The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, April 12, 2002


The following is a synopsis of the April 2 Carlisle School Committee meeting.

· Add 12 minutes to middle school day. Carlisle principal Andy Goyer presented a proposal for an addition of twelve minutes to the school day for grades five through eight. Homeroom would begin at 7:50 a.m. (five minutes earlier than in prior years), and school would end at 2:22 p.m. (seven minutes later than in prior years). He said no change would be made for grades one through four, and kindergarten hours will be dependent on the override passage and/or possible all-day kindergarten fees. This change is due to the anticipated bus schedule as presented to him by the bus company. Goyer said they would stagger the lunch times next year to allow more time for eating lunch, and he felt the middle school students would have plenty of time for changing classes between periods. He pointed out that the sixth, seventh and eighth graders will not be carrying backpacks between classes, which will help the traffic flow in the halls during class changes.

· Student placement. Director of special support services Dr. Linda Stapp and guidance counselor Lori Jackson presented draft copies of a student-placement information memo and a questionnaire to the committee members. Stapp told them a new task force has been created to assist the teachers in student placement for the next school year, and the memo and questionnaire would be sent to all parents in the spring to request input on their child's placement for the upcoming year. This is a pilot program and the task force was looking for input from the committee members regarding this process.

After reviewing the memo, committee member Paul Morrison, pointing to the wordiness of the memo, asked if the process would be overkill. Goyer responded, "What we're trying to do is bring a better balance. The teachers know the kids best. We, in administration and guidance, have more of an umbrella look." Committee member Harry Crowther asked, "What is different than in previous years?" Vice-principal Stephen Goodwin explained that, in the past, the placement was done almost exclusively by the teachers. In the new process the teachers would still make recommendations, but the administration and guidance team would have final responsibility for the placement. Committee member Suzanne Whitney Smith suggested the school publish the process in the school handbook. "Make it less like there's a big problem," added David Dockterman, worrying about the tone of the memo. Carlisle resident Nicole Burkel, attending the meeting as an observer, added, "People who know children the best are the teachers." Dockterman agreed, saying there is already anxiety out there about the placement process. Jackson thanked the committee for their input.

· Who makes the lunch? On a lighter note, Carlisle resident Maura Ferrigno presented a proposal to the committee for a lunch delivery service. She is interested in offering a "brown bag lunch" service that would consist of a limited selection of sandwiches, drink, snack and dessert. She felt the target customers would be mostly middle school students, who, for various reasons, will not eat the cafeteria food. She told the committee there are moms who are rushed in the morning and might not have time to make lunches during the week. "I'm the dad and I make the lunch," quipped Dockterman, generating a laugh. Superintendent Davida Fox-Melanson jokingly wondered if Dockterman was available to make lunches for the teachers and staff. "They will be the best customers," Fox-Melanson pointed out, noting the teachers often didn't have time to run to Daisy's for a quick sandwich. Business manager Eileen Riley voiced her concern about the effect the "brown bag" business would have on the school cafeteria, which is breaking even on costs at this point. She was concerned that any loss in revenue would cause school lunch prices to rise. Ferrigno responded by explaining the price she would have to charge, five or six dollars a lunch, would discourage a large customer base. Crowther asked what needed to be worked out for this proposal.

Ferrigno said she would like to have permission to deliver the lunches to the school, either before classes start or at lunchtime. Dockterman asked how the money would be collected and Ferrigno explained her business would be handled totally separate from the school. CSC member Paul Morrison asked if there was a question of liability. Fox-Melanson, who had met previously with Ferrigno to discuss the proposal, said the legal issues still needed to be explored.

Ferrigno said the business would be incorporated, licensed by the board of health and protected against liability with insurance. Whitney Smith made a note to add discussion of the proposal to the next CSC meeting after the legal issues are researched.

· School choice. The school committee meeting was suspended at 8 p.m., and a public hearing on school choice was called to order. The school committee briefly discussed the pros and cons of school choice and asked for public comments. No comments were given, so the public hearing was closed and the school committee meeting was resumed.

2002 The Carlisle Mosquito