The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, January 15, 1999


Silber to speak at Carlisle School

Dr. John Silber will be the featured speaker at the Carlisle Education Forum on Saturday, March 27. Mark your calendar now for what promises to be an interesting and well-attended event. Silber, chair of the Massachusetts Board of Education, former president and current chancellor of Boston University, and former gubernatorial candidate, has been outspoken about the need for education reform and higher standards in public education.

Superintendent Davida Fox-Melanson's announcement that Silber had agreed to speak here elicited a response of amazement and delight at the Carlisle School Committee meeting on January 5. Silber had been suggested as a speaker at a previous meeting, but none of the members had really expected him to agree. Fox-Melanson's persistence paid off after several letters and phone calls. She has not spoken to Silber directly and does not yet know the topic, but she hopes that he will take questions from the audience. The date, on the same weekend as the seventh-grade play, was chosen by Silber, she noted.

Water quality

Moving on to other matters, Fox-Melanson shared a letter from Steve Opolski, chair of the Carlisle Board of Health, praising director of buildings and grounds David Flannery for his work maintaining the school's public water system. The board of health had been reviewing a sampling plan for the testing of lead in drinking water at Concord-Carlisle High School. When they checked with Flannery about the situation at Carlisle School, they were pleased to find that there was already a sampling plan in place and that test results show lead levels well below the acceptable limit.

Integrated preschool

The new integrated preschool program at the Carlisle School has been a success, special education director Linda Stapp told the school committee. The program was conceived last year, organized over the summer, and opened in September with four special needs and seven neighborhood children. Since November, the preschool has been at full capacity with 15 children.

The preschool serves three- and four-year-old special needs children who would otherwise be placed in out-of-town programs. They attend the school five mornings a week. The neighborhood children, also three and four years old, join the class three mornings a week.

Stapp reported that interest is strong for next year. Children currently in the program will be coming back or moving up to kindergarten, leaving space for only four or five new neighborhood children. The spaces may have to be filled by lottery, Stapp suggested. She also noted that the tuition for neighborhood children will increase slightly to make it comparable to other preschools in town.

Long-term capital plan

School business manager Eileen Riley presented a long-term capital expenditure plan to the school committee for discussion. Many maintenance tasks, which have been deferred, appear on the list and there are also cyclical maintenance items which should be done on schedule.

The single largest item, replacement of the Robbins Building roof-top heating/ventilation unit, which was shown to be inadequate in an engineering review, will be requested as a separate Warrant article at the upcoming Town Meeting. The town will receive partial reimbursement for the project from the state's school building assistance bureau. The total cost is estimated at $139,700.

The sum of other maintenance and repair items on the list for FY00 came to $219,500. The plan also shows $162,000 in requests for FY01 and $149,500 for FY02.This is the accumulation of many years of deferred work. For FY99, the school requested and received only $6,000 for the replacement of a leaking water tank, with the balance of the requests deferred to future years.

Riley also reported that the school operating budget for the current year, FY99, is in good shape with no known overruns at this time.


The school committee was grateful for a gift of funds donated by Nicole Burkel in the name of her elementary school children, Julian and Megan Allison, for the purchase of classroom dictionaries.

1999 The Carlisle Mosquito