|TSC Permanent Minutes December 1, 2011
TOPSFIELD SCHOOL COMMITTEE (TSC)
PROCTOR SCHOOL LIBRARY
December 1, 2011
Members Present: Susan Archer, Jeanine Cunniff, Rosemarie
Lucey, Joe Quigley and Gordie Spater
Others Present: Dr. Bernard Creeden (Tri-Town Union (TTU)
Superintendent), Michelle Costa (Principal, Steward School),
Sarah O’Leary (Principal, Proctor School), Lindsay Lanz
(Topsfield Teachers’ Assoc. (TTA )President), Julie
Dunagan (TTA), Sharon Lyons (TTU SPED Director), Katie Lyons
(Steward Preschool), Carey Shugrue (Co-Presidents, TESPTO),
Dan Shugrue (Finance Committee/Parent), Ken Vogel (Board of
Selectmen), Barbara Costa (Steward Station Program
Director), Sue O’Brien, Sandy Ragan, Cathy Craven and Lisa
Martin (Steward), Kathy Curran (Proctor/Steward Teacher) and
Ellen Gaskell (Recording Secretary)
1. Call to Order: Chairperson Jeannine Cunniff called the
meeting to order at 7:32 p.m.
2. Remarks from the Public: None
1. Reports from Other Committees:
a. Topsfield Renewable Energy and Green Communities
i. J. Cunniff met with the Green Communities on 11/19.
Prospective renewable energy grant is in the amount of
$132K. Johnson Controls came to Proctor; it was determined
that the digital thermostat may not be the best use of the
grant. Steward is considering a lighting project. There is a
Green Community meeting next week; TSC will be on their
2. Reports of the Building Principals: See the reports
included in the packet.
a. Michelle Costa, Steward School
i. J. Cunniff received a call from a Perkins Row resident
with concerns about pick-up at Steward. M. Costa said the
pick-up takes 15 minutes, but there isn’t enough space in
the parking lot for cars and cars are out on Perkins Row.
b. Sarah O’Leary, Proctor School:
3. Report of the Superintendent: included in the packet.
a. Personnel Report – There is a new night-time custodian,
Mark Leary. Aide Kara Smith has also resigned. There were
five end of career requests; one retired in September, one
asked for an extension and 3 have withdrawn their
b. Homework Policy Review Next Steps: a template with
various studies about homework was distributed at the
meeting. Various links were also documented. S. O’Leary
said that she is considering surveying the parents, teachers
and students about homework next April.
1. Early Childhood Program Presentation:
1. Pre-School Models and Tuition Rates FY 2013 – handouts
i. Katie Lyons reported on the Pre-School model. Regarding
programming, Proposal #1 would increase class hours for the
3 year olds from 2.75 to 3 hours and Proposal #2 would
increase class hours for the 4 year olds from 2.75 to 4
hours. Due to decline in enrollment, 2 classes can’t be
supported. Regarding the preschool tuition rate, rates
should be the same as Boxford and Middleton. The 1st rate
proposal keeps the rate the same for 2 days, reduced for 5
days of preschool. The 2nd rate proposal provides a 10%
discount on the extended day rate for parents that enroll
their child in a “bundle”. The 3rd rate proposal
provides a discount for additional children. Regarding
enrollment, Proposal #1 allows parents who are employees of
Topsfield schools and Masco to enroll their children in the
preschool. There is great interest in this option. Proposal
#2 has to do with updating the current lottery system.
Residents would have preference for enrollment over
non-residents. Dr. Creeden suggested adding an additional
tier to the new lottery system – new non-residents. S.
Lyons asked the TSC to consider that a non-resident child
could have costly development issues. K. Lyons said that
this scenario would only occur if Boxford and Middleton had
wait lists, which the 2 towns don’t have at present. M.
Costa said that these points should be well-established at
orientation. S. Lyons suggested the TSC vote on the models
tonight and vote on the rates later. K. Lyons asked the TSC
to vote on the tuition tonight and discounts could be
considered later. The TSC thanked K. Lyons for her
S.Archer made a motion to accept the Preschool Proposals 1 &
2, fees as presented and extended day rates as proposed, and
allow Masco employees and non-resident employees to apply
under the new lottery system, seconded by G. Spater. Motion
ii. Kindergarten Models – handout of the Power Point
presentation included in the packet; updated presentation
handouts will be distributed to the TSC soon. M. Costa
presented. 80% of towns in Massachusetts offer free Five Day
Kindergarten. J. Cunniff said that she wants to re-build
existing programs before adding new programs and thought
that financially, Five Day Kindergarten can’t be
maintained. Dr. Creeden said the costs of the other upcoming
projects have to be considered: upgrading technology and
renovating the Math program. M. Costa said that the interest
in Five Day Kindergarten isn’t going to go away. M. Costa
said that full Five Day Kindergarten would require at least
2 additional Full-Time Equivalents (FTEs). J. Cunniff said
that there are some families that don’t want mandatory
Five Day Kindergarten and like the balance of Three Day
Kindergarten. G. Spater said that the cost of free Four and
Five Day Kindergarten programs need to be calculated. S.
Ragan questioned how far behind the 3-day students will be
versus the 5-day students because of the new initiatives in
Reading and Math. R. Lucey said that new initiatives have
to be modified to fit the 3-day model and she reminded staff
that several years ago, when the 5-day program was
implemented, the TSC and parents were told by the
Kindergarten teachers that the curriculum would be equitable
to the 3-day program, meaning the 5-day class would maintain
the same curriculum but use the additional time to stretch
out the content and slow the pace of the day and offer more
developmentally appropriate activities such as fee choice
time, story time, etc.
2. School Calendar Draft #1 for 2012-2013: distributed at
the meeting. Dr. Creeden said the calendar has an after
Labor Day start and that the early release day on 4/29 needs
to be removed because it is redundant. Dr. Creeden said that
there may be a need to have an earlier starting time, but
that would impact before school activities. Time-on-learning
will have to be re-calculated with this draft calendar. M.
Costa said that having the same early release days across
the Tri-Town has allowed for more joint Professional
Development presentations. G. Spater asked Dr. Creeden if it
made sense to take 3 early release days into one day off;
Dr. Creeden said that the teachers are contractually
obligated to work 183 days.
3. FY 2013 Budget Development Process
i. Finance Committee FY 2013 Budget Guidelines: See memo
included in the packet.
ii. Capital Plan Requests for FY 2013
1. There is a $250K total for capital projects for the town.
Dr. Creeden said that a consulting firm will probably come
to the town to review the town buildings and devise a
10-year capital plan. Dr. Creeden said that there would be a
review of the town’s insurance practices. By 1/5/12, there
will be a first draft budget. Dr. Creeden said that there
would be 3 main areas for the schools’ capital projects-
the Math program, technology and building maintenance.
4. School Committee Annual Report Update: J. Cunniff will
email a copy of the Annual Report to each TSC member and
requested that they review it and make comments about it to
her by Monday.
5. District Goals Update: S. Archer said that the major
changes in the District Goals are in technology. S.
O’Leary said that it hasn’t been determined if the
schools need a Technology Manger yet. Dr. Creeden said it
might be possible to temporarily re-assign some existing
personnel to fill this role, within the town or across the
G. Spater motioned to accept the District Goals and Action
plan, with any needed grammatical or formatting changes, 2nd
by R. Lucey. Motion passed unanimously.
6. Correspondence: None
7. Other: None
1. Meeting Minutes of Previous Meetings: Copies of which
were included in the packet.
a. 11/3/11 Regular Meeting and Executive Session
i. Page 2
1. 1b., section i., 4th sentence, change Dec. to
2. 1d., section 1., 6th sentence should read: Masco asked if
they could send their newsletter to elementary school
families to inform them about Masco happenings. Insert this
sentence after the 6th sentence: There was not a determined
response to this.
ii. Page 3
1. The motion at the top of the page should read G. Spater
moved to let J. Cunniff write a letter…
2. 3b., Omit the 4th and 5th sentences.
iii. Page 4
1. Omit 3f. and replace it with More research is needed
regarding the Technology Coordinator Position.
iv. Page 5
1. 1b., section ii., #1, omit the word better when used the
2. 1b., section iii., #1, 1st sentence, replace beable with
v. Page 6: Note that R. Lucey made the motion to adjourn,
seconded by S. Archer.
A motion was made by S. Archer to accept the amended
11/03/11 TSC Regular Meeting minutes, seconded by G. Spater.
Motion passed unanimously.
2. Bill Warrants and Payrolls (as read by J. Cunniff;
handout distributed at the meeting):
i. Bill Warrants and Payrolls – Sign and Vote to
1. BW#12-35 12/01/11 $43,519.85
2. BW#12-36 12/01/11 $7,179.98
3. BW#12-37 12/01/11 $4,977.20
4. BW#12-38 12/01/11 $8,760.95
5. BW#12-39 12/01/11 $5.79
6. BW#12-40 12/01/11 $3,713.96
7. Total $68,157.73
ii. Bill Warrants and Payrolls – Vote to Accept Only:
1. Payroll #10,7&5 11/17/11 $211,643.75
2. Payroll #11,8&6 12/01/11 $208,212.51
3. Total $419,856.26
4. Grand Total $488,013.99
Motion made by S. Archer to pay the Bill Warrants and
Payrolls as read by J. Cunniff, seconded by G. Spater.
Motion passed unanimously.
At 10:22 pm, S. Archer made a motion to discuss strategy
with respect to negotiations with non-union personnel where
an open meeting may have a detrimental effect on the
bargaining as declared by the Chair of the School Committee
and to approve previous Executive Session minutes, seconded
by G. Spater, only to return to Regular Meeting for the
purpose of adjournment. Motion passed unanimously by roll
call vote (in favor: Susan Archer, Jeanine Cunniff,
Rosemarie Lucey, Joe Quigley and Gordie Spater).
At 10:50 pm, G. Spater moved to adjourn, seconded by J.
Quigley. Motion passed unanimously.
Per the new Open Meeting Law, here is a list of the
documents that were either distributed to the TSC before the
meeting in a packet, or at the meeting:
2. Preliminary TSC Minutes – 11/03/11
3. Superintendent’s Report
4. Bill Warrant and Payroll Sheet
5. Principals’ Reports
6. Finance Committee Budget Guidelines
7. Topsfield Public Schools – 5 Year Capital Plan
8. Kindergarten Model Study
9. Survey Results – 5 Day Kindergarten
10. Summary of Comments in Kindergarten Model Survey
11. Notes from Kindergarten Development Grants
12. Input from Kindergarten Teachers at Steward
13. Homework Policy
14. Homework Benefits Template and related articles about
15. Steward School Preschool 2012-2013 Proposals
16. TSC District Goals 2009-2012 and Action Plan
17. Facilities Report
18. Topsfield Elementary Schools 2012-2013 School Year
Calendar - Draft