Superintendent's Update March 27. 2015

posted Mar 27, 2015, 2:55 PM by Liz Petersen

FY16 Budget Hearing is April 1, 2015 7:00 p.m. at Town Hall

At the School Committee meeting on Wednesday I shared with the School Committee the impact of the health insurance renewal rate of 10.9% and the elimination of a state grant to support full day kindergarten in the Governor’s budget.   The grant totaled $47,000 which supported a portion of the salaries for a kindergarten teacher and kindergarten paraprofessional and also some insurance.  Currently the difference between the Town Manager’s recommended budget and a level service budget for the schools is $190,693. Last night the Town Manager, during the Finance Committee’s Budget Hearing, recommended that $116,000 of $183,000 potential educational 40S aid –be available to the Lunenburg School Department if that aid remains in the final state budget.  

A level service budget does not include any of the additional teachers, paraprofessionals, the behavioral specialist, or the maintenance personnel as recommended in the proposed school budget.  At the April 1 School Budget Hearing we will present the impact of a level service budget and prioritize what will be included should additional funds be available.  A spread sheet that contains the level service budget is posted at the website with other budget documents including a comprehensive document titled “Fiscal Year 2016 Superintendent’s Budget Report”.    http://www.lunenburgschools.net/school-committee-1/budget     

I encourage you to attend or tune into the televised school budget hearing on April 1st, ask questions, seek clarification and attend Annual Town Meeting on Saturday, May 2nd.            

Congratulations to the PTO      

Thank you to the Lunenburg PTO for organizing; the businesses and individuals who donated to the event; and the parents/guardians, faculty, and staff who attended Parents’ Night Out 2015.   Over 130 tickets were sold.  Between ticket sales and silent auction more than $7,650 was raised.  This money will support our students and teachers!    

Diversity Advisory Committee

Thank you to the many individuals who have already expressed an interest in serving on the Advisory.   It is not too late to apply, but appointments will be made at the April 1 School Committee meeting so please do so soon by submitting your  name and contact information to Liz Petersen via electronic mail at lpetersen@lunenburgonline.com or by phone at 978-582-4100 X 211.

The Diversity Advisory Committee consists of at least one (1): parent, student, School Committee member,  District Civil Rights Coordinator and an educator from each building.    The District Civil Rights Coordinator will serve as coordinator of the Advisory.    The responsibilities of the Advisory are: (1) To evaluate Civil Rights compliance annually utilizing the DESE program review standards.  This advisory will ensure that all students, regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, religion, national origin, limited English proficiency, sexual orientation, disability, or housing status, have equal access to all programs, including athletics and other extracurricular activities. It makes recommendations to the SC for such changes as are indicated by the evaluation; (2) To promote activities for students that promote social justice and provide opportunities for learning about different cultures and perspectives; and (3) To seek financial support for activities for students. 

School Start Time Update

On March 4th the Calendar/School-Start-Time Advisory having fulfilled their charge reported to the School Committee and made a recommendation that middle/high school start time be 8:30 or 9:00 a.m.  The presentation given by Dr. Gary Asher at the meeting is posted at our website with other information.  You can access this from the main page under District News and Information (www.lunenburgschools.net).  After the presentation a Start Time Sub-Committee was appointed by the School Committee to investigate options, impact, and logistical considerations of a later start time.   This Sub-committee had its first meeting last Tuesday  3/17/15 and reviewed the impact on bus schedules.  This group will continue to meet, investigate, report, and make recommendations to the School Committee for implementation of a later start time.        

Start-time is a student health concern.  The challenge we face is how to make the change without incurring additional costs for bussing.   Any change must be cost neutral.  We also must be conscientious of the impact of such a change on students and families.  There is a lot of important work going on after school before athletic practices begin including after school tutoring, clubs and activities, and athletics.  We are a small school and take pride in providing students after-school supports for success and high performance academically.   We also take pride in providing opportunities for students to participate in a variety of clubs and activities in addition to athletics.  We also must be mindful of any impacts on start-time for the younger students.   

We continue to consult and work with the principals, the athletic director, faculties and School Councils on this topic and will keep the school community updated as the process continues. 

Sincerely,

Superintendent Calmes

Lunenburg Public Schools

1025 Mass. Ave.

Lunenburg, MA   01462

978-582-4100 X 210 (Office Phone)

978-582-4103 (Fax)

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