The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, June 13, 2008

Carlisle School Committee shorts, June 4


Student Council Co-President Vera Hanson, Sergeant-at-arms Tilly Barnett and Co-President Lauren Tierney describe the activities of the council at the CSC meeting on June 4. (Photo by Cynthia Sorn)

School facilitator. Former Carlisle School Committee (CSC) Chair Nicole Burkel summarized the work of consultant John Littleford, who was hired last year to help with management issues at the school after the teachers union issued a vote of no confidence in the superintendent. The Mosquito is currently seeking a copy of the facilitator’s final report through the Freedom of Information Act.

Superintendent’s salary. Action on Carlisle School Superintendent Marie Doyle’s salary is scheduled to be discussed at the Carlisle School Committee’s (CSC) meeting on August 19 at 4 p.m. to be held at the home of CSC member Dale Ryder. Although the meeting will be held on private property, CSC Chair Chad Koski confirmed that the public is invited to attend: “The summer workshop is an open meeting. We do plan to discuss the coming year, but we also have business that needs to be taken care of.”

Student Council wrap-up. Student Council members Vera Hanson (Co-President), Tilly Barnett (Sergeant-at-arms), and Lauren Tierney (Co-President) presented a synopsis of the council’s activities throughout the past year. The council is made up of students from the middle school in grades 6 to 8.

Many of the social activities the council sponsored this year also involved raising money or collecting items for charitable causes. For instance, during the Halloween dance they collected new and gently used coats for disadvantaged children. To raise funds for the protection of right whales, they collected used cell phones and cash donations at the “Underwater Dance.”

Another activity was their Secret Admirer program for Valentine’s Day. For a small fee middle school students could send an anonymous valentine. The council members checked each note for appropriateness, and attached a lollipop. To ensure all were included they wrote secret admirer notes to students who did not have one bought in their name.

Other activities included a film festival, a talent show, and creating an obstacle course for Field Day, a day in which students participate in outdoor sports and games at Spalding Field. School Guidance Counselor Kim Reed, who is the council’s advisor along with Special Educator Tracy Malone, praised their teamwork. “They really ran it independently,” she said. “It was a pleasure to work with them.”

Budget update. School Business Manager Heidi Zimmerman presented an update on the FY08 school budget status (see table below). Prior to the end of the fiscal year on June 30, the school may transfer funds within budget lines, so that unused funds under categories such as instruction salaries, special education, etc. may cover deficits in other categories such as instructional supplies ($128,418). As of May 31, Zimmerman was predicting a surplus of $11,356 in the $8.8 million budget. She said, “We still have things rolling in, but we are about right on target.”

Homework policy. The CSC rejected an updated homework policy because it was deemed to be unenforceable. CSC member William Fink explained, “I don’t feel we should pass it as it stands. I’ve had several discussions about this and I feel we are setting something under a policy that we couldn’t enforce.” In particular, he noted that the sections in the policy that ask parents to participate in homework should instead be guidelines. For instance, the homework plan for second graders expects: “an adult reads to them or they read to an adult daily for 15-20 minutes.” Middle school parents have a more direct requirement: “Parents of students in grades 6 - 8 are expected to: help their children to prioritize their time among the subjects and after school.”

“I thought about it also,” said Koski. “There are parts we have no business trying to enforce.” He felt it is impossible to enforce a policy that requires parents to do specific work. Superintendent Doyle said she would come back in the fall with a simplified policy.

Volunteer Hall of Fame. Doyle inducted former CSC members Nicole Burkel and Michael Fitzgerald into the Volunteer Hall of Fame. Each year two people are selected, “who have served the community well,” said Doyle. Burkel and Fitzgerald advocated for the students, she said, and are unsung heroes. Koski thanked both Fitzgerald and Burkel, and added that they may be called on to give advice. “I still have both your phone numbers,” he joked. ∆

© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito