School Committee Meeting

Stacey Raffi, Chair, called the regular session of the School Committee meeting at 7:23 PM, following an Executive Session that began at 7 PM.  Minutes were approved from the November 12 meeting (regular session) and the following Executive Session meetings: November 13, 19, December 1, and 3, 2020. 

In opening comments, Raffi thanked all responsible individuals for a Special Town Meeting held on December 5.  Interim Superintendent Dr. Susan Kustka shared her pride in and gratitude toward the HPS staff and support personnel for doing all that they do to keep the schools open.  She announced that a decision to go remote due to snow would be considered on a “case-by-case basis.”  If there are substantial power outages during a snowstorm, there would be no remote learning.  Otherwise, schools will resume remote learning.

Dr. Susan Kustka

Raffi discussed the agenda item “Personnel,” based upon a recent meeting of the Personnel Committee of the SC, and recommended an addendum to Dr. Kustka’s contract (that expires on 6-30-2021).   Highlights from the addendum include:

  • The removal of the word “interim” from her title, to become “Superintended to Holliston Public Schools;
    • Alteration of vacation terms; and
    • An update to the travel and expenditures
    • A 2-year end date of 6-30-2023.

The vote to approve this Addendum was unanimous of all present.  (A.L. Hanstad absent).  Raffi extended congratulations to Dr. Kustka, and shared that she looked forward to her strong leadership through the next two years.  The Committee will finalize the wording and vote on the full contract in a couple of weeks.

AD Matthew Baker

Athletic Director Matthew Baker spoke about Winter Athletics.  Registration took place on December 4. Some discussion of the beginning date of the Winter Season ensued. Dr. Kustka announced the decision of the school district to delay the winter season until January 11, based on the recommendation from the Town of Holliston Health Director, Emergency Management Director and Infectious Disease Nurse. Baker has already discussed plans to add game dates so as to create an approximate 10-game schedule. 

Business Manager Keith Buday announced that students are able to pick up 2 lunches on Monday and 3 on Wednesday to provide for the week.  Additionally, students may pick up for siblings.  No identification is required for this program. 

All building Principals attended this meeting for the purpose of presenting a building Strategic Plan.  Each had prepared a PowerPoint presentation for this purpose.  Committee members were grateful for their efforts.

Raffi entertained some discussion of the draft of the 2021-2022 School Year Calendar.  She asked that the draft calendar be posted on the website for feedback to members from parents and staff.

Buday listed the Warrants signed on behalf of the Committee: 

  • School Bills – $250,050.71 ($22,343.34 COVID expense), $280,312.26 ($12,877.45 COVID), $37,459.16 ($1586.48 COVID), $226,873.83 ($32,946.49 COVID), and $51,896.00 ($51,896.00 COVID); and
  • Cafeteria $8365.86 and $10,643.19.

Raffi adjourned the meeting at 9:39 PM.  The next meeting of the School Committee is January 7, 2021, at 7 PM. 

Yvette Cain

2 Comments

  1. Daniel Alfred on December 13, 2020 at 5:41 pm

    First: Congratulations to Dr. Kustka on the contract extension. It has been a crazy year already and we are not even halfway through it. Second: However, it is disappointing that the School Committee chose not to honor the commitment it made to the community in the spring to perform a full search for a permanent Superintendent. Regardless of how one believes Dr. Kustka has performed, the interim search was performed late in the hiring season and in a rush. A full search for a permanent Superintendent would have garnered significantly more applicants and would have given Holliston the greatest opportunity to hire the best person available. While I understand that many other neighboring towns will also be looking for a Superintendent this year, that should not be a consideration in Holliston’s own search decision. I believe that the Superintendent job of the Holliston Public Schools is a very attractive opportunity and would have put us in a strong competitive position. Of course, Dr. Kustka would have been a top contender and the search very possibly could have resulted in the School Committee ending up in the same place (offering her a contract extension) at the end of the search. But there should have been the search that the School Committee committed to so that we are ensured that we have the best person possible.

  2. Bill Littlefield on December 14, 2020 at 2:14 pm

    I applaud the hire. Dr. Kustka has been steering the ship through rough waters. Holliston is still in Hybrid mode – Not ideal but given circumstances its better than 100 percent remote. Dr. Kustka deserves the contract.

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