In attendance is Jon Sjoberg, Stephanie Cronin, Jeff Kubick, Jennifer McKenzie, Alison Manugian, Leslie Lathrop, Peter Cronin, Superintendent Dr. Kristan Rodriguez and Jared Stanton, Director of Business and Finance.
Peter Cronin as the Chair of the Public Communication and Community Engagement Advisory Committee presented the power presentation of the PCCE Assessment to the SC tonight.
- Communications has been a historical SC priority and continues to be so today. However limited resources vs effort required for comprehensive communication and the concern about possible Open Meeting Law violations are key factors that are limiting SC communications despite its acknowledged importance.
- Current SC communications consists predominately of mandated postings to comply with MA Open Meeting Laws.
- Understanding key constituent groups, their top communications needs and the most effective channel through which we reach them is essential for strategic communications planning. Top priorities include district performance, goals, strategy, finance and budget.
Three SC members were newly established as the signatories for warrant articles due to the recent 24 hour time restrictions in which the warrants must be reviewed and endorsed. Jeff Kubick, Alison Managuan and Leslie Lathrop are the official warrant approval signatures however Jon Sjoberg and Peter Cronin made note that they are still interested in seeing the warrants although they are not able to endorse them within the 24 hour restriction due to their work schedules.
The Superintendent provided an estimate of 37.87 faculty members needed to solve the districts current needs. Strategic discussions began with the Superintendent Dr. Kristan Rodriguez opening the discussion of past staffing changes, current status and current needs. Currently we have still have many classes with students over 25, additional needs that align with the district goals that are not limited too but include social & emotional learning, licensed librarians at all levels (currently the MS & elementary school libraries can not be open at the same time because there is only one para professional that floats between the two libraries), reading teachers, a HS nurse (recommendation received in an official letter from the state due to numbers of enrollment) and SPED staff needed to accommodate the state required IEP requirements. Peter Cronin asked the Superintendent if the current needs is the solution to a challenge our district is currently facing and Superintendent did confirm that it does however it does not take into consideration a Capital or Technology plan. Clearly it is time for residents, the Board of Selectman and Finance Committees of both Dunstable and Groton to take notice of the NEEDS of our district and stand behind our schools.
Jon Sjoberg made a note that the Superintendent should be able to present what our district needs to the community; otherwise the SC is hand cuffing her hands. Alison Manugian expressed her concern that if we were to push forward the needs assessment verses the full ask that includes the technology and capital plan we may end up only obtaining a portion of the funds needed for the district.
Peter Cronin made a statement that he has spoken with many Fin Comm members and they have all stated that they support our schools. It is the SC that has not asked for the money, they have never been denied money that they asked for. At some point we will need to stop choosing to continue down a downward spiral of settling on what we feel we will get for funding verses requesting what our schools need.
Leslie Lathrop is concerned that if we go for the needs now then there is a good chance we will not be able obtain the technology and capital plan because we will never get a second override approved. I could not help myself but interject into the meeting by making the analogy of “If your child needs food you feed them, our children needs so we should be providing it to them”. Leslie Lathrop suggested that the alternative analogy could be that we wait and then provide the children enough food to last a life time. That would work if a child “educational health” was not what we were discussing because to me it is equal to their physical heath.
After sitting through tonight’s meeting it is clear to me that the SC would benefit from some input from the community. I feel that fear of not receiving the vote for two overrides to accommodate both our imediate needs and our future vision of a Technology & Capital plan could be prohibiting the SC from properly representing our children and what our community wants. If you want to see our children receive what they need in 2017 verses waiting for a futuristic date (2-3 years) while our children move through elementary, middle school or even the high school then I urge you to contact your school committee members. Send all your SC members emails, call them and when you see them around town make sure you tell them what you want for our Children.
SC Contact Info:
Advocate for your children. Our children’s needs have been identified, don’t deny them what they currently need so we can try to grasp onto a future goal.
Please feel free to cc me on your emails and I will be happy to post them on my blog.
A follow up blog to these minutes can be found here: Communicating & Collaborating With The SC