School Committee Welcomes New Members

School Committee (SC) Chair Stacey Raffi called Thursday evening’s open meeting of the SC to order at 8:13 PM, following Executive Session for the purpose of collective bargaining strategy with the Holliston Federation of Teachers (HFT).  All members except Cynthia Listewnik were present, as well as administrators Superintendent Dr. Susan Kustka, Assistant Superintendent Peter Botelho, and Assistant Superintendent Keith Buday.

Recognizing the results of last week’s Town Elections, Raffi welcomed back Lisa Kocian, and welcomed new SC members Amanda Bigelow (above L) and Minnie Gupta (above R).  Both new members took a moment, looking forward to serving the community. 

Dr. Kustka announced that Joanie Menard, upon completion of contract negotiations that are expected shortly, would be named the new Assistant Superintendent, replacing Dr. Peter Botelho. 

Anne Louise Hanstad

During the Public Comment time, Kerri Marsh of 182 Highland Street asked, “Where are we with respect to the teachers’ contract?”  Raffi answered, “We are currently in mediation with the HFT, and we are optimistic that we will come to an agreement by the end of the month.”  Anne Louise Hanstad, former SC member, joined the Zoom meeting to speak to the SC and the community to share memories from her 9 years with the Committee.

In Old Business, Dr. Kustka recommended an opening time change of 10 minutes for a transportation adjustment to the Adams Middle School beginning in the 2021-22 school year, changing from 8:10AM to 8:00AM.  This change is hoped to eliminate the traffic bottleneck as well as to ameliorate tardiness. 

The Committee were presented with the School Committee 2021-22 meeting schedule.  They plan to meet one time in Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec., and twice a month (1st and 3rd Thursday) in Jan., Feb., March, April, May, and June. No vote was taken at this time until members have sufficient time to examine their personal calendars.

Dr. Kustka presented Holliston High School:  MSBA Statement of Interest” to the Committee.  Former Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brad Jackson had submitted a Statement of Interest to the MSBA (MA School Building Authority) in both 2020 and 2019, neither of which won approval by MSBA.  Approval of both the School Committee (that has voted to approve) and the Select Board is needed before the SOI can be forwarded to the MSBA.  Dr. Kustka will repeat this presentation for the Select Board at its meeting on Monday, June 7, at 7 PM. 

Dr. Kustka also announced that three consultants from the vendor Teaching and Learning Alliance have been contracted to facilitate strategic planning, presently to gather feedback about areas to address. 

Raffi reported having previously signed school bill warrants for $245,823.79 and $104,705.25 and a cafeteria bill for $23,471.16.

The meeting closed at 9:42 PM.  The next remote and open meeting of the SC is on June 17, 2021, at 7PM.  A report from building principals, details about summer work, and the reorganization of the SC will appear on the agenda. 

Yvette Cain

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