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School Committee News

by Press Release
February 20, 2017

Holliston School Committee News

School Committee Newsletter  Issue #7 -- February 16, 2017

In This Issue:  Budget Update, Sleep and School Start Times, Field House Q & A

Holliston School Committee News

School Committee Newsletter  Issue #7 -- February 16, 2017

In This Issue:  Budget Update, Sleep and School Start Times, Field House Q & A

Budget Update

Each year the School Committee hosts, as a kick-off of sorts to the budget season, a special meeting wherein Central Office and building administrators present their proposed strategic improvement initiatives. These initiatives are derived from the district’s annual strategic goals and each school’s annual SMARTer goals. The annual goals are formulated in concert with the district’s Five-Year Strategic Plan, which has one overarching focus: improved student outcomes. The superintendent formulates his recommended budget to the school committee by, among other things, synthesizing the initiatives and restorations as outlined in this presentation


On January 20, the Strategic Improvement Initiatives for fiscal year 2018 were presented by the Holliston Public Schools’ administrative team to the School Committee. The meeting was joined by two sitting members of the Board of Selectmen and one Finance Committee member.


 The themes and recommendations were consistent among the schools and are listed below, categorized by strategic priority:

Improved Student Outcomes / Teaching all Students

  • Social and Emotional Well-Being / Social-Emotional Health of Students and Staff

    • Restore two full-time psychologists (bringing the total to one psychologist for each school)

    • Hire an intervention specialist (Adams)

    • Restore Special Education Department leader position (HHS)

  • Technology/Technology - Digital Learning

    • Restore the technology integration specialist (Placentino, Miller, Adams)

    • Purchase and replace technology (computers, laptops) (Miller, HHS)

    • Purchase Chromebooks (HHS, for next school year’s incoming 9th graders)

  • Talent and Resources

    • Add/Restore administrative support (Placentino, HHS, Student Services, District)

    • Hire a moderate Special Education teacher (Miller)

    • Increase academic and student services support (Miller, Student Services)

    • Restore wellness teacher (Adams)

    • Restore half-time music teacher (Adams)

    • Restore maintenance and custodial staff (District)

  • Funding and Resources

    • Create a sliding fee scale for full-day kindergarten tuition for those who qualify for free or reduced-price meals (Placentino)

    • Restore supplies (all schools)

    • Restore curriculum/instructional materials/prof. development (HHS, District)

    • Create a building repair budget (District)

    • Replace HHS Field House floor (HHS)

    • Purchase a new district energy management system to replace aging boilers (District)

A majority of these strategic improvement initiatives are actually restoration requests; cuts in service levels over the past many years have left gaps in each of the schools and district-wide.  Holliston Public Schools administration and the Holliston School Committee believe that these reduced services have increased the gap for equal access to education and increased class sizes, both of which adversely affect our students’ social and emotional learning and hamper their ability to be successful.

In terms of process, these presentations were the “drawing board” from which Dr. Jackson formulated his recommended FY 2018 budget.  The superintendent’s budget was presented to the School Committee on February 2, 2017, and has been studied by the Budget Subcommittee. It will be discussed by the full School Committee in the coming weeks.

The Budget Subcommittee presented its recommended budget to the full School Committee on Thursday (Feb. 16). The School Committee is scheduled to vote on its preliminary budget on March 2. Here are some key numbers from the subcommittee's draft budget:

FY18 Level-Service Budget                            $32,489,463

FY18 Strategic Improvement Initiatives               $658,243

FY18 Subcommittee’s Recommended Budget   $33,147,706

FY17 Town Meeting Approved Budget             $31,883,737

Recommended Appropriation Increase             $1,263,969

Recommended Increase percentage                   +3.96%

Recommended Capital Appropriation for May ‘17   $198,680

 FY18 Budget* Development Calenda



Thursday, March 02, 2017

School Committee Votes FY18 Budget - Preliminary

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Finance Committee Presentation (7:05pm)

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Budget Discussion (if needed)

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Public Hearing on FY18 Budget

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Budget Discussion (if needed)

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Budget Discussion (if needed)


School Committee meetings are held at 7:00 p.m., in the High School Library. The next School Committee meeting is Thursday, March 2, 2017.  The agenda will be posted online prior to the meeting. The full meeting calendar for the rest of the school year can be found here.

We are offering extra “Office Hours” in March because it is budget season, and we want to make sure we answer as many questions and concerns as possible.

Saturday, March 4, 9:30-11:00 a.m., at Coffee Haven, 76 Railroad Street

Thursday, March 9, 7:00 p.m., at Casey’s, 81 Railroad Street

Thursday, March 23, 7:00 p.m., at Casey’s, 81 Railroad Street

Saturday, March 25, 9:30-11:00 a.m., at Coffee Haven, 76 Railroad Street


Sub-Committee Meetings:

School Start Times Subcommittee-- Monday, March 6, 10:30-11:30 a.m., Central Office

Policy Subcommittee -- Monday, March 6, 11:30-1:00 p.m., Central Office

All agendas are posted in the Town Clerk’s office.




Update from the Superintendent – Field House General Conditions and Main Basketball Floor

This report to the community provides an update from the information shared on Friday, February 3, 2017, regarding the general conditions of the HHS field house and the safety of the main basketball court. In the first report, the issue of trash and the condition of the painted walls were addressed and the plans put in place to address those conditions were shared. Those plans remain unchanged. The remaining issues (broken doors; cleanliness of the Field House floor, and safety of the main basketball court) are updated here:

  1. Broken door:  The broken door was removed immediately and a new metal door ordered.  Doors have been received and installed.


  1. Cleanliness of floor:  In my last update, I shared that the main basketball court is washed daily, following the end of all scheduled activities.  Last week, I met with the varsity basketball coaches and the athletic director and they requested that the yellow court be cleaned again, prior to the start of their games.  This is due to the heavy amount of salt and sand being tracked into the Field House during and immediately after the school day.  Adding a second washing prior to the start of the Freshman Boys’ or JV Girls’ game was implemented immediately following my meeting with the coaches.

  2. Safety of the main basketball floor:  Last week, I met with the athletic director, both varsity basketball coaches and the athletic trainer.  The coaches and AD report that the revised cleaning procedures (described above) have been helpful and the floor is now performing at its specified coefficient of friction (the amount of “slipperiness” the floor is designed to have).  The athletic trainer, who has been in Holliston for the past six years, reported to me that “while I do not dispute the fact that the floor is slippery, it definitely is, we are not seeing an injury rate that would support the claim that the floors are unsafe.”   In essence, the floor is now performing as it has since it was originally installed during the high school renovation.  Based on that input, we are not planning on moving games or practices to the Adams gym for the remainder of the season.  

The final regular season home game for the Girls’ Basketball teams is currently scheduled for February 17, and the final regular season home game for the Boy’s Basketball teams is currently February 20.  Additional home games may be scheduled if teams qualify for post-season tournament play.  
Go Panthers!

 School Committee Members

School Committee members are Holliston residents elected to three-year terms. All Massachusetts school committees have three main purviews:

  1. Hire and evaluate the superintendent;

  2. Prepare and approve a school budget, which is subject to final approval by the town;

  3. Create and amend policies.

Our agendas, meeting minutes, and policies are available on our web site at

Feel free to contact any committee member with questions or comments. Please note we all have new email addresses:

Anne Louise Hanstad, Chair

Stacey Raffi, Vice Chair  

Martha Devoe      

Lisa Kocian                  

Cynthia Listewnik      

Andy Morton          

Joan Shaughnessy     


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