Friday, May 1, 2009
Carlisle School Committee votes to lengthen kindergarten
The Carlisle School Committee (CSC) voted unanimously on April 23 to add one more afternoon session to the kindergarten program, effective next September. The new schedule will include full days on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and morning sessions on Tuesday and Thursday. Currently, kindergartners attend full days on Tuesday and Thursday and mornings on the remaining three weekdays.
Last month when the school committee discussed expanding the kindergarten program, Superintendent Marie Doyle said that the additional time would allow more time for students to master concepts and practice skills as well as provide more time for assessments.
Additional school committee business included a review of student fees, public hearings on the budget and on school choice, as well as updates on the school building project and the superintendency union.
Fees for next year
Anticipated fees were announced for sports and extracurricular activities for the 2009-2010 school year (see table below). Fees for transportation, varsity sports, intramurals and night band and choir were held at FY09 levels.
The CSC held a public hearing to determine whether or not to participate in the school choice program. If the CSC opts to open the school to students from other towns, the Carlisle School District would receive $5,000 for each student who attends from out-of-district. A formula is used to determine the cost for Special Education students.
A district that participates in the school choice program may open seats by grade level, thus controlling the number of students per class. However, once a student is accepted into the system via school choice, the student must be allowed to continue within that system. For Carlisle, a student accepted through school choice would be allowed to continue in Carlisle through the eighth grade.
Doyle suggested that the CSC decline participation in school choice for the coming year, but that a subcommittee be formed to explore this for the future. Noting that enrollment in the Carlisle School is projected to dip for several years, possibly as low as 510 students, before it returns to around 700 students in about 10 years, Doyle suggests a closer look at school choice as a method to allow some stability in teacher grade-level assignments.
The CSC voted unanimously not to accept students through school choice for the school year 2009-2010.
Carlisle School Business Manager Heidi Zimmerman provided an overview of the school budget. (The presentation is available on the school website at www.carlisle.k12.ma.us/district/business/budget_presentation%20_FY10.ppt.htm and a flyer will be sent to all townspeople outlining the school budget and expenses.) The format of the budget has been changed somewhat to match that used in Concord. The current spending level is $13,382 per student. Zimmerman noted that the budget “drivers” are salaries, supplies, services, transportation and out-of-district placements. In FY09 54% of the budget went to regular education, 21% to special education, 14% to operations and 11% to administration.
The CSC thanked School Building Committee Chair Lee Storrs for his work. Storrs stated that “there is a real push” to get information out. Storrs and CSC member Wendell Sykes spent a recent Saturday at the transfer station handing out flyers, and helping people become “informed.”
Storrs noted that the SBC has received a good deal of support from other town committees, stating that the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously on April 14 to join the Carlisle School Committee in its support of approval of Article 11. to appropriate $450,000 for a preliminary design for the replacement of the Spalding Building. Storrs added that the FinCom, Carlisle School Association and Carlisle Education Foundation also support passage of the article. Storrs also expects a positive response from the Carlisle School Council and the Long- Term Capital Requirements committee, both of which had not met at the time of the CSC meeting.
Doyle and CSC chair Chad Koski heartily thanked Storrs, with Koski adding, “Short of going door-to-door, I don’t know what else you can do.”
Consultants hired to complete a financial analysis of the costs or savings of creating a Superintendency Union with the Town of Concord are in the process of interviewing Carlisle School administrators about their job requirements. A report will be available by the end of the month and will be presented to the CSC at a future meeting (tentatively scheduled for May 20).
Doyle announced the receipt of $2,200 from a donor who wishes to remain anonymous. The sum was donated to pay for the DARE program.
Thanks to Zimmerman
Doyle thanked Zimmerman for her work as business manager, stating “You have the highest standards. You always go above and beyond. We will miss you.” Zimmerman left the Carlisle School on April 24 to become the student services and financial operations manager for the Lexington Public School District. ∆
© 2009 The