presented earlier. Legal fees were discussed, including the purpose for different charges, timeliness of bills, and how we expect attorneys to break out fees to ensure proper payment.
In the area of Educational Programs and Personnel, Supt. Taymore presented the Action Steps that will address the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) resolution, including who will be involved, the timing, third-party partners, etc. A discussion of the timeline, job description, and salary range in preparation of a search for a new School Business Official was also held. (It is anticipated that the Superintendent will present the name of a recommended candidate on April 12th.)
Announcements of the Chair included discussion around potential separate meetings of the Educational Programs and Personnel Subcommittee; approval of Committee norms (which will undergo annual review next January); Liaison Reports from members reflecting information from the MHS PTO, Melrose Human Rights Commission, Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, and City Wide PTO meetings; an invitation to review the Glossary of Educational Terms that is continuously updated on the web site; and a reminder that we will perform the Superintendent’s Mid-Cycle Review on 2/23.
Next meeting is Tuesday, February 23rd at 7:00 in the Aldermanic Chamber of Melrose City Hall. All are welcome!