School Committee Meeting – December 1, 2015

Agenda for the meeting can be found here.

At the School Committee Meeting on Tuesday, December 1 the School Committee discussed the multiple school projects being considered as part of the capital plan. The Committee spent time with the Superintendent and Director of Public Facilities preparing for and clarifying their motions and recommendations for the Special Town Meeting #1 and the Board of Selectman meeting to be held Wednesday, December 2.

They approved a broad motion for the Town Meeting asking for $5,386,000 for the design, engineering, and architectural plans for new school buildings and additions, including the purchase of up to 6 modulars for elementary school use. Continued planning for a new Hastings is included in this amount. There was conversation about whether the Committee wanted to recommend leasing or purchasing the modulars. The ultimate consensus was that they would recommend purchasing the modulars as the more fiscally responsible and flexible option. The Superintendent requested that the School Committee allow school administration to come back to them with a specific recommendation for how to best use the additional spaces at elementary schools. The Superintendent expressed comfort, in general, with asking for up to 6 modulars.

The Chairman also asked if others were interested in reconsidering a brick and mortar possibility at Harrington. This included conversation about LCP and the considerations around whether or not LCP should have a free standing building or be part of an elementary school. Interest was expressed in asking to receive additional design and schematics for a brick and mortar addition to Harrington. There were concerns that without this consideration the town may not be addressing the overcrowding at the elementary school level. Director of Public Facilities, Pat Goddard, requested that the Committee wait until they receive the Harrington report due from DeNisco in December. Once they have that report in hand, they can consider what additional work they might want to consider.

There also was conversation around the middle school needs and the options presented at the Nov 17 meeting. The middle school principals both encouraged the School Committee to recognize that choosing the second option, which did not include additions to Clarke, meant endorsing middle school class sizes at both schools of 28 – 29 students. They suggested the optimal class size to be 22 – 25 students. There also was recognition that some of the class size tension Lexington experiences is, counter intuitively, due to the plethora of class offerings (ex. choice of world languages, math levels, etc), in addition to the team sizes.

The Committee formulated a request to the Board of Selectman for the release of previously approved funds to continue work on plans for Diamond and Clarke, begin design work for purchase of 6 modulars, and the reallocation of funds to study redesigning central office space for LCP use.


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