SC Meeting Cliff Notes – 11/29/17

This blog post is my interpretation and summary of discussions from meetings that I attend and are not official minutes.

In attendance was Superintendent – Dr. Laura Chesson, Assistant Superintendent – Dr. Katie Novak, Business & Finance Director – Micheal Knight and SC Members – Marlena Gilbert, Jeff Kubick, Peter Cronin, Jennifer McKenzie, Ryan McLane, Brian LeBlanc (by remote) and Angela Donahue.

  • Data Presentation District Performance – Dr. Novak presented the current state of our district in comparison to previous years, it is clear where funds have been strategically allocated we see improvements. Our District is committed to restructuring and reallocating all funds in a manner that directly impact student learning and performance; this will be evident in our upcoming budget and future budgets.
  • Enrollment Data – Dr. Chesson provided this months enrollment data, we are seeing an increase in enrollment in lower grades, although our higher grades have decreased through our prior years of decreased enrollment. This seems to correlate with the increase of residential construction in Dunstable and Groton which will affect the overall assessments to both towns as they are based on a five-year enrollment average.  
  • Central Office Relocation – The SC voted unanimously to move the Central office to the MS using the plan that utilizes modular rooms, classrooms and will leave the full use of the MS South Library as current. All savings will be reallocated back into the MS by way of updating our ancient library collections, updating equipment to allow for Maker Space/Computer Research area. 
  • Cafeteria Outsourcing – The SC chose to take no action. Legal counsel’s recommendation was to hold off until the contract is up for renewal to consider outsourcing. The District has a two-year contract with Seiu Local 888 Cafeteria which is up for renewal on June 30, 2019. In the meantime, the SC requested that administration task the Director of Food Services to establish a “business” plan or model that could implement changes that would increase participation, decrease costs and increase the quality of food. This plan/model will be presented to the SC at a future meeting.
  • Transportation – The SC took the following positions on Transportation. It is important to note that details on the process on how school start/end times, bus stops, and bus runs will be shared with the community once determined.
    • No Bus Fees
    • Reduce the current number of bus runs from three to two bus runs by way of delaying the start time of the HS. This will benefit our students educationally and will increase assigned ridership which is required to maintain our State reimbursement. 
    • Authorized administration to spend up to $30,000 to hire a Consultant and or purchase bus routing software. The administration is to utilize these tools to establish bus routes/stops that will increase assigned ridership on our buses to 75%. This should be done with the safety of our students as the priority. Our District MUST increase our assigned ridership to meet the State requirements of 75%, or we risk the loss of State Funding. Our students/parents may experience the inconvenience that will come with the change of bus stops and routes, but it is a necessity to prevent our District from losing approximately $1,000,000 in transportation reimbursement.  
    • Custodial Outsourcing/Privatization –  The SC unanimously voted for the administration to submit an RFP to outsource the entire Custodial Department. This vote ONLY allows the administration to obtain formal bids for outsourcing to enable the SC to have final costs for privatization. This information is required to make an educated decision versus working with estimates. The information will be brought forth to a future meeting for discussion, anticipation for this meeting would be February 2018.
    • Groton Community Dinner –  Gilbert updated the SC with the date in which they would be volunteering to cook and serve at the March 30, 2017, dinner.
    • Policies – The SC members agreed to reschedule policy discussions to December 6th meeting to allow time to enter into Executive Session to discuss contract negotiations. An abundance of policies are expected for first & second reads at our next meeting.