Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Worcester School Committee meets Thursday, January 17

and this is a late posting on this...apologies...
The agenda for this meeting is here.
The T&G has already highlighted a few of the big things at this meeting: the report of the superintendent is on the health curriculum, in which it appears the administration has bowed to those on the committee who want a less comprehensive, less researched-based curriculum, contrary to what the Board of Health and many others have endorsed; the October 1 enrollment report is back with the news that enrollment is up, which will bump the foundation budget up, of course, but--important note--not enough to cover costs, and at some point, where we're going to put these kids is going to need to be dealt with; and the Committee is being asked to submit Burncoat High as its number one priority for major renovation/rebuild to the Mass School Building Authority (the T&G hasn't had that one, but do note it). Also note the various facilities-related items below.

I would say, as always, that if any of the above--like the health curriculum?--concerns you, you should get in touch with the School Committee ahead of the meeting.
Also, the School Committee will be voting in a new Vice-Chair.
Beyond the usual array of recognitions, appointments, resignations, and retirements, the following is also on the agenda:
  • a response on how principals are chosen; having had new principals at multiple schools in this administration, it is news to me that parents have been involved. Let's say that isn't being...shared.
  • responses around participation in reading programs
  • a response on participation in Recreation Worcester
  • an update on the use of the facilities master plan, and it doesn't appear that anyone is talking to the city about the woeful underfunding of capital for the Worcester Public Schools...the report had a $72M backlog that were considered "urgent," remember.
  • an update on the 2018 accelerated repair projects, which is the Harlow Street windows, roof, and boiler
  • an response on the use of SchoolDude, giving the dismaying statistics of WPS facilities funded at 50 cents a square foot, or 60% of the foundation budget; in FY17, the district spent $20.8M and the foundation budget was $35.9M
  • a response on family emails
  • the IRS has updated mileage rates, and so the School Committee is being asked to do likewise
  • a reminder that the Worcester Historical Museum's annual Valentine contest is coming up
  • several committee members are looking for a report on any “any case of tort including assaults on teachers and principals, in connection with their employment,” pursuant to the teachers' contract 
  • there is a request to consider raising substitute pay
  • there is a request for a report on Advanced Placement to "include student/parent feedback, guidelines and costs for the exams" and thank you, because some of us have THOUGHTS
  • the audits are coming back! No backup, but they'll be there for the subcommittee
  • there is a request to approve the Parent/Child Home grant for $25,000 through HeadStart
  • there is a request to approve the targeted assistance grant from the Barr Foundation for $150,000, and while it's going to the middle schools, it doesn't say what it's going to be spent on, so maybe someone should ask that
  • there is a request to approve the ArtREACH grant for $3920 for a visiting artist to work in art classes which sounds cool
  • there is a request to receive $2500 to create a scholarship for North High students by the family of Elizabeth Reidy
  • there are requests to approve prior year payments $5,489.78 to Zonar Systems for student transportation GPS service charges; $1,682.00 to be made payable to the CollegeBoard; $430.50 to CliftonLarsonAllen LLP for the 2016 Student Activity Account Agreed Upon Procedures Review; $11,167.82 to be made payable to SEEM Collaborative for services rendered 
  • there are requests to receive donations: $3,086 from Worcester Technical High School’s Tech Pride Club to the ALS Association MA Chapter in honor of teacher James Scanlon; $500 from the Forest Grove Middle School’s National Junior Honor Society to the Ava Roy Fund; $1,000 from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care to Chandler Magnet School to replenish non-perishable items for the food pantry; $1,000 from the Special Olympics (The Yawkey Sports Training Center) to the Unified Sports Program at Worcester Technical High School; $15,000 from the Journey Community Church to Belmont Street Community School for Chromebooks; $4,700 from WEDF/CSX Grant to Grafton Street School; $1,495.27 from Mixed Bag Designs to Lake View School; $500 from WEDF for Opera Meets Lake View School; $4,250 from various donors at UMASS to Lake View School 
There is also a completely non-specific posting of an executive session, which is still not okay. 

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