School Committee gives itself passing grade

Written by Administrator
 | Tuesday, 15 September 2009 22:33

The Duxbury School Committee isn’t usually in the business of giving grades. However, they gave themselves passing marks at their first meeting of the academic year –– although Chairman George Cipolletti added there was “room for improvement.”

Each year, the committee does a self-evaluation. They rate themselves on a scale of 1 to 5 on professionalism, communication and stewardship. The committee gave themselves a 3.68 on stewardship, and a 3.2 on communication, and the lowest score was a 3 in professionalism. However,  Cipolletti admitted the scores were widely spread out.

“There’s room for improvement,” Cipolletti said.

Committee member Maureen Connolly talked about the desire to support administrator versus listening to the public at large as a “fundamental difference” between School Committee members

“One of their goals,” she said, referring to guidelines from the state, “is to preserve the school committee as the voice of parents and taxpayers. I think that’s something we have to keep in mind on this committee.”

Committee member Anne Ward talked about different strategies for solving problems and increased participation in professional development events as ways to improve.

“We can use these as jumping off points to how we work together as a committee,” she said.

Connolly asked if the group was going to read the self-evaluation comments in detail, but Cipolletti said that should be saved for the committee’s workshop meeting on Sept. 23 at the high school. The time is not yet finalized, but Cipolletti said it would be posted according to the Open Meeting Law.

“I look forward to talking about this in more depth at our workshop,” said Karen Wong.

In other business the School Committee:

• Listened as each building principal introduced their new teaching staff.

• Heard from Superintendent Susan Skeiber that attendance in the district has increased this year, although the preliminary attendance figures are only one student off from the district’s projections. Skeiber said part of the issue may be parents pulling their children out of private schools and putting them back in public education. “That is a trend that seems to be continuing this year,” she said. Official attendance numbers will not be available until Oct. 1.

• Were told by Anne Ward that Town Manager Richard MacDonald is asking all departments to come up with two budgets for the next fiscal year. One is a level-funded budget (meaning the same amount of money, but often resulting in de facto cuts because of rising fixed costs like health insurance and utilities) and another budget that represents a three percent reduction over last year’s budget.

• Chairman George Cipolletti said that traffic around the high school in the morning has become clogged. “As busing gets more expensive it’s just going to get worse,” he said. He wanted the superintendent to sit down with the police department and come up with a traffic plan similar to graduation. Skeiber said she would look into it.

• Went into executive session for collective bargaining issues.