Friday, August 24, 2007
Shorts from the Regional School Committee, Aug. 9
• No push for Arena Farm land. The Arena Farm, situated on Route 2, is up for sale and was considered for high school use at the August 9 meeting of the Concord-Carlisle Regional School Committee (RSC). Concord Academy has offered to buy the 12- acre property for $3.6 million. The RSC had been asked by the Concord Board of Selectmen whether they would want the land. Fischelis said it could be a major benefit in the future and the opportunity is here today. "If we buy the land for $3.6 million, will it jeopardize other projects?" he asked. "We would have a lot on our plate to prioritize."
RSC member Fabian Fondriest wondered if the school district should buy it and then lease it to Concord Academy. Fitzgerald wondered if Concord Academy would want to have a cooperative agreement with the district. He also reasoned that they would want to develop the land for their program.
"We don't have a compelling reason to push for this. I don't think it's a smart move at this time with all the other things we are doing," said Fischelis. He thought the Town of Concord would not want to take it on either.
A motion passed to notify the Concord Board of Selectmen that the RSC could see a long term benefit but no immediate uses for the Arena Farm property.
• School building projects prioritized. School districts applying to the Massachusetts School Building Authority for funding for school renovation or replacement must submit a Statement of Interest (SOI) for each proposed project. The MSBA has asked each school district to prioritize the SOIs they have submitted. There is only one school project in the Concord-Carlisle Regional School District (CCHS) and only one in the Carlisle Public Schools District, so this is of no consequence for Carlisle. The Concord School Committee, which is looking for reimbursement funds for two school projects, decided to put the Willard Elementary School, currently in design phase, ahead of the Thoreau Elementary School, which is already built.
As of August 8, the MSBA had received 422 SOIs from 162 districts. Thirty schools have the lowest rating of "4", which makes them candidates for major renovation or replacement. The Spalding Building at the Carlisle Public Schools and the CCHS buildings are rated "4."
• Concord-Carlisle Adult and Community Education seeks funds. The Concord-Carlisle Adult and Community Education Task Force (CCACE) has been meeting and working on recommendations on how to close the budget gap. The CCACE would like the RSC to pay the director of CCACE. With budget cuts in the last five years, the RSC does not want to commit funds to CCACE. CCACE also felt funding could come from the Town of Concord. The task force has been focusing on other ways to raise money, such as charging more for classes taken by people who don't live in Concord or Carlisle. They will come to the September 25 RSC Meeting to make recommendations and have a public forum on this issue.
Fischelis said, "I want it to be well known that the RSC thinks CCACE is incredibly valued." Fitzgerald said, "CCACE is not on a precipice of failing." He wants the CCACE Program to have more accountability. "Who does the director report to? It needs to have additional management oversight....It's not a funding problem; it's a management problem."
• Asbestos at CCHS removed. Assistant Superintendent Diana Rigby said the asbestos has all been taken out of the CCHS cafeteria floor. They are laying the new floor now.
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