Friday, May 8, 1998

CSC adopts new residency policy

by Marjorie Johnson

A new residency policy for the Carlisle Public Schools is more flexible than the one that it replaces, but it carefully specifies the conditions under which children whose residency is in transition can attend the school. The old policy required that children sleep in town four nights a week with no exceptions. This meant that families moving into town shortly after Labor Day were not allowed to start their children in school here until they actually occupied the house. Other situations, such as when families were moving between homes in Carlisle or had to live elsewhere temporarily during renovations, posed problems. The new policy, which was approved by the CSC at their April 29 meeting, allows some exceptions to the old rule on a case-by-case basis.

The intent was to allow some flexibility while keeping the rules tight enough to prevent abuse, said CSC and residency committee member Deb Lyneis. She also noted that the use of the term "primary residence" in the policy was meant to keep a child from renting a room in a house to establish residency. The residency committee, whose members worked out this policy in many meetings included Lyneis, principal John McAleer, former school committee member Sherry Dillon, school committee candidate Paul Morrison, residents Valerie Holt and Larry Moschini.

SPED and affordable housing

CSC member Cindy Nock went with the Suburban Coalition to meet with state legislators and discuss special education funding. The message she brought back was that some legislators will fight against any funding for towns that do not meet the state requirement of ten-percent affordable housing. Legislators from urban areas

and from towns that have made the effort to provide affordable housing have little sympathy for their "rich" neighbors. Nock noted that housing is not an area where the school committee has jurisdiction, but she felt that the town as a whole should be aware of the potential consequences of inaction.

Evaluation of superintendent

Superintendent Davida Fox-Melanson's annual evaluation by the CSC was "glowing across all categories," and her performance was outstanding, announced Lyneis. She gave a detailed account of all the things that Fox-Melanson had done so well. The CSC was obviously very pleased with the work of the superintendent.


Fox-Melanson reported that letters of resignation had been received from school psychologist Hedy Cyker and from second-grade teacher Elizabeth MacDonald. MacDonald, who taught here for five years, was on a career exploration leave this year. Now she is pregnant and has decided to stay home with the baby. Cyker has been school psychologist for the past two years.


During budget discussions, the uncertainty of changes in staff during the summer is sometimes given as a reason why cuts or additions cannot be precisely predicted. The resignation of the two staff members above is an example. In addition, the enrollment continues to change. The on-campus enrollment as of October 1, 1997 was 691. During the year a few students have moved out, but more have moved in. The enrollment as of May 4, 1998 was 699.

Legislators will fight against any funding for towns that do not meet the state requirement of ten-percent affordable housing.