MPS FY18 Budget Process Update

At the January 10, 2017 Melrose School Committee meeting, roles were reversed as I was made chair of the Finance and Facilities Subcommittee while Chris Casatelli was made vice chair. While this change is small, the agreed upon process for the Melrose School Committee prosecuting the MPS FY18 budget was changed at the SC retreats in October 2016. Whereas before the department heads at MHS and the principals all presented their needs and explained how the superintendent’s proposed budget supported them, the SC has instead decided to focus on how the FY18 budget will affect 3 major themes:

  1. Improving social emotional learning, behavioral intervention and related supports
  2. Building increased capacity for inclusive practices
  3. Continuing integration of technology skills for students and staff

Likewise, there will be more public outreach than in recent years, as I will be visiting school PTOs around the district to discuss this year’s process.  Additionally, the budget timeline was made public in November 2016, giving the Melrose Public Schools Community ample time for planning.

How can you be heard? The simplest way to express your thoughts and concerns is to email the entire school committee – schoolcommittee (at) cityofmelrose dot org.  An email sent to that address will reach all school committee members. Alternatively, you can attend our meetings, reach us individually or contact the superintendent’s office.

Be sure to follow the FY18 MPS Budget Process page for up-to-date information.

MSC Agenda Preview for 13 Dec 2016

This is the Melrose School Committee’s last meeting of the calendar year. The agenda is full, but not packed. This is the calm before the storm of the SY17-18 Budget process, which begins right away in January.

One more thing to note: I will be hosting office hours once per month, starting this Thursday at 6pm at Eastern Bank on Main St. No appointment is needed, just drop by. I will be there for 1 hour, and will work to give more advanced notice for January. This is open to the community.

Onto the agenda preview:

School Committee Meeting Agenda, 13 Dec 2016 

There will be votes on: 

The Consent Agenda, consisting of

  • School Committee Meeting Minutes from 22 Nov 2016
  • E-Camp Field Trip request (pg. 3)
  • Donations (pg. 14)
  • Cafeteria Report (pg. 15)
  • The Personnel Report (pg. 16)
  • The Monthly Budget Summary (pg. 17)
  • And the Warrants (2, totaling $320,164.18, pg. 21)

Subcommittees

  • Facilities and Finance: Dollar Maximums for Student Activity Checking Accounts (pg. 54)
  • Policy and Planning: Internet Safety Measures: Policies for Review (pg. 56)

School Committee Chair

  • Vote for School Committee Chair and Vice-Chair (pg. 70)
  • Data presentations (pg. 71)

There may be discussion on: 

Subcommittees

  • Finance and Facilities:
    • Year end report (pg.55)
  • Policy and Planning:
    • School Committee Self-Evaluation (pg. 66)

School Committee Chair

  • Update on Hiring of Legal Council (not previewed in agenda packet)
  • School Committee Action Items (pg. 85)
  • Liaison Reports (not previewed in agenda packet)

Agenda Preview for MSC Meeting, 15 Nov 2016

The agenda packet can be found here.

School Committee Meeting Agenda, 15 Nov 2016 

At roughly 7pm tonight, to start the School Committee meeting, there will be a public hearing on FY School Choice:

By definition, School Choice in the Commonwealth is the ability for students living in one school district to choose to attend a school in a different district. For instance, a student living in Melrose may pursue attending a school in Wakefield, or vice versa.

Some things to note about School Choice as relates to Melrose Public Schools:

  • Pg 60, “We have 30 school choice students and 4 foreign exchange students.”
  • Pg 75, “Melrose High School has welcomed approximately 29 school choice students. Melrose High School has accepted four international students this year 1 [sic] student is sponsored through Rotary and three pay tuition through our arrangement with Educatius International.”
  • Pg. 89, Supt. Taymore recommends 20 seats each in 7th and 8th, and 5 in 9th grades.

As this is a public hearing, I encourage all who have interest to come tonight and learn more about this process and the impact on our schools.

On with the full preview!

There will be votes on: 

The Consent agenda, consisting of:

  • SC meeting minutes from 25 Oct 2016 (not previewed in packet)
  • School building maintenance report (pg. 4)
  • Monthly budget summary (pg. 9)
  • Personnel Report (pg. 8)
  • 2 Warrants totaling $398,145.38, one for $386,101.97 (pg. 11) and one for 12,043.41 (pg. 53)

Subcommittees:

  • Education Programs and Personnel:
    • Amend Standing of Interim Director of Finance and Administrative Affairs. This is to remove the interim tag from Marianne Farrell’s title, making her the Director of Finance for Melrose Public Schools. (not previewed in packet)
  • Policy and Planning
    • 2017-2018 School Calendar (pg. 88)

School Committee Chair

  • School Choice Vote (pg. 89)
  • School Committee Action Items (pg. 90)

There may be discussion on: 

Superintendent Announcements

  • Elementary Instrumental Working Group (pg. 3 )

Subcommittees

  • Finance and Facilities:
    • FY16 Annual Finance Report (pg. 56)
  • Educational Programs and Personnel:
    • Enrollment FY17 (pg. 59)
      • Foundation budget number for FY16 was 3400 students, for FY17, 3500 students (pg. 59)
      • MHS Class Size, > 30 and <10 students (pg. 74)
      • MVMMS Class list of >30 students or <10 students (pg. 77)
  • Policy and Planning
    • Plan for School Committee Self-Evaluation (not previewed in packet)
    • Internet Safety Measures: Policies for Review (pg. 78)
    • Opioid Policy (not previewed in packet)

School Committee Chair

  • 2017 Rolling Agenda (pg. 92)
  • Liaison Reports
    • Melrose Human Rights Commission International Welcome Potluck (pg. 96)

School Committee Goal Setting

On Sept. 24th and again on Oct. 15th, members of the Melrose School Committee met with Superintendent Taymore and MASC Field Driector Dorothy Presser to develop our goals and vision for the district. The primary purpose tio ensure we as a body are aligned and focused on our collective vision for Melrose Schools.

 

goal_setting
Much discussion was centered around the roles of the Superintendent versus the School Committee.

 

goal_alignment
To define our overarching goals, the SC and Superintendent combine our goals with the School Improvement Plans to lead to desired student outcomes.
governancevmngt
Governance, simply put, is what the School Committee does. The Superintendent and her administration are the Management, responsible for implementing the vision,

The minutes from our meeting last Saturday can be read here, and will be discussed and voted on at tomorrow’s School Committee meeting.

Preview of SC Meeting Agenda, 18 Oct. 2016

Good Afternoon. A little bit of news before we move into the Agenda Preview:

The Board of Aldermen Appropriations Committee recommended for passage to the full board an appropriation of $400K for the use of “Design and Management Services” for the Modular classrooms. This was covered by my School Committee colleague Margaret Driscoll.

School Committee Meeting Agenda, 18 Oct 2016 

There will be votes on: 

The Consent Agenda, consisting of

  • School Committee Meeting Minutes from 24 Sept 2016
  • School Committee Special Meeting (Goal setting for MSC) Minutes from 27 Sept 2016
  • Field Trip Request – MHS French Exchange Student Trip (pg. 5)
  • Cafeteria (Chartwell) report (pg. 10)
  • Personnel Report (pg. 11)
  • Monthly Budget Summary (pg. 12)
  • And the Warrants (2, totaling $249797.88, pg. 35)

Disposition of Surplus Materials (pg. 93)

Committee (pg. 102) and Superintendent (pg. 109) Goal Setting

There may be discussion on: 

Superintendent Announcements

Subcommittees

  • Educational Programs and Personnel:
    • Health and Wellness Reports and Program Responses (pg. 81)
  • Finance and Facilities:
    • Technology Plan Update (pg. 94)
  • Policy and Planning
    • Internet Safety Measures – Policy IJND/IJNDB (not previewed in packet)
    • Strategy Overview (pg. 99)

School Committee Chair

  • Consideration of Ballot Question 4 (pg. 111)
  • General Announcements(not previewed in agenda packet)
  • Liaison Reports (not previewed in agenda packet)

Additionally, there is need of an executive session:

  • To approve executive session minutes of Sept. 27, 2016
  • To Discuss strategy with respect to Open Meeting Law Complaint filed by Gerry Mroz

Modular Classroom News

The hot topic many have been waiting for relates to the plans by the School Building Committee (SBC) for the new modular classrooms. You might recall the initial plan presented to the School Committee at the June 14, 2016 meeting was for modulars:

 Representatives from the School Building Committee, Ms. Gaffey, Mr. McLaughlin and Mr. Scenna, joined the Committee for discussion on the configuration of instructional programs. The Superintendent provided history and invited the School Building Committee members to present their recommendation for the best approach. At their meeting earlier today the School Building Committee voted to add modular units to the Horace Mann, Winthrop and Hoover Schools for the 2017-2018 school year that will require Committee approval, and the School Building Committee provided the pros and cons of that decision. Discussion included making financial estimates for the modular units and build outs available for review, and support for the K-5 amodel as it makes the most sense and is supported by the community.

At the following meeting on June 28, 2016, the School Committee voted to approve the SBC recommendation for use of modular classrooms at Horace Mann, Hoover and Winthrop Elementary Schools:

mod_28june2016

I voted against the motion. My concern then was the lack of discussion or presentation to the School Committee about sheltering our children from winter weather and possible external intrusion.

Until the formal presentation to be given at the meeting tomorrow, I can not say for sure, but the plans presented in the agenda packet suggest there will only be modulars added to Winthrop and Hoover, and those new rooms will be connected to the main building by an enclosed hallway. Additionally, the plans seem to suggest Horace Mann will be remodeled, rather than have two new modular rooms.

School Committee Meeting Agenda Preview, 27 Sept 2016

 

The agenda for tonight’s meeting can be found here:

http://melrosecityma.iqm2.com/Citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=1&ID=2663&Inline=True 

As always, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask.

School Committee Meeting Agenda, 27 Sept 2016

There will be votes on: 

The Consent Agenda, consisting of

  • School Committee Meeting Minutes from 13 Sept 2016
  • Quarterly Donations Report (pg. 3)
  • And the Warrants (6, totaling $223,437.41, pg. 4)

 There may be discussion on: 

Superintendent Announcements

Subcommittees

  • Educational Programs and Personnel:
    • ELA Midcycle Program Review (pg. 48)
  • Finance and Facilities:
    • Rental Agreement Review (pg. 56)
  • Policy and Planning
    • No New Business

School Committee Chair

  • Portable Classroom Property Siting and Expected Room Occupancy (pg. 58)
  • Committee Retreat and Action Items (not previewed in agenda packet)
  • General Announcements (not previewed in agenda packet)
  • Liaison Reports (not previewed in agenda packet)

Additionally, there is need of an executive session: 

  • To approve executive session minutes of Sept. 13, 2016
  • To conduct strategy sessions in preparation for negotiations with the Asst. Superintendent of Pupil and Personnel Services
  • To conduct strategy sessions with regards to collective bargaining with the Secretaries Union

 

Agenda Preview: 13 Sept 2016 Meeting

The Melrose School Committee meets tonight to hear discussions on how the Melrose Public School Administration feels the opening of the school year has gone. While tonight’s meeting will have few votes, we will be discussing a variety of topics, including: the work completed over the Summer at Hoover Elementary School and the Learning Commons at MHS; The concussion report from SY15/16; and an update on enrollments across the district.

Speaking of enrollments, the number many of us were waiting for is 320. That is to say while we planned for a bump of up to 325 incoming Kindergarten students, we have at this time only 320 K students.  The chart on pages 53 and 54 illustrate the increases in enrollment over time: 320 K students and 326 1st grade students, followed by decreases in the higher grades below 290 students per grade. Keep these numbers in mind as we move forward during the school year in discussions on the modular classrooms, staffing requirements and the budget.

The agenda for tonight’s meeting can be found here: http://melrosecityma.iqm2.com/Citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=1&ID=2658&Inline=True

As always, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask. (ldeselm at cityofmelrose.org)

School Committee Meeting Agenda, 13 Sept 2016

There will be votes on: 

The Consent Agenda, consisting of

  • School Committee Meeting Minutes from 23 Aug 2016
  • The Concussion Report (pg. 6)
  • The Personnel Report (pg. 8)
  • The Monthly Budget Summary (pg. 10)
  • And the Warrants (3, totaling $91,555.20, pg. 28)

 There may be discussion on: 

Superintendent Announcements

  • Opening Day Update (not previewed in agenda packet)
  • Emergency Plan Update (pg. )
  • Summer Facilities Work (pg. 3)
  • Superintendent’s Proposed Working Groups for 2016-2017 (not previewed in agenda packet)
  • Superintendent Updates (pg. 5)

Subcommittees

  • Policy and Planning
    • Enrollment Expectation: Fall 2016 (pg. 53)
  • Educational Programs and Personnel:
    • No New Business
  • Finance and Facilities:
    • No New Business 

School Committee Chair

  • Student Advisory Committee Representatives (pg. 55)
  • Committee Delegate to MASC (not previewed in agenda packet)
  • Liaison Reports (not previewed in agenda packet)

 

MSC Meeting Preview, 23 Aug 2016

Welcome Back to School! 

The Kindergarten Class of 2029 welcome last night at Fred Green Stadium signifies the start of a new school year, and with that, School Committee meetings resume their normal schedule of meetings. The first of which is Tuesday, 23 Aug 2016, at 7 PM in the Aldermanic chamber.

As a reminder, these meetings are open to the public, with public comments welcomed at the very beginning of the meeting. Should you wish to participate during the public comment period, you must arrive a few minutes before 7 PM and sign in.

Should you have any topics or proposals you wish the School Committee would deliberate on, do not hesitate to get your proposal to me, in writing, and I will ensure the MSC gives it public consideration. Please note: due to Open Meeting Law requirements, any proposal you give me may be pushed to the following meeting to enable it to be in the agenda packet for the public to see.

Lastly, I want to remind everyone of the Joint Letter between the Melrose Human Rights Commission and Melrose Police Department regarding the racial violence of the Summer nationally and what they are doing locally about it. The letter can be found here.

 

School Committee Meeting Agenda, 23 Aug 2016

There will be votes on: 

The Consent Agenda, consisting of

  • School Committee Meeting Minutes from 26 July 2016
  • The Personnel Report (pg. 4)
  • The Monthly Budget Summary (pg. 6)
  • And the Warrants (6, totaling $226,473.17, pg. 23)

Subcommittees

  • Education Programs and Personnel: Approval of District Officers (pg. 78)
  • Facilities and Finance: Salaries for Non-Union Employees (pg. 79)
  • Policy and Planning: Field Trip Policy IJOA (second vote, pg. 83)

School Committee Chair

  • Superintendent Evaluation Final Report (pg. 92)
  • Approval of Site Council Election Processes (pg. 141)

 There may be discussion on: 

Superintendent Announcements

  • Safe Routes to Schools (pg. 3)

Subcommittees

  • Educational Programs and Personnel:
    • Competency Based Education (pg. 62)
  • Finance and Facilities:
    • Rental Agreement Review (pg. 80)
    • Summer Update (pg. 81)

School Committee Chair

  • Superintendent Salary (not previewed in agenda packet)
  • Superintendent Goal Setting Process and Expectations (not previewed in agenda packet)
  • Rolling Agenda (pg. 143)
  • Liaison Reports (not previewed in agenda packet)

Links:

Agenda Packet: http://melrosecityma.iqm2.com/Citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=1&ID=2655&Inline=True

MHRC/MPD Joint Letter: https://www.facebook.com/MelroseHRC/photos/a.284225971718692.1073741828.283023028505653/709484229192862/?type=3&theater