Pentucket Regional School Committee
Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011
Having the administration meet with Merrimac officials to present and explain an invoice for an additional $55,000 for asbestos remediation at Donaghue Elementary School. The amount represents work completed through Jan. 20. The committee anticipates the remediation work will be completed within two weeks and could cost the town an additional $6,000 to $12,000.
Creating three selection committees to review state-recommended contractors for building projects at the district's elementary schools. Chris Reading of West Newbury, Jack Willett of Groveland and Jane Broz of Merrimac will represent the board on the committees. Representatives from the administration will also serve on the committees.
Using two early-release days for Donaghue students to make up a portion of missed class time due to their school's closure earlier this month during asbestos remediation work. The School Committee will decide next week how Donaghue students will make up the remaining three days of missed school, either by attending school during February or April vacation weeks or on Saturdays, or by extending the school year. Donaghue parents and teachers will be surveyed a second time to get a clearer sense of their preferences for making up these days.
Holding a discussion in open session on a complaint issued by Vice Chairman Jill Eichhorst of West Newbury against Broz and Joe D'Amore of Groveland. Eichhorst raised concerns that her colleagues may have violated two School Committee policies communicating with colleagues during discussions on the mold and asbestos remediation at Donaghue. D'Amore and Broz strongly disputed the charge and requested an open session to discuss it. Because the comments made by D'Amore and Broz could potentially be construed as part of an ongoing investigation into a complaint against a district employee, Chairman Rich Perrotti advised Eichhorst not to publicly discuss her specific complaints. D'Amore and Broz urged Eichhorst to provide them the specific wording of the policy she thought they were in violation of prior to the committee discussing the issue further in closed session.
Going into executive session to discuss a complaint against an employee.
Policies governing student discipline and intra-district school choice. Parents with students in district-wide programs asked that siblings be given consideration to attend the same school in the district program. The board agreed to vote a limited number of choice slots per elementary school to accommodate families with multiple children when possible. If more students are requesting slots in a school than are available, a lottery will decide placement.
The impact of temporarily relocating students from Donaghue to the high school and Sweetsir Elementary School during asbestos remediation work at Donaghue. Teachers, parents and students seemed positive about the experience overall and complimented the guest schools for easing the transition for Donaghue students and staff. However, fifth-grade teacher Jane Deliere criticized the administration's handling of the problem and called for the Superintendent Paul Livingston's resignation.
Proposed budgets for next year for the district's four elementary schools with the building principals. A public hearing on the budget is planned for Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Pentucket High School cafeteria. The committee asked the superintendent to provide estimated revenues and town assessments in time for the public hearing and, as soon as possible, a summary of staff-level changes based on enrollments over the past three to five years and projections for next year.
News that the West Newbury Board of Health identified a fifth room containing cracked asbestos tiles at Pentucket Middle School. The committee was unaware of this discovery until learning about it from newspaper and radio reports. Livingston said the problem was small enough to be handled by custodians, with no plans to seal off or remediate the entire fifth room. Willett asked that the committee be kept informed of any further discovery of cracked tiles in the schools.
Notice from Pentucket Association of Teachers president Maria Gray that teachers voted to adopt a work-to-rule action starting Monday through Feb. 11 in response to what they say is a lack of progress in contract negotiations over the past 15 months.