The Duxbury School Committee isnâ€™t usually in the business of giving grades. However, they gave themselves passing marks at their first meeting of the academic year â€“â€“ although Chairman George Cipolletti added there was â€œroom for improvement.â€
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.
â€œThereâ€™s room for improvement,â€ Cipolletti said.
Committee member Maureen Connolly talked about the desire to support administrator versus listening to the public at large as a â€œfundamental differenceâ€ between School Committee members
â€œOne of their goals,â€ she said, referring to guidelines from the state, â€œis to preserve the school committee as the voice of parents and taxpayers. I think thatâ€™s something we have to keep in mind on this committee.â€
Committee member Anne Ward talked about different strategies for solving problems and increased participation in professional development events as ways to improve.
â€œWe can use these as jumping off points to how we work together as a committee,â€ 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 committeeâ€™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.
â€œI look forward to talking about this in more depth at our workshop,â€ said Karen Wong.
In other business the School Committee:
â€¢ Listened as each building principal introduced their new teaching staff.
â€¢ 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 districtâ€™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. â€œThat is a trend that seems to be continuing this year,â€ she said. Official attendance numbers will not be available until Oct. 1.
â€¢ 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 yearâ€™s budget.
â€¢ Chairman George Cipolletti said that traffic around the high school in the morning has become clogged. â€œAs busing gets more expensive itâ€™s just going to get worse,â€ 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.
â€¢ Went into executive session for collective bargaining issues.