PTA Meeting Minutes 4/27/17

2017-18 School Year Changes: there are presently 21 general education classrooms and they are all at maximum or over max capacity. The 2017-18 school year will have the following 23 general education classrooms with the following configurations: 4 kindergartens, 4 first grades, 3 second grades, 3 third grades, 1 2/3 combined grade classroom (Jen Greenstein), 4 fourth grades, and 4 fifth grades.

In order to accommodate the two additional classes, the following moves will be made. In the first grade wing, a classroom currently used by 3 ELL (or other specialist?) teachers will be made into another first grade classroom, with those three teachers moving to a smaller space.

The music room will be moving upstairs to the teacher’s lounge/lunch room, and the teacher’s room will move to a smaller space by the gymnasium.

Superintendent Mary Czajkowski is carefully tracking enrollment across the district and assigning incoming families to schools that have space for those particular grade levels so that any one classroom at a given school isn’t burdened with being over capacity. This will continue moving forward.

Multi-grade class, grades 2 and 3: Jen Greenstein is a seasoned teacher and has taught a multi-grade classroom before. There will be 10/10 configuration of 2nd graders and 3rd graders. There have been other successful multi-grade classrooms in the district in the past, at Hastings, Bridge, and Bowman. The measures of success will be the same as always, looking at growth, confidence in students, etc. The 2/3 combined classroom may or may not continue into the new Hastings building.

Letters were sent to all 1st grade parents and all of Jen Greenstin’s current student’s parents to inform them of the new configuration and to allow them to opt out. The response deadline is Tuesday, May 2. There will be a range of learners in the classroom, though not an incredibly wide range. Science and social studies curriculum will alternate between second and third grade, with the class being taught 3rd grade topics first, and the following year, 2nd grade topics. There will be a lot of small group instruction for math and ELA. This model will provide the opportunity to not only have the same teacher, but facilitate small group learning and cater to those who will benefit from upper grade curriculum and lower grade curriculum. Recess will include both 2nd and 3rd grades (longer recess and lunch with third grade, shorter recess combined with second and third) so kids can see their grade-level friends. Field trips go along with the curriculum, so this year the class would likely attend the third grade field trip destinations.

Executive Committee Elections:

Co-Presidents, Nicola  Rinaldi and Kate Criniti

Secretary, Candice Dancer

Treasurer, Julia Weng

VP Planning & Board Development, Amee Desjourdy

VP Communications, Audra Myerberg

VP Technology, Mahesh Kulkarni

VP Fundraising, Elizabeth Lin

Voting: all unanimously voted in

 

Other:

Outdoor storage shed: presently not large enough to hold supplies for the annual Halloween party, BBY, Harvest Run, etc. Also, the shed is falling apart and animals are getting in, leaving waste, etc. Further, a lot of stuff (about 20%) is lost each year due to the changing of hands, etc. A new shed is needed and the land has to be prepared (leveled, etc). With the new Hastings being underway, it’s a good time to put aside space for the footprint of the new shed. The cost will likely be somewhere between $6,000-8,000 for a 20×24 shed. Should there be a dedicated fundraiser for this? One to two volunteers are needed spearhead the project.

Voted unanimously for the PTA to undertake the new shed project.

Sidewalk on Lincoln Street (Hastings and Bridge districts):  A group is supporting the construction of a sidewalk on Lincoln St. south of Marrett Rd. and the organizers of the project have asked for our PTA support. During discussion, points were made that more information is needed. For example, we should have someone from the Sidewalk Committee give a presentation. The Hastings Site Council has two members who have a wealth of information on sidewalks that we could contact. We should become more informed before agreeing to provide our support since it is a town-wide issue and impacts many residents. (There are also groups supporting sidewalks for both Cedar Street and Hill Street.) Concerns were raised about getting involved in a political issue.

Voted unanimously to indefinitely postpone discussion of Hastings’ PTA support of sidewalk projects.

PTA versus PTO: PTA dues are approximately $1,500 per year and we don’t utilize the services provided, essentially paying in solely for the PTA to cover us a non-profit for our tax exemption. There is a cost associated with the transition to PTO and we have to file independently to become a non-profit entity for tax exemption. Other schools in the district are PTOs (LHS and Fiske included). The transition money has already been budgeted. The paperwork process takes about one month to complete and will be done by Kate Criniti. According to our by-laws, the EC has to vote to dissolve the PTA and then issue a 30-day notice to all PTA members to vote whether or not to dissolve the PTA and transition to a PTO. Nicola will email all EC members for the initial vote.

 


School Committee Meeting – January 19, 2016

School Committee Meeting – January 19, 2016 Meeting Notes

 
Reading Packet

The reading packet for the 1/19 School Committee meeting can be found at
http://lps.lexingtonma.org/cms/lib2/MA01001631/Centricity/Domain/231/19Jan16SCAgendaPacket.pdf

Announcements

Bridge School was evacuated on Tues 1/19/16 due to gas leaks and children were evacuated to LHS (they had to walk there).  Lots of parents voiced concern about recurring gas/heating problems, evacuation plans/procedures (especially given cold temps), and emergency notification procedures (email vs. text).  School Committee and Superintendent are working with Pat Goddard about facilities issues and School Committee will be working with parents to get input as to evacuation and communication protocols.

METCO Scholarship Fund

It is the 45th anniversary of the scholarship; there is now online giving and METCO facebook page.  Trying to expand fundraising to help METCO students through college, and not just getting into college.   Can get to METCO site from LPS site.

Planning Board

Charles Hornig from Planning Board spoke about a proposed zoning change to create a new “Governmental – Civic Use” district to rezone property in Lexington that is owned by government that is proposed to be used for non-residential purposes (currently the school buildings are zoned as residential).

Youth Risk Behavior Survey

Anonymous survey done at LHS in Spring 2015; done every 2 years in Feb/March since 1995 and first time in 2015 for middle schools

Stress (through homework and planning for college/future) is a big issue at LHS and stress / suicide is also an issue in middle school

For more detail, see the Executive Summary of the survey in the School Committee meeting packet at
http://lps.lexingtonma.org/cms/lib2/MA01001631/Centricity/Domain/231/19Jan16SCAgendaPacket.pdf
For more information about the Youth Coalition (that is working to address student stress and wellness) email lexcoalition@gmail.com.

Permanent Building Committee Appointments

Will be additional seats open on PBC for modulars at Fiske, Bowman and Bridge (total of up to 6) and Hastings

2 appointments each for Clarke and Diamond (total of 4) were announced.

  • Mr. Goodell (Hastings/Diamond parent) and Bill Hurley (School Committee member)– Diamond
  • Mr. Hobbs and Ms. Chase (both Clarke parents) – Clarke

Extended Day

Desire to do before school in elem school and after school in middle school, but not feasible currently due to limited space / other activities competing for limited space and construction happening (and World Languages being discussed which would extend the elementary school day)

FY Budget 2017 Discussion

The School Comm meeting this Saturday will also include a hearing for input on the budget. 
Presentation can be reviewed at:
http://lps.lexingtonma.org/cms/lib2/MA01001631/Centricity/Domain/365/FY17%20Budget%20Presentation_Final%207.pdf

If budget hearing for this Sat gets cancelled due to snow, alternate dates for 2nd hearing are Tues, Jan 26, 2016 7 pm and Sat, Jan 30, 2016 at 10 am

Special Announcements

Several neighboring towns received bomb threats at schools on 1/19 but Lexington schools did not.
Please submit your family census information, even if your child does not attend Lexington public schools.

Next Meeting
Next Meeting on Sat, Jan 23, 2016, 10 am at LHS Auditorium and is public hearing on Superintendent’s budget (pending snow).


Summary of the Lexington Overcrowding Issue

We would like to update the Hastings community about the latest discussions and key meetings among Town Committees such as School Committee, Board of Selectmen, Appropriation Committee, and Capital Expenditures Committee as it relates to a new Hastings. This document outlines the design, engineering, and architectural services for plans and specifications for several school capital expenditures, including Hastings, and what you can do to help.

Government process thus far:  

  • In December 2014, the School Committee requested that the Board of Selectmen call a Special Town Meeting to ask for funds for a design study for several school projects.
  • The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously in January to call a Special Town Meeting to take place on March 23, 2015.
  • In late February, the Board of Selectmen, School Committee, Appropriation Committee, and Capital Expenditures Committee drafted a “consensus document” to summarize the position of the Lexington Budget Summit (Board of Selectmen, School Committee, Appropriation Committee, and Capital Expenditures Committee) regarding Article 2 of the March 2015 Special Town Meeting #1. The latest version of this can be found here:  http://www.lexingtonma.gov/Selectmen/2015%20TownMeeting/School%20Building%20Project%20Consensus%20Plan.pdf
  • The “consensus document” outlines the group’s desire to pursue large brick-and-mortar projects at Hastings and Diamond, and to only pursue brick-and-mortar projects at Fiske or Clarke should the larger two projects not provide sufficient capacity.  While Clarke and Fiske projects would be considered during feasibility work, they would be backup options for down the road.

March 23rd Special Town Meeting: the School Committee will present the need for the design study funds, ~$4 million, based on increasing enrollment numbers, status of building function, and the specific programs to be kept running.

  • Design study funds are needed to assess whether or not the proposed school projects can move forward into construction. For example, the study results will tell us whether or not the land behind Hastings can support a new and bigger school, by testing the soil and landscape.
  • In addition to the study of the Hastings site, the $4 million in design study funds would also cover things like the location of a standalone pre-K program and/or whether it could be added to a new Hastings or some other location, prefabricated classrooms at Bridge, Bowman, Fiske, Clarke, and Diamond, a brick and mortar project at Diamond, and potential brick and mortar projects at Fiske and Clarke.
  • In order to pass the appropriation of funds in Special Town Meeting, ⅔ of Town Meeting must vote in favor (there are 189 town meeting members total). This $4 million is a portion of the total estimated cost of over $100 million to complete construction of all of the proposed school projects mentioned above. No matter which projects will be eventually built, funding for a feasibility study will need to be spent.

Once the design study is completed:

  • Projects are chosen by the School Committee, and costs are finalized.
  • A special election for town voters will be needed in the fall or early winter to approve a debt exclusion to pay for the building projects.

MSBA funding assistance for rebuilding Hastings:

  • The Statement of Interest for Hastings submitted last year (2014) to the MSBA was not accepted.
  • Later this month, the superintendent will re-submit another SOI for a request in assistance to rebuild Hastings based on 3 priorities:
    • Elimination of existing severe overcrowding (both town wide and within the school – MSBA does not consider the modulars at Hastings in their calculations of existing space);
    • Replacement, renovation, or modernization of school facility systems;
    • Replacement of or addition to obsolete buildings in order to provide a full range of programs consistent with state and approved local requirements.
  • MSBA will decide at the end of 2015 or early 2016 if Hastings will be included in its state-assistance projects.
  • If the MSBA approves Hastings, the town will decide whether or not to accept their offer with assistance. If the town accepts the state’s assistance, the town would be required to build a new Hastings on the state’s timeline and size recommendations. This process can take at least 2 years longer than if the town funds Hastings alone without state assistance.
  • At the March 23rd Special Town Meeting mentioned above, the School Committee, the Board of Selectmen, the Appropriation Committee, and the Capital Expenditures Committee are recommending that the town approve the design, engineering, and architectural services for these projects before we find out if Hastings gets state assistance late this year. These studies will need to be done whether Hastings is accepted into the state program or not.
Concerned parents can do the following:

 

Thank you for taking the time to become informed and if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact PTA Presidents Sharon Musto and Lin Jensen or Hastings Site Council Parent Chair Dan Strollo as noted below.

Sharon Musto
781-572-6648
president@hastings-pto.org

Lin Jensen
781-325-5237
president@hastings-pto.org

Dan Strollo
617-306-6264
Dan@Strollo.net


December 10, 2014 – Superintendent Finalists Announced

The Superintendent Search Committee named Mary Czajkowski, George Entwistle and Kaine Osburn as finalists for the superintendent of schools position at a School Committee meeting on Wednesday, December 10th.

Dr. Czajkowski is the superintendent of Barnstable Public Schools, Dr. Entwistle is superintendent of Scarborough Public Schools in Scarborough, Maine, and Mr. Osburn is the deputy superintendent of the Naperville Community Unit School District 203 in Naperville, Illinois.

The three finalists will be interviewed by the School Committee next week. Mr. Osburn is scheduled to visit Lexington on Monday, December 15th, Dr. Entwistle on Wednesday, December 17th, and Dr. Czajkowski on Thursday, December 18th. Each candidate will visit Lexington, tour the district, meet with staff members before being interviewed.

While each finalist is in Lexington they will attend an hour-long reception that will be open to the public at 2:30 p.m. at Lexington High School, 251 Waltham St., in the Library Media Center. This will be open to the community and a great chance to meet the finalists.


School Committee Meeting – November 18, 2014

Amidst the many recent School Committee meetings focused on enrolment and overcrowding was the regularly scheduled meeting on Nov. 18, that did not have this issue on the agenda.  This meeting included:

1) a report from the Ad Hoc Committee on Youth at Risk, emphasizing recommendations to address student stress

2) a report from the special education department about efforts to address concerns from a parent survey conducted in 2012-2013, including results from an ongoing parent survey.

Please see the following link for all relevant materials.


School Committee Meeting/Budget Summit – November 10, 2014

Reading packet (Note: you must go to PAGE 2, and then scroll down to the November 10th meeting reading packet)
http://records.lexingtonma.gov/weblink8/0/fol/203174/Row1.aspx

Background/Revenue Projections

  • Members from Town Manager’s Office, Capital Expenditures Comm, Appropriations Comm, School Comm, and Board of Selectmen met to review FY2016 revenue projections and the School Committee’s request for January Special Town Meeting
  • Net revenues from tax levy have increased by 4.2%, and Single Family Dwellings (SFDs) show avg incr of 10%; however, uneven distribution (range of property values is -15% to +35% based on size/style/location)
  • Residents will receive tax bills in Jan; Pato urged group to be careful as we choose to spend given timing and changes in property values

School Committee Presentation

  • Confirmed that potential Fiske/Harrington wings would take 3 years
  • Proposed modulars would be located so as not to impede long-term space construction
  • Emphasized need for flexibility given Enrollment Working Group #s

Discussion among School Committee, Board of Selectmen and Finance Committees

  • There was much discussion and some concern among Appropriations Committee, Capital Expenditures Committee, and Board of Selectmen that request for modulars at January Special Town Meeting was not as detailed and specific as they would like
  • Selectmen urged School Committee to make as compelling a case as possible for January vs. March/April Special Town Meeting tacked on to Annual Town Meeting
  • Many requests among Appropriations and Capital Expenditures Committees for more consideration of “no cost” redistricting plans/options
    • Suggestions by Finance Committees to fill classrooms available at Estabrook and various spots in specific classrooms at Hastings
    • School Committee discussed challenges of “cherry picking” right number of students by August based on grade/classroom
  • Discussion around overcrowding at Bridge & Bowman given renovations, intended size (vs. actuals) and severe overcrowding; School Comm members emphasized students need relief, others concerned with adding capacity to already large schools.
  • Members requested addit info be included for 11/17 such as:
    • How much it would cost to lease vs. buy and what is the most cost effective (and flexible) option?
    • Do we need 1 or 2 at each school (“up to 2” too vague)?
    • Are we looking at 3 or 5-year time horizon as to how long we need the modulars?
    • How long would modulars take to be installed (if approved in January vs. March)? Lack of confidence for Sept installation
    • Do we know that modulars will be available when we need them and that they will be the quality we need?
  • Selectmen will decide on Mon, 11/17, 7 pm whether to grant January Special Town Meeting