Feb. 11, 2009 School Committee Meeting


Regular Meeting of the Quincy School Committee
February 11, 2009

7:00 p.m.
City Council Chambers

I. Approval of Minutes: Regular Session Minutes for January 21, 2009.

II. Superintendent’s Report:

A. Special Olympics Event

B. School Calendar Draft (2009-2010)

C. Quincy High School Cultural Fair

D. Read Across America

E. Career and Technical Education Student of the Year

F. Atlantic Middle School Fiftieth Anniversary Celebration

G. North Quincy High School Girls Volleyball Team

III. Open Forum: An opportunity for community input regarding the Quincy Public Schools. After giving his or her name and address, each speaker may make a presentation of no more than four minutes to the School Committee.

IV. Old Business

A. Update on building projects, renovations, and construction: Mr. Murphy to report.

B. Update on the New Quincy High School: Mrs. Dwyer to report.

C. Update on Central: Mrs. Bragg and Mrs. Mahoney to report.

D. A motion was made by Mrs. Bragg, seconded by Mr. Mariano to adopt the changes to the Title I policy. As is School Committee policy, a final vote must be taken by the School Committee.

V.  New Business:

A. Quincy Public Schools Engineering and Technology program – Director of Career and Technology, Mr. Segalla to report.

B. Out of State Travel: Robotic team to Phoenix Arizona. See Attachment A

VI. Additional Business:

VII. Communications:

VIII. Hearings: - none

IX. Reports of Special Committees:

A. Budget Subcommittee: (Budget Quarterly Report) Mr. Mariano

B. School Facilities Management Subcommittee: Mrs. Dwyer to report.

C. Special Education Subcommittee: Mrs. Mahoney to report

D. Health, Safety & Security Subcommittee: Mr. Puleo to report

E. Policy Subcommittee: Mrs. Bragg to report.

X Executive Session:

XI. Adjournment:

Subcommittees of the School Committee

Subcommittee Date Referred Business Pending
Budget & Finance
Mariano/Bragg/McCarthy 4/11/2007 HS Health Curriculum
  3/29/2008 Bus Rental Fees
  3/29/2008 Building Rental Fees
  9/10/2008 Revolving Funds 5-yrs. History
  1/21/2009 GIC
School Facilities Management    
Dwyer/Mahoney/Mariano Major Building Projects  
  3/4/98 QHS/Central/Sterling Building Plans
  10/20/2004 ADA Report
  9/7/2005 Alternative Plans for Central Middle School
  2/8/2006 Conservation
  4/9/2008 11.6 School Facility Policy
  4/9/2008 Track
  9/10/2008 NQHS gym floor named
Health, Safety & Security    
Puleo/Mahoney/McCarthy 10/18/2006 NQHS Traffic & Drop off
  4/11/2007 HS Health Curriculum
  3/26/2008 Increase School Breakfast Participation
School Policy    
Bragg/Dwyer/McCarthy 1/10/2001 Policy Manual
  2/6/2008 Voting Places
  3/12/2008 Teacher Evaluations
  9/10/2008 Grade Configurations
  9/24/2008 Warrants
  9/24/2008 Quill Program
  11/12/2008 Title I Supplement Policy
  1/21/2009 Recess
Special Education    
Mahoney/McCarthy/Mariano 1/17/2007 Emergency Information Form
  1/17/2007 Substitute Teachers for SPED
  3/21/2007 Implementation of IEPs
  9/24/2008 INSPIRE Initiative
Rules, Post Audit & Oversight    
Dwyer/Puleo/Bragg 10/29/2008 Faxon Field
Channel 22    
Mahoney/McCarthy 10/17/2007 Encourage greater use of



Quincy, Massachusetts - February 11, 2009
Regular Meeting of the Quincy School Committee

Regular Meeting

A regular meeting of the Quincy School Committee was held on Wednesday, February 11, 2009 in the City Council Chambers, City Hall. Present were Mr. Ron Mariano, Mrs. Jo-Ann Bragg, Mrs. Anne Mahoney, Mrs. Elaine Dwyer, Mr. Nicholas Puleo, and Mr. Dave McCarthy, Vice Chairman.

Vice Chairman Presiding

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The Superintendent called the roll and Mayor Koch was absent. Also present were: Dr. Richard DeCristofaro, Secretary. Messrs. O’Brien, Mullaney, Mulvey, Draicchio, Keith Segalla, Ms. Roberts and Hughes, and Dr. Sylvia Pattavina. Ms. Tracey Christello, Citywide, and Mr. Paul Phillips, QEA. The Committee observed a moment of silence for Beverly Dwyer a long time substitute teacher, and Henry Bosworth the owner and publisher of the Quincy Sun.

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Reg. Mins.Approved 1/21/2009

On a motion by Mr. Mariano, seconded by Mrs. Dwyer, the Committee approved the regular session minutes for January 21, 2009. The ayes have it.

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Supts Report

Congratulations went to Atlantic Middle School on its 50th Year Celebration and to Quincy High School held a successful Cultural Fair on February 6.

Outstanding Vocational Tech Student of the Year

Mr. Keith Segalla introduced Jin Lem, The Outstanding Vocational Technical Student of the Year for 2009. Gina Scanlan, Ed Holmes, and Frank Santoro highlighted the journey of this student. Jin will continue on to college. He received a Certificate of Excellence from the School Committee.

NQ Girls’ Volleyball Team Present

Mr. Jim Rendle introduced the North Quincy High School Girls’ Volleyball Team who are The Patriot League Champions for the 2008-2009 season. They held their first nine games on the road and still ended up with a 21-4 Volleyball season. Their coach, Kerry Ginty, introduced all the players. The School Committee commended the students for a job well done. There was a five minute recess.

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Special Olympics was held at the Squantum School with Ms. Todd and her staff. The Committee received the Safety First Newsletter from Mr. Draicchio. Read Across America will be held the first week in March. The members were invited to come to the schools to read to students. The Superintendent commended the DARE Program, the Anti-Bullying Program, Steps to Respect, Second Steps and all programs sponsored by Sheriff Bellotti’s Office.

Homework Policy

The Homework Policy and the intent of that policy, was shared again with the high school Principals, department heads, and staff.

Thanks went to all staff, maintenance, custodial, and teachers for their help with the Quincy High School move. The old CTE building is being prepared for abatement.

The Superintendent and staff visited Harvard Pilgrim to speak with employees who have donated their time and worked with our students. There are over 200 employees who participate. Thanks went to Charlie Baker for being so supportive to Quincy Public Schools.

DRAFT 09-10 School Calendar

The members received the DRAFT 2009-2010 school calendar. It has gone out to all departments. This will appear on the next agenda. Mr. Puleo asked about changing the start date of school to after Labor Day. He asked if there was a policy. The Superintendent said changes could be made, however, it was researched years ago and people all preferred to return to school after Labor Day rather than before.

Winter Scene and Winter Institute are continued to be offered. Information is on our website and on Channel 22.

The Superintendent thanked the members for all their subcommittee work. When not at School Committee meetings, they are busy working at subcommittee meetings.

Prep for Success

Mrs. Mahoney asked if there was any other way to educate the population about the Prep for Success Program. It is confusing to parents and needs to be made clearer. She suggested putting it on our website and also some of the alternative programs.

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Open Forum

Barbara Isola, parent of a senior at North Quincy High School, spoke to the Senior Stay Out. The parents at North Quincy each year have added decorations to transfer the building into a beautiful scene. Each year those decorations are taken down and stored at North Quincy. The parents purchased bins to store the items. A pipe burst in the room destroying all of the decorations. She raised the issue of insurance in the Quincy Public Schools. However, Quincy is self insured. She asked people if they wished to send checks directly to the high school. She asked if the School Committee could possibly find some funds to help the parents recoup and assist them in replenishing that supply.

Mr. Karl Roos said parents are concerned about the future cuts in the schools, He asked that the city and the School Committee recognize any unfunded mandates that identify duplicate services, work with parents and unions, work to find areas that can be changed. This is an opportunity to change things that don’t work. He suggested a committee be formed to identify areas of change and savings. He thanked the Committee for posting the subcommittee schedules on line.

Mr. Bob Haley spoke to the $5 million in savings from joining the GIC. That $300 added to salaries will add up over time. The City doesn’t know the real figure. The GIC does not track. When you get in the plan you have to stay there forever. The fewer the claims, the lower the premiums. Just because the group is large doesn’t mean it will hold down health premiums. He asked if the GIC budget will be fully funded by the legislature. If not, how much will co-payments and premiums be increased.

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QPS Technology Engineering Team

Mr. Keith Segalla spoke to Making Math and Science Matter. The QPS Technology Engineering Team has been very successful in attracting students. The curricula provides all students hands-on activities. The QPS Technical Engineering Team, Casey Tate, Jane Bowe, Paul Haight and Nick Ahearn, made a presentation. This program begins at fifth grade. Mrs. Mahoney thought the program was great. It’s foundation building. This hands-on activity helps exceed what books alone can do for students.

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Bldg. Update

Mr. Kevin Murphy presented a copy of the Maintenance Dept. Work Order Report. The report consisted of an explanation of the Track It Program, how orders come in and how they’re assigned, a listing of completed work orders by location, a quick summary of all work orders and an overview of what’s been completed since September.

At Bernazzani, a motor seized in an induction fan. The fan has been removed and replaced. At North Quincy High, they removed and replaced an air handle. A plumber is replacing a 4” water main that burst this past Monday. Regarding the move, he thanked Dennis McGillvray, Kevin Segalla and the entire Maintenance staff. We’re 70% out of the CTE building.

Mrs. Bragg inquired about the pipe that burst in the North Quincy High School Wood Shop. She asked why it burst and if it could be tied into Honeywell? Mr. Murphy said the temperature gauge was not at the proper level. The water temperature was low which would create a lower temperature in the room. There was a water freeze up in the univent. Mrs. Bragg said she has had complaints that the temperature is lower than it should be in that room. Mr. Murphy has installed two or three heat vents in the ceiling with blowers. He has spoken to Chris Dazinski, Honeywell, and there is a possibility of someone turning down the temperature on that water gauge, but it’s hard to prove. There were also some maintenance issues there. He couldn’t put the blame on Honeywell. He did ask Honeywell to come back with a donation to the Prom Committee. The current temperature down there is about 65ºand that’s where the instructor likes it.

Mrs. Mahoney asked how often the vents get cleaned. Mr. Murphy said the custodians cleaned the vents. This has been addressed and they will be changed more frequently. Mrs. Mahoney stressed changing the vents and filters.

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Bldg. Facilities Subcommittee Mrs. Dwyer reports

Mrs. Dwyer reported the Building Facilities Subcommittee met on Monday, February 2. They took all of needs items from all the School Improvement Plans and reviewed each one. Mr. Murphy indicated which ones were completed. He incorporated them with all the school building needs. We can sort by school and can sort by jobs. Toward the end of the year, there will be a presentation of what Honeywell has done and if there are still any outstanding jobs not completed. She will schedule another Subcommittee meeting so everyone can review those items that need work – pointing, new roofs, etc.

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QHS Building Committee Mrs. Dwyer Reports

Mrs. Dwyer reported that the Quincy High School Building Committee met on January 30. Most of the discussion was based on the Huntley Rd. access. Last Saturday the City Council and the Planning Department toured the new Quincy High School. A Ribbon Cutting Ceremony is planned for February 22. This Friday, there is a change in the schedule for the teachers to give them time to move. The keys will be turned over to us on February 13, and it will officially be our building. We’re still on target. There will be an open house on February 26 for middle school students. There will be a delayed start on February 23. The old CTE will be down by mid-April. Parking has been changed on Russell Park and Coddington St. The complete Faxon Field will be fenced off. The teachers will park on Russell Park and Coddington St.

There had been some questions about security in the new building. Gilbane is responsible until February 13. There is high tech security in the building. It’s all hot wired into an alarm system. The security system is all in place.

Mrs. Bragg asked how people would get into the building. Mr. Santoro said he’s placed a Security officer from 6:45 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. allowing people to get in. After 8:15 a.m. the door gets locked and they have to come in through Coddington St. Mrs. Mahoney asked that he do an Instant Alert message to middle school students informing them of “fly up” days. The Superintendent will handle that.

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Central Bldg. Comm. Mrs. Bragg reports

The Central Building Committee met to evaluate nine different companies that submitted bids for Central’s Project Manager. They were narrowed down to four, and interviews have been set up for February 25.

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Title I Policy Approved

On a motion made by Mrs. Bragg, seconded by Mr. Mariano, the Committee voted to adopt the revised Title I Policy. On a roll call vote, the motion passed 6-0. Mayor Koch was absent.

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Robotics Team to Arizona

On a motion by Mrs. Dwyer, seconded by Mr. Puleo, the Committee approved the Robotics Team trip to Phoenix, Arizona from March 17 to March 22, 2009. The ayes have it

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3/4/09 SC Mtg. moved to 3/11/09

Mrs. Dwyer made a motion, seconded by Mrs. Bragg, the Committee approved moving the March 4 School Committee meeting to March 11. The ayes have it.

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Additional Business Progress Reports

Mrs. Mahoney inquired about the Progress Reports. She has not seen the improvements the Committee made. She asked the Superintendent to provide a sampling of Progress Reports to all the members so they can see how the changes are being implemented.

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Budget Subcommittee

Mr. Mariano reports Quarterly Approved Mr. Mariano reported that the Budget Subcommittee met to review the Quarterly Budget Report presented by Mr. Mullaney. Mr. Mullaney provided a Budget Summary. Mr. Mariano made a motion seconded by Mrs. Bragg to approve the Quarterly Budget Report. The ayes have it.

The other item was the disposition of the strike settlement money. Mr. Mariano made a motion, seconded by Mrs. Dwyer, to accept the strike money and to move it into the General Fund as per the letter from Municipal Finance Folks.

Mrs. Dwyer added that the money has to go into the General Fund and cannot be spent until July 2009/2010. She asked the Mayor if the schools could have that money appropriated back to us in that budget as it would be greatly appreciated.

Mrs. Mahoney asked that the $100,000 come back as a separate appropriation. It’s $100,000 based on a settlement fee. She wants to make sure the budget money comes and then the $100,000 is added to it.

The Mayor said the money drops into the General Fund this fiscal year. Come June 30, when the books are closed, there is an extensive review of the books and then the State comes in and then there’s a question of free cash being certified. It goes in as part of the number as free cash, if we have free cash. The fact is if we’re in deficit that number is gone. It wouldn’t be appropriated into the FY 2010 year automatically, it falls into next year’s numbers which we would then deal with. But, he said he understood the sentiment and he would look at it

Strike money to General Fund

On the motion to accept the $100,000 back into the City’s funds. On a roll call vote the motion passed unanimously 7-0.

Mr. Mariano made a motion, seconded by Mrs. Bragg, to adopt the $150,000 cut (Option 2) recommendations presented by Mr. Mullaney.

Transportation - $5l.000
Pensions - $ 5,000
Gas - $14,000
Supplies - $ 9,000
Postage - $ 5,000
Repairs - $ 3,000
Testing - $5,000
Library Books - $8,000
Clerical p/t - $20,000
Overtime. - $30,000

Mr. Puleo said he would not support this motion. When they first discussed the $150,000 cut, the Superintendent’s Leadership team came back with their recommendation. Since then, there have been two separate revised recommendations from the Team based on the concerns raised. While he knows these are difficult times and there are hard decisions to be made, the Committee’s responsibility is to the children’s education and the quality of their education. We employ many people who do a great job, but when push comes to shove, it incumbent upon the Committee to choose educational quality over employment numbers.

Mr. Mariano said he appreciated Mr. Puleo’s concern but reminded him that all the members are concerned with educational quality and this is the recommendation of the Superintendent and his budgetary staff who all have the same concerns. This is just the beginning of many difficult decisions to be made. At the end of the day, it’s the Superintendent who has to work with the figures.

Mrs. Mahoney asked if we had in our budget hopes of purchasing Science Technology books for the elementary school. Mr. Mullaney said that is no longer in our budget. There was a significant cut and we had a 50% cut in system wide textbook line.

Mrs. Mahoney expressed concern that we are not reinvesting in our school system. We also have to look at the bottom line of staff development which we are cutting. By taking that money out and not reinvesting, we are doing a disservice to the classrooms. Mrs. Mahoney said this is the time before the next cut which will be the bigger cut that we need to focus on the things we need to invest in—books, supplies. Our problem is the curriculum has changed and we are working with old textbooks.

Mrs. Roberts said there are no city-wide books for grade three, grades four and five have new books.

Option to cut $150,000 Passes

On the motion to cut $150,000 (Option 2) as presented by Mr. Mullaney. On a roll call vote the motion passed 5-2. MRS. MAHONEY and MR. PULEO voted NO.

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Certificate for 2 Buses

Mr. Mariano presented a certificate for the two bus leases that were purchased. It is his understanding that this allows the lessee to receive some tax benefits and requires the Superintendent of Schools to sign. It guarantees that the lease of the equipment will be used for the specific purpose of transporting students, the equipment is functional and needed by the lessee. Funds are expected to come from the General Fund. Mr. Mullaney can answer questions. This is a municipal lease and the interest earned is not subject to taxes.

SC authorizes Supt. To sign document To lease 2 buses

Mr. Mariano made a motion, seconded by Mayor Koch to authorize the Superintendent to sign the basic premises established in the document. The ayes have it.

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Left over money earmarked for textbooks Motion fails

Mrs. Mahoney made a motion, seconded by Mr. Puleo, that should there be any money left over in the FY 08-09 budget, that it be earmarked to go to textbooks. On a roll call vote, the motion fails 4-3. MRS. BRAGG, MRS. DWYER, MR. MARIANO, AND MR. MCCARTHY voted NO, MRS. MAHONEY, MR. PULEO AND MAYOR KOCH voted YES.

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SPED Subcommittee Mrs. Mahoney reports

Mrs. Mahoney reported that on Feb. 4 the Special Education Subcommittee met at Broad Meadows with Mr. McCarthy, the Superintendent, Judy Todd and her Team Administrators. They discussed the budget cuts and what the forecast will be for the next budgets. The Superintendent did a presentation on the budget. This helped everyone understand where we’re coming from. The Federal Entitlement Grant has grown, drop out statistics were reported on, Although the drop out statistics never looks good, we have many programs that help. We want to maintain those programs. The Drug Task Force was discussed, Casa start, a Transportation update. The INSPIRE update was discussed. On a motion by Mrs. Mahoney, seconded by Mr. Puleo, the Committee accepted the minutes. The ayes have it.

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Health, Safety & Security Subcommittee Mr. Puleo reports

Mr. Puleo reported that the Health, Safety & Security Subcommittee met with Mrs. Mahoney, Superintendent DeCristofaro, Lois Constantino, Kevin Mulvey, and two bus drivers. The discussed training. They looked at policies regarding student behavior on school buses. They reviewed general policies for bus drivers. They found out that all the bus drivers have a commercial license. As a requirement, they do have to go through eight hours of Professional Development every year. Mrs. Constantino organizes a back-to-school meeting. The bus driver must check the entire bus back to front each time he/she leaves the bus. All bus drivers know about that. It is a requirement of keeping their CDL license. The term is called “circling back.” There are further safeguards possible. We are printing out new signs stating EMPTY to FULL flip signs. Mr. Draicchio works very closely with the Transportation office.

Another issue was what constitutes reporting child abuse. You can get this booklet on line. Mr. Puleo has asked that teachers and all staff be made aware this is Free and that copies of those books be placed at the resource libraries.

Additional issues raised were the role of the driver and paraprofessional at Drop off is not clearly defined. The ultimate role is up to the bus driver to make sure all children are taken off.

On the new buses, the seats are higher, drivers can’t see the students in their mirrors.

The two way phones are difficult to use and hear and if a parent is running late they don’t have the ability to communicate with each other.

Mr. Puleo made a motion to accept the minutes, seconded by Mrs. Mahoney. The ayes have it.

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Policy Subcommittee Mrs. Bragg reports

Mrs. Bragg reported that the Policy Subcommittee met at the Early Childhood Center. There were four school committee members present. They discussed the concerns on the new grade configurations They focused on moving the fifth graders, having them attend Sterling. Lincoln Hancock would be a K-4 grade school. There was a power point presentation. The principals will have a fly up date, separate lunch periods. Fifth graders will be in a separate wing. Transportations will be provided, if this is passed. There was concern about the fourth graders loosing out at Lincoln Hancock. The principal promised she would implement this year – field trips and an award ceremony. The teachers and administrations are talking together at both schools. Mr. McGuire was present to tell them about the fifth graders at Point Webster School.

Some concerns are: why don’t we wait a year, more time to adjust; why didn’t they hear about this sooner; fourth graders missing out on their special year; some felt children not mature enough; how about busing; SPED services. Concerns on the After School Program, and the APC Program. There will be an additional meeting to discuss the Kindergarten program and the Early Childhood Ctr.

The Superintendent said the whole idea is that it was so apparent that these students are cherished when they get to Sterling. He was not concerned about it. this move will make Sterling a viable middle school. There was a drop in enrollment at that school. This will save the school. We have to work on the transportation piece.

Mrs. Bragg stressed that if this does go through, there be a lot of collaboration between the two schools.

Mrs. Bragg made a motion, seconded by Mr. Puleo to approve the February 9 and the January 20, 2009 minutes. The ayes have it.

Fifth grade from LH to Sterling Approved

Mr. Puleo made a motion, seconded by Mrs. Dwyer, to approve the plan as presented by the Superintendent. This is just for the fifth grade component. Mr. Phillips, QEA President, said the teachers were supportive of this move. On a roll call vote, the motion passed unanimously 7-0. This will remain on the table for a final vote at the next meeting.

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The Committee noted the following retirements:

Dept. Chair: Rita Dinsmore

Paraprofessional: Mary Livingstone


The Committee noted the following appointments:

Café Helper: Cynthia Green

Paraprofessional: Deidre Durkin-Haskell

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On a motion duly made and seconded, the School Committee meeting adjourned for the evening. There was no Executive Session. On a roll call vote, the motion passed unanimously 7-0. These minutes were transcribed from a disk by Mrs. Tefta Burrelli, Clerk, who could not attend the meeting.