|TSC Permanent Minutes February 1, 2012
TOPSFIELD SCHOOL COMMITTEE (TSC)
PROCTOR SCHOOL LIBRARY
February 1, 2012
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), Sue O’Brien,
Sandy Ragan, Lisa Martin and Cathy Craven (Steward), Dan
Shugrue (Finance Committee/Parent), Christine Elliot (TTU
Director of Curriculum), Melanie Sandman (Proctor), Missy
McSweeney (TESPTO), Steve Greenberg (TTU Director of Finance
and Human Resources), Sharon Lyons (TTU SPED Director),
Kathy Curran (Proctor/Steward Teacher/Videographer) and
Ellen Gaskell (Recording Secretary)
1. Call to Order: Chairperson Jeannine Cunniff called the
meeting to order at 7:35 p.m.
2. Remarks from the Public: None
3. Reports from Other Committees:
a. Technology Advisory Committee
i. M. Costa spoke about having a technology awareness
meeting for parents on a Monday in March. At the recent
technology advisory committee meeting, TESPTO was invited to
b. Math Curriculum Review Committee Update:
i. C. Elliot reported. The committee will meet next Tuesday
and hopes to have a curriculum recommendation by next week.
The committee hopes to bring in the company whose curriculum
is chosen in for a presentation.
ii. The Writing Curriculum was also addressed. At the next
TTU meeting, the Writing Committee will report on creating 3
rubrics per grade level in accordance with Common Core
1. Reports of the Building Principals:
a. Sarah O’ Leary, Proctor School
i. On 1/23, there was a Professional Development Day with
multiple workshops; see the Principal’s Report for further
information. The 2nd parent meeting for the Olweus
Anti-Bullying Program has happened; a 3rd meeting is planned
and will include community members. The bullying discipline
protocol has been sent home with students.
b. Michelle Costa, Steward School
i. Last week, there was a data day. On Monday evening, M.
Costa met with the Playground Committee; M. Costa thanked
this committee for their report. M. Costa referred to
possibly adding a position not already included in the
Teacher Contract; Dr. Creeden will address this in his
report. L. Harrington, the Fundations representative,
recently met with Grade 1 teachers to teach a lesson and
problem-solve; Ellen Boiselle made a presentation at the
last Professional Development Day on how to identify
students with disabilities in mathematics; it was
well-received by the teachers. J. Cunniff thanked C. Elliot
for her invitation to hear the morning speaker at the last
Professional Development Day.
2. Report of the Superintendent:
a. Personnel Update
i. There are upcoming 2 maternity leaves at Proctor School:
Mrs. Markos & Mrs. Kleinpeter. There is an upcoming teacher
maternity leave at Steward for Mrs. Rec; she is due in July.
Dr. Creeden acknowledged employees with 5, 10, 15, 25 and 30
year anniversaries this school year. Ms. Boucher & Nancy
Rudder’s mothers both passed away recently.
ii. There is a need to add a behavior specialist at Steward
School. The addition would be a mid-year change and approval
by the TSC is needed. The new job has been posted. The cost
of the behavior specialist depends on both the hiring date &
the experience of the candidate; the cost should be within
the range of $158/day to $200/day and there may be a stipend
on top of that if the candidate has a Masters’ Degree. S.
Greenberg said the position was essential and Steward would
have to make the cost of the position fit into the budget.
Since it is a new position, it is not on the Teacher
Contract. The position is in next year’s proposed budget.
It will be a full- time position at Steward. Dr. Creeden
said that the budget may have to be amended this school year
to provide for this position. There may be a need for a
Special Town Meeting to amend the current school budget to
add this position. M. Costa thanked the staff who have
helped cover for this position thus far.
S. Archer motioned to approve the hiring of a new behavior
specialist at Steward School, seconded by R. Lucey. Motion
b. Dr. Creeden spoke to the event calendar, included in his
report. Next he covered the Educator Evaluation Process. In
March, the MA Teachers’ Association (MTA) will present to
the Topsfield schools’ staff regarding this; Dr. Creeden
asked if any TSC members would like to attend this meeting.
3/27/12 is MA Association of School Committees (MASC) Day on
1. School Calendar Draft #3 for 2012-2013:
1. Dr. Creeden presented. There was a copy of calendar
included in the packet.
2. The 2/4 Early Release Day should be 2/8; the parent
conferences will be moved from Tuesdays and Wednesdays to
Thursdays and Fridays. C. Elliot spoke to adding additional
Professional Development Days for writing programs; she is
consulting with other school communities on how they’re
handling this. Other communities are also being consulted on
how they provide student day care on Early Release Days.
Topsfield’s school calendar will align with the other 2
towns in the Tri-Town whenever possible.
3. Dr. Creeden said that the school year will start after
Labor Day. The 1st day for Grades 1-6 will be 9/6; the 1st
day for Kindergarten can’t be set until the final
Kindergarten enrollment number is known, since that number
will be needed to determine the number of days needed for
Kindergarten pre-screening, which must occur before the
first day. Dr. Creeden spoke about the vacation weeks in the
calendar. He then spoke about this school year’s last day.
The TSC spoke about the MCAS dates on the 2012-2013 school
2. FY 2013 Budget Development: Dr. Creeden presented.
1. Governor’s House 2 FY 2013 Budget:
i. The House 2 FY 2013 Budget came out. Dr. Creeden is
hoping for an early Local Aid agreement. The Local Aid
estimate is included in the Cherry Sheets for the Tri-Town;
see the Local Aid Estimates for FY2013 included in the
packet. Dr. Creeden noted that the Chapter 70 aid is the
same as last year for Topsfield. Aid is down a net $11K
from FY12. The overall charges to the town are down $6,300.
Overall assessments are down $9K.
2. Essential Services Budget Options
i. J. Cunniff asked the TSC what they thought the strategy
for the upcoming FinCom meeting should be.
ii. G. Spater said the he thought the Math Curriculum should
be a warrant article. G. Spater asked, “Since the new Math
Curriculum is a TTU initiative, what happens if the warrant
doesn’t pass in Topsfield, but passes in other the other 2
towns?” S. Greenberg responded that Topsfield would have
to find another way to pay for it. Dr. Creeden said that if
an item is in the budget, voters can take it out of the
budget, if an item is a warrant article, the schools have to
find another way to pay for it if it doesn’t pass. A
budget worksheet was handed out at the meeting.
iii. S. Greenberg said that items included in the budget
were: 5Day Kindergarten, the new Math Curriculum for Steward
& Proctor, technology, Professional Development, the
proposed reduction in Local Aid and SPED costs.
iv. S. Lyons addressed SPED costs and said to the TSC, “Do
we reduce SPED expense in the budget at the risk of being
caught “flat-footed” if a SPED student enrolls in the
summer?” There are Individual Educational Program (IEP)
meetings every 6 weeks. S. Lyons said that there would be a
decision on one of the students by year’s end.
v. Regarding the new Math Curriculum, Topsfield schools are
committed to investing in a new math curriculum and can pay
for the new curriculum over 2 years. $110 K is the cost of
new Math Curriculum.
vi. G. Spater said that the current budget for next year
shows a 4% increase next year. There was an Educational
Technology handout distributed at the meeting. S. Greenberg
said that there was technology hardware in the budget. One
part of the proposal acknowledges that wireless is an
important part of the structure of technology. S. Greenberg
then explained the budget wireless expense. S. G said that
the cabling would be going from obsolete to less obsolete
(5e). G. Spater asked what the cost of non-obsolete cable
(6e) would be; S. Greenberg said that he will check on this.
A phase-in for wireless cable may make sense. S. Greenberg
said that he may ask the FinCom for an appropriate number to
back into and then decide what to fund to get to that
number. Masco is currently pulling 5e cable; the TSC
wondered if the elementary schools could re-use it. The TSC
conversed about technology options.
vii. The TSC said that they intended to post a TSC meeting
following their upcoming meeting with the FinCom, in the
event deliberation is needed.
3. Facilities and Maintenance Budget
i. Steward School
1. The Facilities and Maintenance Budget for Steward School
was presented by S. Greenberg first; see the Budget Book for
details. There is level funding of many of the expense
lines. The custodial budget will have a small increase.
Custom equipment will be up slightly. Heat, fuel & electric
expenses will be decreased. S. Greenberg spoke to the
reduced energy expense; the cost/dekatherm went down from
about $9/hr. to approximately $ 7.90/hr. Grounds maintenance
expense is under discussion with other town departments. It
was hoped that the Park & Cemeteries Department would pick
up some school grounds maintenance expense, but that
hasn’t happened. Dr. Creeden said that getting Park &
Cemeteries to pick up some of the grounds maintenance cost
will be addressed at the next FinCom meeting. Most
facilities budget expense is level-funded.
2. Proctor School
a. Proctor will have level- funded facilities maintenance
expenses. Energy expense will be reduced. See the Budget
Book for further information.
3. The job description for the Facilities Maintenance
Mechanic I was included in the packet; the cost of the
position will be apportioned to the 3 towns based on their
total school square footage; Topsfield will pay the least of
theTri-Town towns. This position is built into next
year’s budget. J. Cunniff said that the TSC will have to
report their portion of the position’s cost of health
insurance and pension to the FinCom. S. Greenberg said that
he would get TSC that number. S. Greenberg said that the
final verdict on this job will be determined by the TTU in
March. The TSC supports adding this position and noted that
building maintenance is not dependent on student
4. Number of Kindergarten Sections Based on Current
Registrations – 3 Day Core and 5 Day Tuition
i. M. Costa spoke to the number of Kindergarten sections
based on current registration. There are 55 Kindergarteners
registered; 33 for the 5 Day & 22 for the 3 Day. This is an
unprecedented number for the 5 Day Kindergarten and there
are a number of Kindergarteners on the waiting list. Dr.
Creeden said that the ratio of boys: girls in Kindergarten
must be considered. M. Costa said that there will be more
boys than girls this upcoming school year. She said that
multiple siblings will be on the same lottery ticket. M.
Costa said that (regarding 3 Day Kindergarten), she hasn’t
set the days of the week yet. J. Cunniff spoke to the IEP
students that would have to be in school 5 days. J. Cunniff
also spoke of the volatility of Kindergarten enrollments.
Dr. Creeden wondered how many Kindergarten classes should be
offered; the TSC said that Steward can’t offer 3 (5-Day)
classes. R. Lucey appreciated that M. Costa always looked to
the needs of students when putting together classes. The TSC
wants to have more information before it supports a
particular number of Kindergarten sections. Dr. Creeden said
that M. Costa needs to have the authority to do the 5 Day
Kindergarten lottery now; parents need to know this in
February so if they don’t get the 5 day program, they
still have time to find another program. R. Lucey said that
two 5 Day Kindergarten and two 3 Day Kindergarten sessions
make sense. There could be 17 students and16 students in the
5 Day Kindergarten sessions, respectively and 2 classrooms
of 13 students in each of 3 Day Kindergarten sessions. S.
Lyons suggested determining the number of Kindergarten
sections, then determining the number of children who can
attend each section after seeing who the Kindergarteners
with IEPs are. J. Quigley said that two 5- Day Kindergarten
and two 3- Day Kindergarten sections is what he’d
recommend. J. Cunniff said that Steward “won’t take a
financial hit”. S. Greenberg said that the scenario of two
5- Day Kindergarten and two 3- Day Kindergarten sections is
better than cost-neutral. G. Spater said that regarding the
lottery, the 1st 30 students are definitely in and the last
3 are “on the bubble”. J. Cunniff said that with two
classes with 15 Kindergarteners, 3 Kindergarteners would be
“on the cusp”.
5. Potential Warrant Article Language: Copy included in the
i. Mathematics Program Adoption
ii. Technology Infrastructure and Equipment
iii. J. Cunniff said that the TSC needs to submit warrant
article by this Friday. Warrant articles are the
jurisdiction of the Board of Selectmen (BOS).
S. Archer motioned to approve the new Math Curriculum as a
warrant article at the upcoming Town Meeting, seconded by J.
Quigley. Motion passed unanimously.
S. Archer motioned to approve new wireless installation in
the schools in the amount of $124,443 as a warrant article
at the upcoming Town Meeting, seconded by G. Spater. Motion
3. Preparation for Meeting with Finance Committee on
February 6th: This was covered in the above discussion.
4. Correspondence: None.
5. Other: There will be 2/16 TSC meeting whose purpose is to
get guidance on the warrant articles.
1. Meeting Minutes of Previous Meetings: No minutes to
approve at this time.
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#12-51 1/25/12 $2.48
2. BW#12-52 2/01/12 $47,753.09
3. BW#12-53 2/01/12 $3,615.54
4. TTU BW#12-11 1/26/12 $613.02
5. Budget Adj. #12-13 1/25/12 $0
6. Payroll #16&13&11 2/09/12 $211,807.68
7. Total $263,789.33
ii. Bill Warrants and Payrolls – Vote to Accept Only:
1. Total $0
2. Grand Total $263,789.33
Motion made by S. Archer to pay the Bill Warrants and
Payrolls as read by J. Cunniff, seconded by J. Quigley.
Motion passed unanimously.
At 10:30 pm, R. Lucey moved to adjourn, seconded by S.
Archer. 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. Attendance Log
3. Superintendent’s Report
4. Bill Warrant and Payroll Sheet
5. Principals’ Reports 2/1/12
6. Potential Warrant Article Language
7. Technology Warrant Article Detail 2/1/12
8. Facilities Maintenance Mechanic I Job Description and
9. Topsfield Elementary Schools 2012-2013 School Year
10. Capital Plan Recommendations for Fiscal 2013 – memo
from G. Wilder, Town Administrator 1/17/12
11. Masco School Calendar 2012-13
12. MA DOR – FY2013 Local Aid Estimates