Friday, October 6, 2006
Shorts from the Carlisle School Committee, Sept. 20
• Foreign language enrollment. In grades 5 through 8 there are 196 students taking Spanish, 104 students taking French and 72 taking Chinese.
• Bus, kindergarten fees. Roughly three out of four students in seventh and eighth grade have paid the $395 charge to ride the daily school bus, and 88% of kindergartners have signed up for the full-day program, which costs $775 per student. School Business Manager Heidi Zimmerman presented the breakdown of the bus and kindergarten fees. Six kindergarten students were not yet funded for full-day kindergarten. CSC member Michael Fitzgerald said the bus fee is one that he would like to see removed.
Bus fees began in 2000. The kindergarten fee began about the same time, when the full-day program began. State law requires towns to offer free half-day kindergarten, but fees may be charged for extended hours. Last year the fee for full-day kindergarten was $575.
• Rental request by Jain Sangh. Buildings and Grounds Supervisor David Flannery spoke to the committee regarding a request by the religious organization Jain Sangh of New England. The group has requested the rental of seven classrooms one Sunday each month. They are presently renting space at a school in Billerica, but due to rent increases are looking for another spot for a pathshala (Sunday school for adults and children). Jainism is a religion and philosophy that dates back to ancient India. It stresses self-control and non-violence. Classrooms can be rented by a non-profit organization for $15 per hour per classroom; however custodian costs can be significant. No decision was reached on the rental proposal.
• Wilkins boilers. The project to replace the Wilkins boilers is continuing. A walk-through for bidders was to be conducted during the week, Flannery reported. He expects the installation of the boiler would be conducted by the end of November. Though there are presently two boilers, one is not working. The one working boiler would not be able to heat the building sufficiently if the weather turned very cold, Flannery warned. Due to the age of the boilers (40 years) no repairs could efficiently be done.
• Calendar change. A change to the school calendar was discussed, to be voted on at the next meeting. The MCAS testing held in March occurs close to the date of an early release day, March 20, which is then followed by a professional day on March 21. To allow more time for student testing, School Superintendent Marie Doyle proposed moving the early release day to March 27, and the professional day to March 28.
• Title I funding increase. Zimmerman informed the School Committee that approximately $24,000 in Title I funds have been given to Carlisle School. Title I funds are used to support math or reading education, and had been used in the past to help fund a math specialist. Anticipating no Title I funds for the '06-'07 school year, the current school budget includes a math specialist salary. Reached later by phone, Zimmerman explained the $24,000 can be applied to either the math or reading specialist's salary, freeing up the budgeted amount to cover other expenses.
• Financial reporting revisions. Zimmerman presented the "Town of Carlisle, Massachusetts Report on Applying Agreed-Upon Procedures over Compliance Applicable to Massachusetts School Districts' End-of-Year Pupil and Financial Report" for the fiscal year which ended on June 30, 2005. The purpose of the audit is to report on "noncompliance with the agreed-upon procedures." Three "findings" were noted, which Zimmerman classified as extremely minor. Reached later for comment, she explained the findings are related to different forms being used, and does not indicate a problem. The school does not need to take further action. Zimmerman is currently working on the '05-'06 End of Year Report.
• Summer projects. Highlights of summer projects include: painting of two classrooms in Wilkins, the Corey Dining Room, the Corey Auditorium, and the Spalding business office; the Corey gym floor was refinished; high efficiency lighting installed over Corey stage; new furniture for two middle school science rooms and elementary art room; new lockers for two middle school classrooms; Spalding termite bait traps outside the building were inspected over the summer with some evidence of activity. No evidence of pest activity was seen inside the building. A 1988 Dodge van, formally used by the town dog catcher, was received and will be used to transport materials, supplies and equipment, and transport recyclable materials to the Transfer Station.
© 2006 The