In Attendance we have Superintendent – Dr. Kristan Rodriguez, Assistant Superintendent – Dr. Katie Novak and all seven school committee members present.

  • Activity Fees Presentation – HS Principal Mr. Mastrullo  {CLICK HER FOR FULL PRESENTATION}
    • The presentation in summary was to change the user fee model to not be based on enrollment but to be an approximate cost of $60/per student across board throughout the school.  The students could join endless clubs at a more affordable costs, however students that do not participate in clubs would be asked to pay for a user fee for clubs they are choosing not to participate in.  According to the presenters there are other public school districts that offer this but they did not identify which districts did. For those that are thinking…. can that legally be done?  Per the MASC this morning (March 25th) it can NOT be legally done. We are not permitted to charge a mandatory user fee to all students.  We can only charge participants of the clubs, activities or sports a user fee. 
  • FY 2017 Budget Overiew Presentation – Jeff Kubick
    • This was a summary that explains the process of how the needs assessment came about, findings and solutions needed to stop the decline of our district.  Jeff Kubick did a fantastic job with this presentation and I would highly recommend you trying to make it to one of the upcoming information sessions over the next couple weeks to hear it in person and ask any questions you may have. You can click here to find the date/time of the next upcoming sessions:  SCHEDULE OF INFORMATION SESSIONS
  • Dunstable School Committee Members Jennifer McKenzie and Stephanie Cronin shared with the school committee the discussions they have had with Dunstable community members.  There was some concerns about funding the FY17 school budget at one of the information sessions this week; however after sharing information about the underfunded mandates, the decrease of state funding and the clarification that this is not a spending problem it is a revenue problem they are now supportive of the needs assessment budget and funding it in FY17.
  • There is a webpage that corralled all of the information pertaining to the revenue problem, needs assessment and solutions to make it more convenient to learn about the challenges we are facing in our district.  You can see that page at http://gdrsd.org/needs-assessmentfy17-budget/
  • School Committee discussed establishing a District Sustainability Advisory Committee.  The Budget and Finance Committee would strategize on the scope of work that such a committee would be charged with and report back to the school committee at a later date.  No formal vote was taken to establish this committee.
  • FY17 Budget Communications Update – Several sessions are expected to be added to the list of information sessions and the SC invites requests for community members to host individual gatherings in which they would be willing to attend. You can reach out to Jeff Kubick if you would like to schedule a small gathering for your circle of friends at jkubick@gdrsd.org
  • Superintendent Evaluation Discussion – The school committee will begin the evaluation process for the Superintendent so the current school committee members that have been on the committee for the last year can all participate in that process prior to the town election where there is a possibility of having two new school committee members elected to the board.  I am going to give myself a shameless plug as I have attended all school committee and workshops meetings throughout the last year and I am a candidate for the Groton-Dunstable School Committee in the upcoming election. Although I 100% agree with evaluating the Superintendent prior to the election…. put me in coach because I am truly capable of evaluating the Superintendent.  You can find my G-D School Committee candidacy page at https://www.facebook.com/MG4GD/?fref=ts

Meeting adjourned at 9:15pm

Members of the School Committee and Dr. Rodriguez will hold several upcoming information sessions on the Groton-Dunstable FY2017 Budget, the needs which are driving the budget, and the revenue problem facing both our schools and towns.

I hope you will be able to attend one of these upcoming sessions to educate yourself on the budget before voting at Town Meeting and the spring election.  This information will also be posted on the GDRSD website shortly, and will be updated as new sessions are added.

Date Time Event Location
Thursday, March 24th 12:00 PM Groton Rotary Club Pepperell Senior Center
Wednesday, March 30th 7:00 PM Budget Information Session Middle School PAC
Saturday, April 2nd 10:30 AM Budget Information Session Groton Library
Monday, April 4th 1:00 PM Groton Seniors Groton Senior Center
Wednesday, April 14th 7:00 PM Swallow Union APT Meeting Swallow Union Library

Last night’s meeting was a breath of fresh air compared to some previous joint meetings of the three boards.  I witnessed for the first time…. maybe even in Groton history all three boards voted in agreement for a town override.  In addition I heard a general consensus in identifying two main hurdles that our town needs to overcome to better prepare for our towns future.

 

  1. It is in the best interest of our entire town to stop the decline of our schools before it affects our residential property values. 
  2. Our schools & municipal have a revenue problem.

How do we overcome hurdle #1?  We all as taxpayers NEED to attend town meeting on April 25, 2016 and approve our school budget and on May 17, 2016 we NEED to vote at the ballot to approve the override to fund both our municipal and our schools.  

How do we overcome hurdle #2?  This should be a two-part process that should promote efficient spending and generating revenue.  A taxpayer asked for a time line in which progress would be made in addressing this hurdle.  I feel as taxpayers we should receive a scheduled update on progress and an anticipation of when smart goals would be implemented. The BOS & Fin Com respectfully requested a progress matrix for our schools needs assessment and were right in asking for that info.  I think it is a realistic request for this as well.  

On the promoting efficient spending side, we are already underway. The BOS has establish a Sustainability Committee. To my understanding they will use their skills and creative insight in researching the history of our budgets and find better ways to promote efficient spending on our municipal side. I expect them to bring forth smart goals for our town. The smart goals should be followed both by the municipal and school governing bodies to ensure that every tax dollar is being spent in an effectively and efficient manner. These smart goals should not cause a decrease in quality of living nor a decrease in the quality of our schools.

On the revenue side, the BOS should consider establishing a separate or Joint Committee on Revenue to use their skills and creative insight in researching what other mirroring town have done to increase revenue without compromising quality of living in their towns.  I feel that a separate committee is needed for this because the committee members chosen for this task will need to have a different set of skills than the sustainability committee.  How do you think we should tackle the revenue challenge in our town? Do you feel we should have this type of committee? Do you have a more inventive idea to share? Provide your feedback to the BOS via email: selectmen@townofgroton.org

An inspirational meeting that united all boards in establishing a road that can be traveled together in a collaborative manner was adjourned roughly at 8:15pm.

 

 

 

In attendance is the Superintendent – Dr. Kristan Rodriguez, Assistant Superintendent – Dr. Katie Novak, Director of Business & Finance – Jared Stanton, School Committee members – Alison Manugian, Leslie Lathrop, Jeff Kubick, Stephanie Cronin, Jennifer McKenzie, Jon Sjoberg and Pete Cronin is joining remotely.

The meeting opened with standing room only.

  • Lorrie Stewart presented a background of the Groton Dunstable Football Club that is currently not being funded by the district. They would like the district to have maintenance to line the fields in 2016-2017 and in 2018 take on the responsibility of the Groton Dunstable Football Club and include them into the district sports.

You can see the entire presentation here: GDFFCC PRESENTATION

Lining of the field as well as the responsibility of funding this club is over due and is yet another reason why our needs assessment budget is so incredibly important.  These Parents have been paying taxes and supporting various municipal services and projects in our town over the last 8 years while they worked their tail off to keep a valuable sport alive for the children of GDRHS. It is time for the town to support our schools in the same capacity as the parents of our town have supported municipal services.  

  • Field Trip – Big Book Exhibit UN was presented by Diane Repaal/Ann Polaski – vote taken and approved unanimously
  • Homework Study Analysis was presented by Dr. Novak can be seen at the GDRSD website
  • Chapter 70 Resolution – vote taken and approved unanimously information on this resolution can be seen at this website http://www.suburbancoalition.org/
  • School Calendar – discussions continued about what holidays should be listed on the calendar.
  • School Budget Vote – vote taken by the school committee to fund the entire needs assessment.  The school budget passed 6/1

This does NOT mean our schools will get the funds they need.  This is just the beginning and you will need to step forward and help the SC efforts in educating and advocating for the budget to fund our schools needs.  Our school budget must be voted in at town meeting and again at the ballot through an override. 

  • April 25, 2016 – Town Meeting 
  • May 17, 2016 – Election Day & Date to vote on proposition 2 1/2

Mark your calendars,  get sitters or bring the children and give them an education on how our government works. 

If you want to get involved and advocate for our children now is the time.  CLICK HERE TO LEARN OUT TO HELP