Thursday, September 16, 2004
6:45 PM Open Session to Executive Session
7:50 Reconvene to Open Session

Members present: Julie Dobrow, Sandy Hessler, Ashton Peery and Dennis Picker. Jan Nyquist arrived at 6:47p.m. Laura Koning.arrived at 7:05 p.m.
Also present: Mickey Brandmeyer, Superintendent; Paul Naso, Assistant Superintendent; and Dave Jack, Business Administrator.
  1. Greetings and Call to Order
    Dennis Picker called the meeting to order at 6:45 p.m. Mr. Picker moved that the Committee adjourn for purposes of entering executive session to discuss matters related to contract negotiations, and to reconvene open session at 7:50 p.m. Ms. Dobrow seconded the motion. Motion approved in a roll call vote: Dennis - yes; Ashton � yes; Julie � yes; Sandy - yes. The Committee adjourned to executive session at 6:47 p.m.

  2. Executive Session
    1. Contract negotiations

  3. Reconvene to Open Session
    The committee reconvened in open session at 7:54 p.m.


  4. Chairperson�s and Members� report
    Mr. Picker acknowledged the presence of a video camera to be used for taping the meeting for replay on the local cable channel. For the benefit of the viewing audience Mr. Picker introduced School Committee members and administrators at the table.

    Mr. Picker reported that he was in attendance at the new teacher orientation meeting on August 31st and the back-to-school meeting for teachers on September 1st and that he had addressed both groups.

    He also reported that the Committee had received a thank you note from Poppy Milner for the Committee�s recognition of her years of service in Lincoln.

    Mr. Picker also noted that he will write a letter on behalf of the Committee to David Birney, former Hanscom representative to the School Committee, thanking him for his service. Mr. Picker added that the Base Commander is expected to make a new appointment soon.

    Mr. Picker concluded his report by expressing his optimism for the year and his desire to help the Committee and the school department remain on task.

    Ms. Dobrow reported that she and Mr. Peery recently attended a dinner organized by Sara Mattes to welcome the new Hanscom Base Commander. She added that she has had occasion to see the beginning-of-year excitement at the Lincoln School.

    Mr. Peery acknowledged the work of the custodial and maintenance work crews and thanked them for the many improvements to facilities that were made over the summer months.

    Mr. Picker acknowledged that Cheryl Lecesse, a new reporter for the Lincoln Journal, was present in the audience and welcomed her.

  5. Public Comments
    There were no public comments.

  6. Time Scheduled Appointments
    1. Request to Approve Carroll School
      Mr. Picker referred the Committee to the information regarding the Carroll School included in their packet. He also acknowledged that Donna Sullivan, Director of Curriculum and Instruction was present at the meeting and invited her to join the Committee at the table.

      Mr. Brandmeyer provided background and explained the law requiring a School Committee to grant approval to private schools operating within its district. He added that neither Carroll School nor the Lincoln Public Schools had evidence in their files of approval having been given. Mr. Brandmeyer also explained the process for approval.

      In response to Ms. Nyquist�s question, the Committee and Mr. Brandmeyer discussed the differences between Department of Education approval and School Committee approval. They also discussed what could be regarded as due diligence in this process.

      Mr. Peery suggested that a visit to the Carroll School occur before making a decision. The Committee agreed. Mr. Peery will schedule a visit prior to September 30th. The Committee agreed to take up the issue again at its meeting on September 30th.

    2. Discussion of State of the Town Report
      Mr. Picker discussed the planning meeting held last month and explained that the report, a draft of which was in their packets, was being submitted the next day.

      Mr. Peery suggested edits and revisions.

      Mr. Picker moved that the Committee approve the letter with edits discussed at the meeting and further grammatical edits Mr. Peery would pass along to Mr. Picker. Ms. Dobrow seconded the motion. The Committee unanimously agreed to submit the letter for the State of the Town Report.

      Mr. Picker moved that the Committee post this letter on the School Committee web page. Ms. Dobrow seconded the motion. The Committee unanimously agreed to post the letter on the website.

    3. School Committee Long-Term Agenda � Initial Discussion
      Mr. Picker previewed upcoming agendas and drew particular attention to upcoming discussions of work plans for School Committee and goals and selected work plans for district goals. He provided an overview of the agenda items and explained reasons certain items appear on proposed agendas.

      Ms. Dobrow asked for more personnel information to be reported at the November 4th meeting.

      The Committee discussed possible difficulties the public may have getting onto the Hanscom Air Force Base for the October 14th School Committee meeting.

      Mr. Peery suggested that mid-year review items appear earlier than January 13th.

      The Committee discussed work plan �owners� and their specific assignments.

      Mr. Brandmeyer mentioned that typically there are two Boston meetings per year and suggested that the Committee keep open the possibility for a different type of session for the second Boston meeting. He and Christina Horner are discussing other formats.

      Mr. Picker asked the Committee to review the draft. There will be further discussion at the September 30th meeting and the School Committee will be asked if it is ready to adopt the long-term agenda.

    4. Update on Student Enrollment
      Mr. Brandmeyer provided the most current enrollment information. He reported that class size is at or below target at every grade level at each school. He added that there was a lower enrollment than expected at Hanscom Middle School grades 7 and 8. Also there are slightly higher numbers than expected at Hanscom Primary School Kindergarten and grade 1.

      The Committee discussed their desire to receive more data about students leaving the district. Mr. Brandmeyer agreed to get data for later this fall. The Committee discussed mechanisms for collecting that data.

      Ms. Hessler asked why sections were not reduced when the Hanscom Middle School enrollments at grades 7 and 8 decreased. Mr. Brandmeyer explained that it was not possible to see that until late in the summer and by that time there were already employment commitments to teachers. In addition, it is difficult to collapse sections in middle school without disrupting the curriculum delivery model.

      Ms. Koning explained that she anticipated possible reduced enrollments at Hanscom over next few years because of the housing rebuilding project.

      Mr. Peery asked for a more detailed trend analysis of this enrollment data.

  7. Superintendent�s Report
    Mr. Brandmeyer observed that there has been a good opening to the school year. He briefly acknowledged the work accomplished with facilities over the summer. He thanked many parent volunteers who have given their time for plantings and improving exterior appearances at the schools.

    Mr. Brandmeyer welcomed Cheryl Lecesse who began recently as a reporter for the Lincoln Journal.

    Mr. Brandmeyer also thanked the Public Works Department for their assistance with the summer facilities and grounds projects.

    Mr. Brandmeyer summarized steps being taken to improve traffic flow and safety conditions near the Lincoln School.

    Mr. Brandmeyer mentioned that an auditor�s report was in the back of the Committee�s information packet and noted the positive assessment included in the report. Ms. Nyquist commended Mr. Jack for his success at addressing financial issues.

  8. Curriculum
    1. Summer Activities
      Paul Naso discussed the report provided to the Committee members about the 24 summer curriculum and program improvement projects. He explained the different types of needs addressed by the projects. Committee members noted the extent of work involved in revising and renewing curriculum and discussed the advantages and disadvantages of adopting learning expectations and curriculum descriptions developed outside of district versus conducting this work within the district. The Committee discussed ways that the results of these projects can be made more evident to parents.

    2. Personnel Update
      Paul Naso summarized information about new faculty appointments, reviewed the hiring process and described improvements made to the mentoring program.

      Mr. Naso also explained a complication that has arisen concerning the scheduling of a main speaker for Institute Day, set in the school calendar for March 18th. He asked that the Committee consider rescheduling of Institute Day---which appears on the calendar as a vacation day for students---to March 11th.

      Mr. Picker moved that the Committee reschedule Institute Day to March 11th. Ms. Nyquist seconded the motion. The Committee unanimously approved the change.

  9. Policy
    There were no policy matters considered.

  10. Budget and Financial
    1. Report on Facilities Improvement
      Mr. Jack summarized the lighting improvements on both campuses, and he detailed the outdoor lighting improvements at the Lincoln School.

      He reported that there was a delay in the plans to remove the failed canopy at the Hartwell pods due to problems with bid responses.

      Mr. Jack explained the status of the facilities studies for both the Hanscom campus and the Lincoln campus.

      He reported that there were two unanticipated expenses. There was one instance of vandalism that required an expense to remove paint from the exterior of the Lincoln School. The other was a result of a mistake by a subcontractor that caused a leak that required carpet removal and tile replacement in one Lincoln School classroom.

    2. Capital Planning Discussion
      Mr. Picker suggested that the Committee may wish to form a Capital Planning Subcommittee and explained that the Committee needs to consider what will be submitted on the requested date.

      Mr. Brandmeyer reviewed his conversation with Tim Higgins. He also explained the processes being followed to track improvements and monitor needs for classroom rehabilitation.

      Mr. Brandmeyer also proposed that the Committee submit a �maintenance� technology capital plan to address the needs for existing and most likely continuing practices. This is an interim step until the long range technology plan is completed later this year. He also indicated that the phone system needs a close look.

      He referred to a capital planning category named �rolling stock� and the request to purchase a vehicle for school department needs and his intent to do an analysis of the current van that serves many purposes.

      Mr. Picker asked that the district determine if there may be additional actions to increase energy savings.

      Mr. Peery suggested that the subcommittee bring enrollment projections and tell the Capital Planning Committee that future space needs are being investigated and the results may have an impact in upcoming years.

      Ms. Nyquist and Mr. Picker expressed interest in serving on a capital planning subcommittee. Mr. Picker moved that the Committee form such a subcommittee. Ms. Nyquist seconded the motion. The Committee unanimously approved the formation of the subcommittee for capital planning.

    3. Transportation Report
      Mr. Jack reported that the transportation program is generally working well. Specific problems from previous years (e.g. the difficulty of picking up students who reside on Route 2 have been resolved. The Committee briefly discussed the difference between revenue projections and actuals which Mr. Jack estimated at $1500-$2000 out of $33,000.

      Mr. Jack especially commended Stephanie Brown for her scheduling work and her efforts to resolve the route problems. He observed that these transportation details required approximately four weeks of work this summer.

    4. Warrant Approval
      Mr. Peery moved that the Committee approve a warrant dated July 2nd in the amount of $2,166,778.11. Ms. Nyquist seconded the motion. The Committee unanimously approved the motion.

      Mr. Peery moved that the Committee approve a warrant dated September 9th in the amount of $1,806,164.72. Ms. Nyquist seconded the motion. The Committee unanimously approved the motion.

  11. Old Business
    1. Update from Communications Subcommittee
      Ms. Dobrow thanked members of the community (Gert Webb, Laurie Manos, Barbara Low, Beth Lerman and Richard Jewett) who have joined the Communications Subcommittee.

      Ms. Dobrow described two areas of focus: ways to disseminate information in a timely manner and ways for the community to offer input to the School Committee.

      Ms. Dobrow proposed dates for upcoming School Committee coffees which will occur about once per month. She moved that the Committee accept those dates. Ms. Hessler seconded the motion. The Committee unanimously approved the motion.

      Ms. Nyquist suggested that the Committee revisit the schedule at a later date to assess the response to attendance.

      Ms. Dobrow also explained that the Subcommittee plans to use bulletin board space at various points within school facilities and around Town, at Hanscom and at METCO, Inc. to disseminate information. The Committee discussed the items of information that they wished to have posted in that manner.

      Ms. Dobrow moved that the Committee approve the posting of information in this manner. Mr. Picker seconded the motion and asked that such efforts not have a work impact on the administrative staff. The Committee unanimously approved the motion.

      Ms. Dobrow also discussed the efforts of the Subcommittee to prepare explanatory information about the organizational structure and management of the School Committee and the school district administration. They envision three �tiers� of information: an organizational chart with an accompanying letter of explanation, an explanation of the different levels of management and the responsibilities, and a statement explaining the evolution of the roles of administrators.

      Ms. Dobrow distributed a letter providing an overview of the communication plan. There was discussion and suggested changes. Mr. Picker moved that the Committee approve the letter with edits. Mr. Peery seconded the motion. The Committee unanimously approved the letter.

      The Committee discussed the complications of getting volunteers to assist with the videotaping of the School Committee meetings and the various types of coordination needed.

      Mr. Picker explained the status of the email opt-in list and reported that the service is now operational. He moved that the Committee grant permission to put the subscription information on the website. It will provide options for School Committee news and District news. Ms. Dobrow seconded the motion. The Committee unanimously approved the motion.

  12. New Business

  13. Approval of Minutes
    Ms. Hessler moved that the Committee approve the minutes for the July 7th meeting. Ms. Dobrow seconded the motion. Three approved, two abstained and one concurred.

  14. Information Enclosures

  15. Adjournment
    Mr. Picker moved that the Committee adjourn. Ms. Dobrow seconded the motion. The Committee adjourned at 11:10 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by
Paul Naso, Assistant Superintendent