School Committee Updates–January 28, February 1, and February 4
January 28, 2014
The January 28, 2014 School Committee meeting included an executive session (not open to the public) to discuss strategy for collective bargaining with Lexington Education Association units and a public hearing on the Superintendent’s FY 15 recommended budget. There was also an executive session to conduct a strategy session in preparation for contract negotiations with Superintendent Ash. The recommended budget proposes $89.9 million to fund the district’s goals and sets aside $657,000 for the district’s future capital projects. The public discussion included requests from Lexington High School teachers to use some of the $657,000 to add staff at the high school to reduce teacher workloads. Other discussions focused on the need to appropriate funds for school supplies that have been funded by Parent Teacher Associations.
February 1, 2014
The public hearing included the opportunity for public comment on the budget under consideration. The potential addition of a part-time district-level communications specialist received several comments, and Superintendent Ash agreed with school committee members that this proposal would likely be removed from the proposed budget. Other topics of primary interest were concerns about class size, particularly at the high school level, teacher load at the high school, and the potential addition of a data analyst & assessment specialist for the district.
February 4, 2014
The February 4 meeting School Committee meeting continued the public discussion of Superintendent Ash’s recommended FY 15 budget. The discussion focused on recommendations for new staff. The committee eliminated Ash’s proposed part-time communications specialist (with a proposed annual salary of $30,00) and added a director of planning and assessment to the budget (with a proposed annual salary of $100,000). The director of planning and assessment would collaborate with the assistant superintendent of curriculum, instruction, and professional development to incorporate more data-driven decision-making and research-based measures into the district. There was a debate amongst School Committee members about whether to hire the director of planning and assessment this year or in FY16, and whether these funds could be used in FY15 to add teaching staff. There was also a debate about lowering the cost of field trips.
The School Committee will vote on the proposed budget during the February 11, 2014 School Committee meeting.
The budget documents discussed in these sessions can be found on the School Committee Web site at http://lps.lexingtonma.org/site/Default.aspx?PageID=1220.