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School Committee Meeting Overview

by Doreen Martel
November 17, 2018

Members of the Holliston School Committee were hard at work on November 15, despite the horrible weather outside. There were several items on the agenda including a proposal discussing professional development days, a school calendar and of course, the budget.

Photos by Ken Robinson

Because of the state’s requirement of adding another professional development day, the current thought is there should be an additional day added to the school year. A number of concerns were raised pertaining to these development days including the burden that half-days have on working parents and the disruption to the students. Several points were brought up including the results of a survey conducted nearly two years ago as members of the committee expressed some concerns the results of the survey were largely ignored.

Several options were discussed including changing the professional development days from two full days to four half days, customizing the days to grade levels (i.e. full days at high school level, half days at grade school level) and other options. Because these days are written into the collective bargaining contracts offered to teachers, the committee needs to find a way to accommodate them. No resolution was reached, and it was agreed this would be brought back up for further consideration once more information was available about other conditions which will have to be met under contracts. It was also noted that some of our neighboring communities were now issuing two-year calendars and it was widely agreed we should be doing the same whenever possible.

Disney Trip is Off, and NYC is the Substitute

There has been some discussion about taking the high school drama and music students to Disney. However, this trip has been cancelled due to costs. Once airfare and other costs were taken into consideration it was determined it was out of reach. Instead, there is a plan in place to take the students to New York between April 12 – 15 at a substantially lower cost. Students who wish to participate will be required to have payments made during the month of December and while this may be a slight challenge there is agreement the tour company could be more flexible on this arrangement. The committee approved dates and trip. There was a discussion that the students must be provided with some guidance pertaining to what to do in an emergency, the importance of keeping their cell phones charged, and how to contact UBER and other services in the event they are separated from the group. All agreed this would be taken care of.

Budget Agreed Upon and Warrants Addressed

The budget was discussed and agreed upon without controversy. In many cases, we are getting better results than anticipated thanks to lower diesel costs and other costs which are coming in less than anticipated which is good news for everyone. Warrants were discussed, voted upon and all passed.

The next meeting will be held on Thursday, December 13, 2018 at the Holliston High School Library at 7pm. The meeting adjourned at just about 9pm – at the height of the (surprise) storm.

 

 

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