The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, December 3, 2010

RSC shorts, November 23

Bullying. Director of Teaching and Learning Kathy Codianne explained to the Concord-Carlisle Regional School Commitee (RSC) on November 23 that every public school in Massachusetts is required to submit a Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan to the Department of Education. The “Mental Health Team,” comprised of school counselors, school psychologists, school social workers, the Director of Special Education, the Director of the Center for Teachers and Parents and Codianne, drafted a plan. Codianne said it was a consistent program from K through12. The theme of the plan is for students to be kind, show empathy and mindfulness on how they treat each other. She emphasized that it is “everybody’s job” to teach about bullying. “Everyone is a mandated reporter.” It is important to listen to a child and get information to a person who can investigate [a bullying incident]. Superintendent Diana Rigby added that it is important to teach students to be kind and to teach adults to intervene.

The comprehensive plan calls for ongoing professional development so staff have the tools to create a school climate that promotes safety, civil communication and respect for differences. Staff will learn to prevent, identify and respond to bullying. The plan defines anti-bullying activities. Policies and procedures for reporting and responding to bullying and retaliation are also established.

Currently, the 17-page plan is in draft form. It will be sent to the state for feedback.

Enrollment projections. Deputy Superintendent John Flaherty gave an overview of the new enrollment projections provided by the New England School Development Council (NESDEC). He said that the report is based on birth rates, but added that “birth rates don’t capture everything that happens in this town.” He noted that many parents start families in other towns and then move into Concord and Carlisle when their children get of school age. RSC member Jerry Wedge said large numbers of kids had moved into the district in the past year. Flaherty said, “We now have three new elementary schools,” which is a draw for young families.

This year, enrollment at CCHS is 1,221. NESDEC is projecting an enrollment increase of about 43 students over the next ten years. The enrollment is estimated to be 1,211 in 2011, 1,203 in 2012, 1,211 in 2013 and 2014, 1,232 in 2015, 1,215 in 2016, 1,219 in 2017, 1,239 in 2018, 1,253 in 2019 and 1,264 in 2020. The high school renovation is being designed to accommodate 1,225 students. Wedge stated he was concerned that the renovated school would attract many new families to the region, driving up enrollment and leading to overcrowding.

CCHS budget for 2011-2012. Deputy Superintendent John Flaherty gave an overview of the CCHS budget for next year, FY12. It is a 2.34% increase without debt service included. It is a 3% increase over this year’s budget with debt service included. He pointed out that this increase is significantly lower than the increases of the last few years which have ranged from 4.3% to almost 6% annually. An additional 1.12% increase is due to Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB), which is a liability the region will incur when current employees become retirees. Therefore, the proposed operation budget for FY12 including debt service and OPEB will be an increase of 4.12%. This year’s budget for FY11 is $22,498,427. The proposed budget for FY12 is $24,049,443. The debt service next year decreases significantly from $1.124 million to $754,000, a $370,000 savings.

In the proposed FY12 budget, regular education will be increasing by 4%, special education will be decreasing by 1.25%, administration will be increasing by 3%, operations will be increasing by 4% and fixed costs will be increasing by 1.5%. Flaherty is concerned that insurance costs may go up by 15%. He has a 9 to 10% increase in the preliminary budget. RSC Chair Louis Salemy said the budget is basically flat from this year to next year. “Carlisle is very happy with the proposed budget.”

Citizen comments. Lee Ann Kay of Concord and Sally Naumann of Carlisle spoke to the RSC about the dangers of homosexual behaviors. Naumann said, “Directing teens into homosexuality sends them into a culture of alcohol and drug abuse.” Kay felt there is a large difference between straight and gay individuals and the Youth Risk Behavior Survey could be improved by differentiating between the two groups. Naumann railed against the gay and lesbian CCHS teachers who had participated in a panel discussion several weeks ago at CCHS. Naumann feels homosexuality is a learned behavior. “It’s very dangerous,” and students should be advised “not to go into it.” ∆

© 2010 The Carlisle Mosquito