School Committee Welcomes New Member; Discusses Personnel Changes
Pending contract negotiations, over 20 layoffs may be necessary next school year.
Not everything came up roses at the Coventry School Committee meeting at held on Valentine’s Day.
Superintendent Michael Convery announced layoffs of 28 personnel throughout the school system effective for the upcoming school year, pending ongoing negotiations. “Most of them are one-year positions, but we won’t know until the budget is finished and before the end of the summer if we can hire some or any of them back,” he said.
FY13 Budget Deveopment and Capital Bond Referendums
Robin Pelletier, Director of Business/Finance, estimates there will be an increase of about $100,000 in the 2012-2013 school budget, while noting teacher salary and budget negotiations are still underway. “We anticipate no increases in current staffing levels, no step increases and no longevity increases,” she said.
“We want to put together bond referendums for $10 million and $5 million through the state legislature so citizens can vote on them,” said Superintendent Michael Convery of ongoing efforts to make long-needed repairs in Coventry schools. “The biggest issue is to fix roofs and that will cost about $5 million,” he noted. “It will cost about $1 million for boilers and $1.5 million for athletic facilities.”
CHS Fire Code Update
The committee agreed not to take action on existing fire code violations estimated to cost $400,000 that are required to be fixed before a one-year extension expires in September. “The Fire Code Board of Appeals is scheduled to meet next week and we hope to be granted a further extension,” said Convery.
New School Committee Member
Frank Hyde, who served for eight years on the Town Council, was welcomed as the newest school committee member on Tuesday night. Hyde was appointed by the School Committee to fill the unexpired term of Lianne M. Russell, District 3, who until the next regular election.
Hopkins Hill Presentation
Nicole Hitchener, Positive Behavior Intervention Specialist and Principal Tracey Whitehead of , and first-grade teacher Lori Pare, discussed several methods and strategies being used at the school to create a better learning environment by reducing disruptions in classrooms and rewarding good behavior.
Hitchener showed a chart indicating “77 percent of all students had one or less referrals, 16 percent had 1-5 and 6 percent had six or more referrals for disruptions during the past school year. Other surveys also showed that nearly all Hopkins Hill students reported they felt safer in school, safe on their way to school, that their parents expected them to get good grades and that parents want to know what is going in school.
“We want our students to be respectful, responsible and safe,” said Whitehead. For students with more than one referral, “check in and check out” with a behavior specialist is being effectively used. For students with the most referrals, interventions with teachers, family members and perhaps with mentors and community resources have resulted in success stories.
“We work on all students completing the academic work, behavior education and social skills instruction,” said Hitchener. “They all go together.”
“This is not about you as a teacher,” said Assistant Superintendent James Erinakes II of the referrals. “This is about how we can intervene and offer assistance and support.”
Cell Tower at Blackrock School
The cell tower at can be bought for a one-time fee of $315,000 but the town would have to approve the lease,” said Convery. “They would not have to pay for point of sales.” Board members were reluctant to vote on the matter, expressing concern about less restrictions placed on the cell phone company once the tower is bought.
Common Core Alignment Update
Superintendent Convery said he is “excited” about the state encouraging several districts to work together to integrate English Language Arts into the secondary school core curriculum by 2014. “That way we can share work with other districts and take fewer teachers away from teaching and have them spend less time out of the classroom in training,” he said. “This will accelerate the project and save costs at a fraction of what it would have cost.”
School Committee Chair Katherine Patenaude said a parent-teacher forum with RI Education Commissioner Deborah Gist will be held on Monday, Feb. 27, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. at the Media Center.
The next School Committee meeting will be on Tues., Feb. 28 at 7:00 p.m.