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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



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.


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)

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 – 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.

Summary of Town of Lexington Financial Summit I (October 8, 2014)

Lexington is in good fiscal condition. Debt service amount was closely examined. Financing plan for increasing school population and school facilities is at forefront. CAPITAL will be the town’s focus for the coming years. (LPS spends about 72% of town’s revenue.)

LPS enrollment increased 14% from 2000 to 2014 (5807 to 6643), projected 600 more students in the next years. 8 out of 9 schools are at or over capacity. Expect increase in both operating and capital spending.

For space needed before 9/ 2015: decision must be made by 1/2015. Intermediate plans for the next five years: pending, no news re Hastings new building.
Dr. Ash does not recommend increase class size to solve the problem.