WACHUSETT REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT

HOLDEN PAXTON PRINCETON RUTLAND STERLING

Minutes

Regular Meeting #1028, Monday, September 10, 2001

7:00 p.m.

Media Center

Wachusett Regional High School

 

Committee Members Present:

John Rokicki, Chairman Duncan Leith

Sherry Horeanopoulos, Vice-Chairman David Lowenthal

Mary Copeland (7:15 PM) Peter MacDonald

Carol Esperti Kelly Maxwell

Kenneth Fensin John Nunnari

Michael Gennert Julie Scott

Jane James Kathleen Singh

Sarah Jordan (7:12 PM) Jeffrey Wentzell

Committee Members Absent:

Kimberly Ferguson Elizabeth Pape

Jeffrey Gibbs Rosemary Warren

Administration present:

Alfred D. Tutela, Ph. D., Superintendent

Paul K. Soojian, Director of Operations

Philip E. Campbell, Director of Student/Information Services

Joseph B. Rappa, Director of Administrative Services

Susan H. Sullivan, Executive Assistant to the Superintendent

Public present:

Linda Lehans, The Landmark

Richard Halloran, Worcester Telegram & Gazette

Maureen Floryan, Holden

Tammy Tod, Rutland

Cheryl Rosen, Holden

Cheryl Hollacher, Holden

Lorraine Neilan, Holden

Brian O’Donnell, Holden

Susan Holmes, Paxton (Chairman, Special Education Parent Advisory Council)

Donna Dominguez, Sterling

Sharlene O’Connor, Rutland

Susan Schneeweis, Sterling

Bonnie Decker, Sterling

Helja Lyons, Holden

Joe Dwelley, Holden

Ruth Grenoski, Holden

Chairman Rokicki took Agenda Item VII, A out of order. The Superintendent introduced the DOE Coordinated Program Review Final Report. He summarized the report and the rating criterion used by the Department of Education. The Superintendent introduced Philip Campbell, Director of Student/Information Services and Paul Soojian, Director of Operations who briefly explained the District’s plan to improve on items requiring a response (attachment 1). Director Campbell explained special education items and Director Soojian explained civil rights and Title I.

Discussion by the Committee followed the presentation. Questions and answers were exchanged between the administration and Committee members.

The Superintendent suggested, in response to Committee questions, that policy should be developed to determine gender bias and stereotypes in counseling materials.

The Superintendent reported that the District evaluates programs on a regular basis and reports to the Committee. He indicated that he would include a list of programs to be evaluated this year in his next report to the School Committee.

Chairman Rokicki returned to the agenda.

I. Secretary’s Report

    1. Approval of the 1027th Regular Meeting Minutes of the WRSD Committee held on August 13, 2001 – approved by consensus
    1. Treasurer’s Report
    1. Presentation of warrants and payrolls -- warrants were circulated for signature.

 

    1. Financial Statements
    2. Financial Statements were provided in the previous Superintendent’s Report. Chairman Rokicki reported that any questions for the Treasurer be referred to Business/Finance Subcommittee Chair Jeffrey Wentzell and questions for the Comptroller should be referred to the Superintendent.

    3. Public Hearing
    4. Susan Holmes, Paxton, Chairman of the Special Education Parent Advisory Council disagreed with the Superintendent’s grade of the DOE Coordinated Program Review. She indicated that she would give the report a D or D+. The SPED Parent Advisory Council, by law, should be developing and evaluating special education programs. She offered the involvement of the SPED Parent Advisory Council.

      Tammy Tod, Rutland, reminded the Committee that in 1998 she helped to resurrect the SPED Parent Advisory Council and, although it was an uphill battle, had the support of the administration. She believes that the SPED Parent Advisory Council should work with the School Committee.

      Ron Berquist, Sterling, reported that he and his child have run into problems with the District and had to contract the services of an attorney.

      Susan Holmes, Paxton, reported that students are denied services. Again she offered the services of the SPED Parent Advisory Council.

      Joe Dwelley, Holden, offered his help to evaluate programs.

      Brian O’Donnell, Holden, commented on the need for parents to purchase items for educational programs, i.e. calculators for Chicago Math. He also asked about the related arts program at Mountview Middle School.

    5. Communications
    6. Member Carol Esperti requested that the issue of bussing of students on dangerous roads be refer to the Business/Finance Subcommittee.

      Member Carol Esperti reported that the Boston Globe had an article on high school size. She will forward it the Superintendent for inclusion in the next Superintendent’s report.

      Member Kathleen Singh received communication regarding tryouts for high school athletic teams, in particular girls soccer. She had been told that 75% of the girls chosen were from Holden. She asked that the concern be passed on to the coaches.

      Member Singh received communication from several concerned citizens regarding the high school article in The Landmark back-to-school issue.

      Chairman Rokicki will utilize this section of the agenda for items included in the packets only. He encouraged members to forward items to the Superintendent at least by Thursday morning.

    7. Committee Reports
    1. Student Advisory Committee
    2. No report.

    3. Management Subcommittee (J. Rokicki -- Chair, M. Copeland, C. Esperti, S. Horeanopoulos, D. Leith, K. Maxwell, K. Singh, J. Wentzell)
    4. Management Subcommittee will meet on Wednesday, October 3rd, at 6:30 PM in the Superintendent’s Conference Room, Jefferson School District Offices.

    5. Education Subcommittee (M. Copeland – Chair, K. Ferguson, S. Jordan, D. Lowenthal, J. Nunnari, E. Pape, R. Warren)
    6. The Education Subcommittee will meet on Thursday, October 4th, 7:30 PM, Curriculum Center, Jefferson School District Offices.

      Chairman Rokicki referred the issue of SPED Parent Advisory Council participation to the Education Subcommittee.

      The Superintendent responded to several concerns expressed by the public at the public hearing. He reported that the staff is dedicated and compassionate. When the District is wrong, change is made and staff is dealt with.

      The Superintendent emphasized that he wanted to report to the School Committee first with a detailed presentation. Apparently the SPED Parent Advisory Council received the booklet simultaneously or before.

      Tammy Tod, Rutland, distributed Chapter 766 Parent Advisory Council Regulation (attachment 2).

    7. Finance/Business Subcommittee (J. Wentzell – Chair, K. Fensin, J. Gibbs, J. James, D. Leith, P. MacDonald, J. Rokicki, J. Scott)
    8. The Subcommittee Meeting scheduled for Wednesday, October 3rd, at 6:00 PM at the Curriculum Center, Jefferson School District Offices will be re-scheduled.

      The bussing safety issue was referred to this Subcommittee.

    9. Ad Hoc Subcommittee to Review the Regional Agreement (S. Horeanopoulos – Chair, D. Leith, J. Rokicki, K. Singh, J. Wentzell)
    10. The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, September 18th, 6:30 PM at the Curriculum Center, Jefferson School District Offices.

    11. Ad-Hoc Subcommittee to Review the School Committee By-Laws
    12. 1. Motion: To amend the School Committee By-Laws, Article 3, Section 2 to read "Action of the Committee shall require a majority vote OF THE MEMBERSHIP as defined by Robert’s Rules of Order unless otherwise specified by law, by the School Committee By-Laws, or by the Regional Agreement."

      (J. Wentzell)

      (D. Leith)

       

       

      Motion: To table the motion.

      (J. Wentzell)

      (D. Leith)

      Vote:

      In favor:

      John Rokicki

      Sherry Horeanopoulos

      Mary Copeland

      Kenneth Fensin

      Michael Gennert

      Jane James

      Sarah Jordan

      Duncan Leith

      David Lowenthal

      Peter MacDonald

      Kelly Maxwell

      John Nunnari

      Julie Scott

      Kathleen Singh

      Jeffrey Wentzell

      Opposed:

      None

      Abstained:

      Carol Esperti

      (Motion 15-0-1)

    13. Ad-Hoc Subcommittee -- Member Town Funding Inequities (S. Horeanopoulos, K. Maxwell, J. Rokicki, K. Singh, J. Wentzell)
    14. The committee will be meeting on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, to finalize the report, which will be presented to the School Committee at the Special Meeting scheduled for September 25, 2001.

      Member Michael Gennert requested that the inequity in the tax rates among the member towns be addressed in the full report.

    15. School Building Committees
    1. Holden – (J. Scott)

The Superintendent reported that issues of concern for the District have been sent to the architect for inclusion on the final punch list as the date for substantial completion approached.

2. Paxton – (J. Wentzell)

The Superintendent reported that the fire alarm system went out on Friday. Staff was assigned to check the building several times. Paxton Electric is not supporting it anymore. It will be repaired on September 20th. Overtime will be used in order to monitor the building.

3. Rutland – (J. Rokicki)

The committee will be meeting later this month.

    1. Sterling – (S. Jordan)

The Parking lot expansion will be done in the spring.

    1. School Council Representatives: Central Tree Middle School – J. Nunnari, Chocksett – P. MacDonald; Davis Hill – M. Copeland; Dawson – J. Scott; Houghton – S. Jordan; Mayo – C. Esperti; Mountview – J. James; Naquag – J. Rokicki; Paxton – R. Warren; Thomas Prince – S. Horeanopoulos; Wachusett Regional High School – E. Pape

Principals will be contacted with names and addresses of School Council representatives.

    1. Recommendations and Reports of the Superintendent

A. Presentation of DOE Coordinated Program Review

See above. (Chairman Rokicki brought this item forward.)

Member David Lowenthal left the meeting at 9:02 PM.

    1. Motion: To appropriate $23,600 reimbursement from Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance to the Building Maintenance Account, per the Superintendent’s recommendation

(S. Jordan)

(D. Leith)

Vote:

In favor:

John Rokicki

Sherry Horeanopoulos

Mary Copeland

Carol Esperti

Kenneth Fensin

Michael Gennert

Jane James

Sarah Jordan

Duncan Leith

Peter MacDonald

Kelly Maxwell

John Nunnari

Julie Scott

Kathleen Singh

Jeffrey Wentzell

Opposed:

None

(Motion passed 15-0)

    1. Unfinished Business
    2. Public Hearing
    3. Tammy Tod, Rutland, thanked the Chairman for considering the concerns of the SPED Parent Advisory Council. She complimented the special education staff in regards to her child but wants all children to have the same consideration as her children.

      Member David Lowenthal returned to the meeting at 9:08 PM.

      Maureen Floryan, Holden, read a prepared statement (attachment 3).

    4. New Business
    5. Chairman Rokicki reminded the Committee that the Regional Selectboard will be meeting on September 19th.

      Chairman Rokicki reminded the Committee of the Special Meeting on Saturday, September 15th. Members Duncan Leith and Kenneth Fensin will not be able to attend.

      Member David Lowenthal expressed concern about the NEASC process. He believes that the School Committee is ultimately responsible and should not have turned over responsibility to the Superintendent and the School Principal.

      The Superintendent expressed concern for condemnation of a staff member. It is acceptable to disagree with a staff member but not condemnation. He suggested that the Committee deal with the long-term solution for the high school.

      Members expressed concern with factual information included in Member Lowenthal’s correspondence. It was confirmed that the responsibility for NEASC is with the high school principal.

      Motion: The School Committee appoint an Ad-Hoc Subcommittee to look into high school accreditation and to report to the full committee as to how it should be handled.

      (D. Lowenthal)

      (C. Esperti)

      Member Carol Esperti left the meeting at 10:00 PM.

      Motion: To move the question.

      (D. Leith)

      (J. Wentzell)

      Vote:

      In favor:

      John Rokicki

      Kenneth Fensin

      Michael Gennert

      Jane James

      Duncan Leith

      Kelly Maxwell

      John Nunnari

      Julie Scott

      Jeffrey Wentzell

      Opposed:

      Sherry Horeanopoulos

      Mary Copeland

      Sarah Jordan

      David Lowenthal

      Peter MacDonald

      Kathleen Singh

      (Motion failed 9-6 – two-thirds required)

      Member Carol Esperti returned to the meeting at 10:06 PM.

      Roll call vote on the main motion:

      In favor:

      Carol Esperti

      Sarah Jordan

      David Lowenthal

      Peter MacDonald

      Kathleen Singh

      Opposed:

      Sherry Horeanopoulos

      Mary Copeland

      Kenneth Fensin

      Michael Gennert

      Jane James

      Duncan Leith

      Kelly Maxwell

      John Nunnari

      Julie Scott

      Jeffrey Wentzell

      Abstained:

      John Rokicki

      (Motion failed 5-10-1)

       

      Chairman Rokicki asked the Committee to address Changing from Red to Green, a proposal first presented at the last School Committee meeting. He estimated that the steps in the long-term process would be completed by spring 2002. A similar timeline would be necessary for the short-term.

      Motion: To adopt the proposal, as presented by Chairman Rokicki

      (J. Nunnari)

      (D. Leith)

      Member Kelly Maxwell left the meeting at 10:22 PM.

      Member Sarah Jordan left the meeting at 10:27 PM.

      Vote:

      In favor:

      John Rokicki

      Sherry Horeanopoulos

      Mary Copeland

      Carol Esperti

      Kenneth Fensin

      Michael Gennert

      Jane James

      Duncan Leith

      David Lowenthal

      Peter MacDonald

      John Nunnari

      Julie Scott

      Kathleen Singh

      Jeffrey Wentzell

      Opposed:

      None

      (Motion passed unanimously)

    6. Motion: To adjourn.

(P. MacDonald)

(C. Esperti)

Vote:

In favor:

John Rokicki

Sherry Horeanopoulos

Mary Copeland

Carol Esperti

Kenneth Fensin

Michael Gennert

Jane James

Duncan Leith

David Lowenthal

Peter MacDonald

John Nunnari

Julie Scott

Kathleen Singh

Jeffrey Wentzell

Opposed:

None

(Motion passed unanimously)

The meeting was adjourned at 10:37 PM.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Alfred D. Tutela, Ph.D.

Superintendent of Schools

 

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