• SC Minutes 03/23/2016



    School Committee Meeting

    Wednesday, March 23, 2016

    Sharon Middle School

    75 Mountain Street

    Sharon, MA 02067

    Present: Jon Hitter, Marcy Kaplan, Laura Salomons, Emily Smith-Lee

    Absent: Katie Currul-Dykeman, Veronica Wiseman

    Also present: Tim Farmer, Jahmal Mosley, Susan Owen, Laura Smolcha

    Open Session was convened at 7:00 p.m.



    The following correspondence was received:

    • Letter from Newton Public Schools re: how Sharon implemented the late start at the High School

    • Letter from a community member re: volunteering to assist if there is a task force formed for extra-curricular activity fees

    SHS Student Representatives

    There were no SHS student representatives present at this evening’s meeting.


    Consent Agenda:

    1. Approve Open and Executive Session Minutes (March 9, 2016)

    2. Approve $6893 Donation ($3,500 for Chinese New Year; $3393 for SCNY Program expenses)

    3. Approve $650 SHS PTSO Grand (for Media Production Program)

    4. Approve $2,270 SHS PTSO Grant (for Smart Heart Rate Sensors)

    5. Approve $500 Donation from Indian Medical Association of New England to SHS (for Smart Heart Rate Sensors)

    6. Approve $500 Donation from the Beacon Society, Richard Kitts to SHS

    7. Approve Project Work of Middle School Fields (football & baseball), Repair/Irrigation from Sharon Fields’ Committee

    8. Approve SHS Ultimate Tournament (5/1/16) to Barrington, R.I.

    MOTION: (Salomons/Hitter) Moved to approve consent agenda items #1-8 as presented. Yes vote: Hitter, Kaplan, Salomons, Smith-Lee

    Separate Votes:

    9. Approve Change in Capital Outlay Height’s Roof Request from $243,950 to $89,000

    MOTION: (Salomons/Hitter) Moved to approve the Capital Outlay Roof Request in the amount of $89,000 as presented. Yes vote: Hitter, Kaplan, Salomons, Smith-Lee

    10. Approve Transfer of One School Street Land to Sharon Selectmen.

    Prior to the vote T. Farmer explained that the S.C. had voted in 2013 to turn the building over to the Town; however, a vote must be taken to turn the land that the building is on over to the Town.

    The following legal language must be the motion:

    MOTION: (Salomons/Hitter) Moved that the School Committee transfer the care, custody, management and control of such land from the School Committee for school purposes, to the Board of Selectmen for general municipal purposes, the property known and numbered as One School Street, shown as Sharon Assessor’s Parcel ID#101047000, containing approximately 0.88 acres of land. If has been determined that such land is no longer needed for school purposes. Yes vote: Hitter, Kaplan, Salomons, Smith-Lee

    11. Approve Agreement between School Committee & Area Trades Council (contract for electrician, plumber, HVAC technician)

    MOTION: (Salomons/Hitter) Moved to approve the Agreement between the School Committee & Area Trades Council as presented. Yes vote: Hitter, Kaplan, Salomons, Smith-Lee


    Grades 6-12 Social Studies Curricular Review

    Coordinator, L. Smolcha, with the aid of PowerPoint presented an overview of the Social Studies Curriculum Review. Highlights of the presentation included:

    • Goals of the Review Committee: examine practices & curriculum; review resources; identify strengths; identify areas for improvement

    • Process & Timeline: Work started in 2013; report finalized in fall of 2015

    • National Curriculum Standards: First published in 1994 – updated in 2010; overall aim - develop civic competence

    • NCSS-C3 Framework: guiding principles – college, career and civic life; social studies share the responsibility for literacy education

    • NCSS Themes: culture; time; people; individual development; groups & institutions; power/authority; production; science, technology & society; global connections; civic ideals

    • Guiding Documents: MA Curriculum Frameworks; Common Core; Strategic Plan; Framework for 21st Century

    • Surveys: focus on overall program; included response questions; results were analyzed; survey provided guidance moving forward

    • Recommendations: update learning standards; more interdepartmental collaboration; update text and digital resources; foster current events & public speaking in all courses

    • Commendations: students voices are valued; topics increase interest; diverse perspectives; wide variety of learning; elective offerings; development of critical thinking; student-centered learning is a main focus

    • Next Steps: begin updating curricular documents; familiarize teachers with NCSS; plan summer curriculum; current events; skill development

    Following the presentation, there was a Q&A with the Committee.

    Quarter 2 Report

    S. Owen, with the aid of PowerPoint, presented the quarter 2 report. Areas covered in the presentation included:

    • General fund: spent to date: $19,964,211.48; encumbered $18,362,580.72; balance of $1,674,676.80

    • Assets: savings in salary costs are moved to assets; present total is $282,403.18

    • Salaries: salaries have been encumbered through the end of the year

    • SPED Services (tuitions): current deficit of $650,138.53. Circuit breaker funds will be used to offset the negative balance

    • Utilities: electric – kilowats are up compared to last year at this time; gas consumption is down due to a milder winter

    • Capital Outlay: balance of $87,327.85, which will be used for ongoing capital school projects

    • Grants: No change from quarter one report

    • Revolving Accounts (early childhood, guidance, athletics, transportation, community education, kindergarten, cafeteria, rentals): anticipated salaries and expenses have been encumbered through the end of the year

    • Student Activity Accounts: funds are managed in accordance with sound business practices, which include accepted budgetary and accounting practices.

    • Conclusion: budget is in good shape at the close of this quarter.

    Following the presentation, there was a Q&A with the Committee.

    Kindergarten Revolving Account

    There was a lengthy discussion on the current contingency balance in the kindergarten account, what the procedures should be for maintaining a balance moving forward, and whether to return contingency money to parents or to spend down the balance to cover increasing costs for the program. Following the discussion, it was the consensus of the Committee to maintain a contingency of $61,000. Administration recommends spending down the contingency to the $61,000 threshold. By doing this, tuition will remain the same $3100 for the next several years. Members would like to have community feedback before making a decision.

    Discussion at a future meeting will be on whether to:

    1) Keep the money in the revolving account

    2) Decide to spend down the deficit

    3) Return money to stakeholders

    The consent agenda item for April 6th will be on the amount to be retained in the contingency fund. There will be further discussion on whether to maintain the current balance or return it to stakeholders. Procedures moving forward will also be discussed.

    Ultimate & Sports Fees

    At the April 6th meeting, members will vote on Ultimate Frisbee moving from a club activity to a SHS sport. The current fee for Ultimate is $175. For those whose third sport is Ultimate, the fee would be $75 vs. $175 and could possibly increase the athletic budget deficit.

    Athletic Fees:

    The Administration and the Athletic Director recommend the following:

    • Make all sports the same price – represents the reality that fall sports do not necessarily cost more than spring sports - $230 for each sport with a family cap of $690 or $920.

    • Current fee structure: First sport-$275; second sport $200; third sport $75; family cap of $750.

    • Future discussions should include SMS track, cross country and intramural fees and account balances.

    • S.C. needs to decide on what the athletic fees will be and how they will be structured.

    • Different fee structures would be a discussion item at the April 6th meeting.

    Extracurricular Fees

    It was the consensus of the Committee that discussion at this evening’s meeting will not include extracurricular fees, as the Committee does not want to impose extracurricular fees for the 2016-2017 budget. Members will continue fees discussion at subsequent meetings. Discussion should start at the beginning of the school year

    Strategic Planning

    T. Farmer presented the following talking points for 2017 and beyond Strategic Planning:

    • Work with a consultant or work in-house with administrators and S.C. members?

    • Determine the length of time for new Strategic Plan

    • How will the public be engaged – on-line, forums, surveys, task force?

    • Determine evaluation mechanism

    • Determine format and depth of plan

    • Insure funding for goals

    • How will changes in priorities over the length of plan be handled?

    • Short term and long term evaluation of plan

    • Strategic Plan process – have more overarching ides rather than specific goals


    Subcommittee Updates: Budget, Capital, Policy

    • Priorities Committee met March 21st and voted the 3.18% budget increase for 2016-2017.

    • Capital Outlay Committee met March 21st and voted to approve the School Department’s capital requests for 2016-2017.


    T. Farmer updated the Committee on the following:

    • Members were invited to attend a workshop on April 12th, which will discuss making sustainable improvements in school districts

    • SHS Science Olympiad Team will hold STEM Talks on April 6, April 14, and May 5 at the SHS Library (Public is welcome to attend)

    • Pluralism Network is hosting a documentary, “Knowledge is the Beginning” on April 10, 1:00 p.m. at the Unitarian Church

    • Black Hawk Helicopter landed at SMS for staff and students to see up-close

    • SHS Announcements are now on YouTube

    Other Business

    There being no other business, E. Smith-Lee asked for a motion to adjourn Open Session.

    MOTION: (Salomons/Kaplan) Moved to adjourn Open Session and enter into Executive Session with the intent not to return to Open Session for the purpose of negotiation updates with non-unionized personnel.

    Yes vote: Hitter, Kaplan, Salomons, Smith-Lee

    Meeting was adjourned at 10:22 p.m.

    Submitted on behalf of the School Committee by: Helen Campanario, Recording Secretary to the School Committee

    Back-up Materials for the March 23, 2016 meeting

    • copy of correspondence

    • copies of consent agenda materials

    • quarter 2 budget materials

    • materials for revolving accounts

    • copy of Strategic Planning powerpoint

    • copy of executive session materials