School Committee Meeting – November 19, 2014

K-5 Enrollment Concerns and Space Options

Survey proposed to gather evaluation criteria/ parent priorities on overcrowding from community; PTA/ PTO to be approached. Ideas not under consideration to be defined by school committee
Decision may not be made until 5 days after town meeting- April 2015. Need more guidance counselors and teachers as student population increases.
Coming reports due:
Nov 20: adhoc school master planning meeting. options/ brainstorming for coming year; considering extending days
End of year: Enrollment working group final report due . Defining actual needs from current data
End of year, maybe Jan: SOI for Hastings
5 Jan 2015 Architect report due
Full agenda at:

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)

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

School Committee Meeting – November 3, 2014

The School Committee discussed several options to address growing enrollment in Lexington Public Schools with a focus on overcrowding at the preschool (housed at Harrington Elementary), Fiske, Bridge and Bowman. The School Committee voted unanimously to request that selectman call a special Town Meeting in January to ask for funds to install up to two modular classrooms at each of the following elementary schools: Bridge, Bowman, and Fiske. Architects estimate the total cost of the proposed modulars to be about $2.4 million. The goal would be to have these modulars in place in time for the start of the 2015-2016 school year.

The School Committee identified the following reasons for their selection of temporary modulars:

  1. They are a relief valve for overcrowding that could be applied in the immediate-term
  2. They help to keep normal sized classrooms
  3. They preserve the integrity of art, music, gym and library spaces
  4. They are temporary and will not foreclose long-term strategies to address overcrowding.

The School Committee also discussed other options for handling growing enrollment numbers, including redistricting and/or moving part or whole of the preschool program currently housed at Harrington Elementary School to the “old Harrington” school which currently houses Central Administration offices. While estimates for moving the preschool were discussed at the meeting, no decision was made on this option, and no funds will be requested at the special January town meeting.

The School Committee is working with an outside consulting group, SMMA (Symmes, Maini, and McKee Associates) to help them assess capacity of Lexington Public schools (preschool, elementary, middle school, and high school) and provide options for increasing space. SSMA has completed Phase 1 and Phase 2 of their work, and all documents and recommendations completed by SMMA and reviewed at the November 2 School Committee meeting and can be found in the School Committee packet at:

Phase 3 of SMMA’s work will address longer term solutions for addressing growing student enrollment and space constraints. The School Committee expects to have a report from SMMA in January 2015 to address longer term solutions.

A rebuild or renovation of Hastings will play a key role in addressing overcrowding. Lexington is awaiting a decision from the MSBA (Massachusetts School Building Authority) on whether the town will receive state funds for this project. A decision should be made in December (next month). Several School Committee members voiced their support for a either rebuilding or renovating Hastings regardless of the MSBA decision, which would require approval of funds from the town.
You can view the meeting in its entirety on LexMedia at (select School Committee from the Playlists section).

School Committee Meeting – October 28, 2014

Superintendent selection committee reviewed K-12 capacity issues.

Short term options considered:

  • 3yr lease Modulars- some preferred this
  • Redistrict from Fiske to Estabrook: preferred by superintendent
  • Increase class sizes add teacher’s aids
  • Not favored options: Music, Gym, art rooms shared w/ classes

Long term:

  • Hastings: New build or renovate
  • Permanent Building Wing: modular/ brick & mortar
  • New Pre-K location
  • New LHS
  • Redistricting
  • Space Mining – Look for under-utilized spaces & re-purpose
  • School Committee Policies First Review (read aloud) Public comment invited for Second Review
  • PolicyJIC: Student Discipline
  • Policy JII: Student Complaints and Grievances
  • Policy JK: Student Conduct

Agenda and details of policies found here.

School Committee Meeting – October 21, 2014

School Committee Meeting Summary
Oct 21, 2014

Download the agenda and meeting packet

2014 MCAS Report:
Major statistics presented were among Grades 5, 8 and 10, measuring performance in English Language Arts, Math, and Science and Technology. When compared to the entire state of Massachusetts, Lexington scored higher by comparison in all categories. When compared to similar communities (Weston, Wellesley, Brookline, Newton, Westwood, Belmont, and Winchester), Lexington scored among the highest.

Fiscal Year 2016 Capital Recommendations:
Summaries of requests include: Furniture and Equipment Replacement Program, Technology Program, Time Clock Implementation Costs, and Department of Public Facilities.

Facilities projects being proposed for FY 2016 includes Hastings School Renovation/Replacement. The $1.1 million requested for FY 16 is the cost of the feasibility study for Hastings School to be renovated vs rebuilt. We will know by Dec or early Jan 2015 if the state will help with financial assistance to rebuild/renovate. The feasibility study would need to be conducted first.

Discussion of PreK-12 space needs across the district:
Options for overcrowding for next year: allow class sizes to rise above School Committee guidelines (and add an assistant), add modular classrooms, use art/music room for general education classrooms (thus having art/music on a cart), split the gym in half to create PE and art spaces, and finally, redistrict students to schools that have more physical space.

Continued discussion on this topic will be discussed at the next School Committee meeting on Oct 28th and a final vote on Nov 3rd regarding their decision on what to do about the overcrowding for next year.

School Committee Meeting, October 7, 2014

Meeting Highlights:

1) Halloween trick or treat with the merchants on Mass Ave. 31 Oct. 2-5 pm. Adults must accompany children.

2) Enterovirus: schools received training on how to identify and actions to take have been advised how to identify it.

3) Elementary World Language Program: 2017. For instruction to start; School day to be extended. Meeting agenda with Details on World Language Program.

4) Superintendent :
~ Goals for this year agreed. How to measure goals/ success not agreed
~ Replacement Search: Oct 17th Applications due to join selection committee
~ Application for Search Committee Membership

5) Safe Way to School Programs: Walking Wednesdays is an international program. Ongoing programs: Bike smart, Helmet education and Pedestrian safety