Friday, May 23, 2008
Shorts from the Concord-Carlisle Regional School Committee, May 13
• Additional state aid. Additional state aid for the Concord-Carlisle Regional High School (CCHS) was announced at the May 13 meeting of the Regional School Committee (RSC). CCHS will receive $179,751 from the state’s extraordinary relief fund to offset the large spike in out-of-district placement costs for special education this year. The special education circuit breaker program includes a provision that allows districts to apply for extraordinary relief when certain special education costs exceed 125% of the previous year’s claimed costs.
• BioTeach Award. CCHS biology teacher Jennifer Benson was awarded a BioTeach grant worth $10,000 in lab equipment and professional development. BioTeach provides public high school science teachers with lab equipment, supplies and professional development to incorporate biotechnology into the biology curriculum. CCHS Principal Peter Badalament said, “This grant will provide great training for teachers and great equipment for the department.” Schools are selected on the basis of the thoughtfulness and practicality of their plan, the potential to reach students at all levels and the plan’s sustainability in subsequent years.
• New Fields dedication June 8. The two new artificial turf fields behind the high school are almost done. RSC member Peter Fischelis said, “Those fields are looking great. The berm keeps the noise down.” There will be a dedication for the new fields on June 8. Outgoing RSC Chair Michael Fitzgerald said, “It’s a great addition to the high school campus.”
• School schedules to be revisited. CCHS will be starting at 7:25 a.m. instead of 7:35 a.m. in the fall to achieve compliance with the Department of Education’s (DOE) minimum of 990 hours a year of student learning time. The RSC is putting together a new group to study the school and bus schedules of six schools (Concord elementary and middle schools and CCHS) to see if a more optimal schedule can be designed. The previous study group looked predominately at the CCHS schedule. A few members of the RSC and the administration will organize a structure for the new study group and bring recommendations to the next RSC meeting.
• Fitzgerald thanked, voted special negotiator. After six years, it was Michael Fitzgerald’s last meeting as a regional school committee member. RSC member Jan McGinn said, “His illustrious public service at Concord-Carlisle is coming to a close. He has done everything here. He’s kept track of headcount and where the dollars are. There’s a lot in his head. He’s done so much for our communities.” RSC member Jerry Wedge added his praise, “Michael has been an ambassador to Concord. I hope the town [of Carlisle] will put forth a candidate that is as dedicated.” Finn added, “He has worked closely with us. … We are going to be diminished as a team. It’s a better place because of your [Fitzgerald’s] work.” Fitzgerald, who is also a graduate of CCHS, said, “It’s been a real honor to work for this school district …Thank you all.”
Fitzgerald’s work with the RSC has not ended completely. He is still engaged short-term in ongoing discussions concerning contract issues with the teachers’ union about the state’s 990-hour “time on learning” mandate. The RSC voted to appoint him as special negotiator. ∆
© 2008 The