Oct. 17, 2007 School Committee Meeting


Regular Meeting of the Quincy School Committee
October 17, 2007

City Council Chambers
 7:00 p.m. Regular Meeting

I. Approval of Minutes: Regular Session minutes for October 3, 2007.

II. Superintendent’s Report:

A. Health and Wellness Update: Ms. Kisielius to report.
B. Channel 22 Status: Mr. O’Brien to report.
C. Educational Leadership Team Goals Met
D. Governor Patrick’s Visit
E. Fall Athletics Update: Mr. Rendle to report.

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 the New Quincy High School: Mr. Ryan to report.
B. Update on Central and Sterling:  

V. New Business:

A. Mini Grant Presentations:

  • Honeywell - Ms. Doreen Hamilton and Professional Staff Recipients

  • Blue Cross/Blue Shield of MA - Ms. Jacqueline Haley and Professional Staff Recipients

  • Uncle Sam Rounsville - and Professional Staff Recipients.

B. Gift: A gift of 37 pairs of children’s new winter boots valued at $1,440 donated by Mary Gustafson for needy students. See Attachment A.

C. Out-of-Country Travel: NQHS students to England and France: See Attachment B.

D. Out of Country Travel: QHS Students to France, German, Austria, and Switzerland. See Attachment C.

VI. Additional Business:

VII. Communications:

VIII. Hearings: - none

IX. Reports of Special Committees:

A. Policy Subcommittee: Ms. Stice to report.
B. Building Needs Subcommittee: Mr. Ryan to report.

X. Executive Session:

XI. Adjournment:

Subcommittees of the School Committee

Subcommittee Date Referred Business Pending
Budget & Finance
McCarthy/Stice/Mahoney 11/19/2003 Vending Machines in Schools
  1/7/2004 Marshall Remedial Action Plan
  5/27/2004 (Subcommittee) Transportation Fees
  4/11/2007 HS Health Curriculum
Building Needs    
Dwyer/McCarthy/Timmins 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
  1/25/2006 Fire Extinguishers
  1/25/2006 Outdoor Lighting
  2/8/2006 Conservation
Health, Safety & Security    
Mahoney/Dwyer/Timmins 10/18/2006 NQHS Traffic & Drop off
  4/11/2007 HS Health Curriculum
School Policy    
Stice/Mahoney/Mulvey 1/10/2001 Policy Manual
  11/19/2003 Vending Machines in Schools
  10/18/2006 Sliding Scale for Student Fees
  3/21/2007 Student Records/Transfers, etc.
  5/2/2007 Bullying
  10/3/2007 Student Agenda Books
Special Education    
Timmins/McCarthy/Mulvey 1/17/2007 Emergency Information Form
  1/17/2007 Substitute Teachers for SPED
  3/21/2007 Implementation of IEPs
Rules, Post Audit & Oversight    
Superintendent's Evaluation    
Dwyer/McCarthy 10/3/2007 Evaluation Format



Quincy, Massachusetts - October 17, 2007
Regular Meeting of the Quincy School Committee

Regular Meeting

A regular meeting of the Quincy School Committee was held on Wednesday, Regular October 17 at 7:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, City Hall. Present Meeting were Mrs. Anne Mahoney, Mr. Kevin Mulvey, Ms. Linda Stice, Mr. Jim Timmins, Mr. Dave McCarthy, Mayor Phelan and Ms. Elaine Dwyer, Vice Chairman. Vice Chairman Presiding

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The Superintendent called the roll and all members were present. Also present were: Dr. Richard DeCristofaro, Secretary, and Mrs. Tefta Burrelli, Clerk; Dr. Pattavina. Messrs. O’Brien, Ryan, Walsh, McPhee, Canavan, Kevin and Keith Segalla, Ms. Powell, Hughes, and Roberts. Ms. Roseann Russell, Citywide, and Mr. Paul Phillips, QEA President, were also present.

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Reg.Mins. Approved 10/3/2007

On a motion by Mr. McCarthy, seconded by Mrs. Mahoney, the Committee approved the regular session minutes for October 3, 2007. The ayes have it.

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Supts. Report

The Superintendent thanked everyone that attended the Governor’s Open Forum at Merrymount School the other evening. He especially thanked the Maintenance and Custodial staff as the school was spotless. The Governor spoke of low class size and full day kindergarten. These ideas are already realized in Quincy.

Thanks went to the Patriot Ledger for facilitating a Mayoral debate at North Quincy High School. Several students participated by asking questions.

Athletic Director, Jim Rendle, briefly shared information with the Committee about the high school and middle school fall athletic season. The members also received a copy of the latest Athletic Handbook. Quincy is awaiting word from MIAA on the league change.

Ms. Jane Kisielius, working with Janet Powell, Joanne Morrissey, John Franceschini and professional staff, did an excellent job with the Health and Wellness team. The team meets several times throughout the school year. They also publish a quarterly newsletter. Ms. Kislielius updated the Committee on the Team’s 2007-2008 activities and goals.

The Superintendent spoke at the Citywide Parents monthly meeting The members received a booklet of the information he shared with them.

Channel 22

Mr. O’Brien reported that the school department has access to Channel 22 and uses it to publish information about school activities, school cancellations, open houses, report cards, sports events, after school activities, etc. Mr. Timmins said he would like to encourage greater use of Channel 22. He would like to see principals using it, sporting events--golf, volleyball events, middle school track meets. He would like us to coordinate with QATV for students to develop media savvy.

Ad Hoc Subcommittee Channel 22

Mr. Timmins made a motion, seconded by Mrs. Mahoney, to create a special ad hoc subcommittee to look at Channel 22. The ayes have it.

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Casa Start

Ms. Janet Powell spoke to a public safety grant the school system received again -- Casa Start. This program has a strong home/school connection but will end in 2008. She was notified today that Quincy has been awarded an additional four years. Quincy will receive $120,000 per year for the next four years.

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Open Forum

Ms. Roseann Russell, representing Citywide, thanked the Superintendent for speaking at Citywide’s first meeting. The parents found the meeting very informative.

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Mr. Ryan reported that they are now working on Woodward Ave setting manholes for utility pipes. Foundation walls have been poured for the new building. Mr. Ryan has met with Gilbane regarding security at the gates. Any gate not being used will be locked. Gilbane employees will monitor the gates. Additional signage has been ordered. Key span will be escorted onto the site to make sure the work is done and then escorted off.

Mr. Ryan met with Mr. Santoro and the principal’s council and had a very good dialogue. They are communicating and the teachers seem very happy.

A meeting was held with Mr. Ryan, the Superintendent and public safety officials on how to can get public safety officials more involved. That meeting went well.

Ms. Conyngham City Solicitor

At this time, Ms. Monica Conyngham, City Solicitor, addressed the Committee. She said that the Superintendent had extended her the courtesy for her to speak to the allegations people have read in the paper about the cost of the school and the deadlines and why there has been an increase in cost.

New QHS Update

When she first came to Quincy, the plan was to fill in six acres of wetlands. The prior administration told everyone that the six acres of wetland would receive permitting. On February 2004 notice from the EPA was received telling us that it could not be filled. The decision was made then to move the project up the hill.

Point of Order

Mrs. Mahoney asked for a point of order. She asked what was the benefit of this presentation as she found it a little awkward right now.

Ms. Coyngham said she wanted to remind people that there is a very long history to the siting of the school and if there is misinformation out there she would like to clear it up. She has had people stop her and ask why this school wasn’t built three years ago. She feels that her credibility is being called into question.

Mr. Timmins agreed with Ms. McCarthy that there is a concern. What goes on the campaign trail should be addressed there. Mr. Timmins said she should not feel that she has to defend the decisions she made. The project is well underway and he wanted to focus on moving forward.

Ms. Conyngham responded that there has been an enormous amount of work to construct a first rate high school. It seemed to her that it has been quite a while that people remember all the steps taken to build a high school.

Mr. Timmins said his point or order is that he doesn’t see this as appropriate business for the School Committee. He is concerned about the project in the ground now not what was done years ago. No Committee member has challenged Ms. Conyngham’s work. If we open ourselves up to public debate he didn’t want to hear from one side and then the other.

Mayor Phelan made a motion, seconded by Ms. Stice, to allow the Solicitor to continue.

Ms. Stice said this has been a controversial issue for 10 years and it is the School Committee’s judgment that is being discussed. The architects at the time told the members that the wetlands could be filled in. She resents reading that the Superintendent was tardy getting information to the state as it reflects on all of them.

Mr. Timmins still didn’t feel that this discussion was appropriate. It was not an agenda item. Ms. Conyngham was talking about the history that was brought up on a campaign trail. He didn’t want to discuss Tom Koch and Mayor Phelan’s disagreement on the campaign trail. No one in this body has questioned her work on this project. She has done a terrific job.

Mrs. Mahoney was not sure of the relevance of her discussion. The School Committee, she said, can’t react to every article in the newspaper. A new building is already underway.

On a roll call vote, the motion to allow Ms. Conyngham to continue, passed 5-2. Elaine Dwyer, Dave McCarthy, Linda Stice, Kevin Mulvey, and Mayor Phelan voted YES. Mr. Timmins and Mrs. Mahoney voted NO.

Ms. Conyngham continued that they couldn’t get a variance for the school that was designed in the middle of the wetlands. So a building was designed that didn’t impact the wetlands. The MSBA said we had to use the old Quincy High School and build on. The MSBA wanted us to fit a school building on the playing fields on So. Artery. If we did that, it would been a six story building. There was not enough room there.

In March 2006, the MSBA allowed Quincy to build the building we have now. They would not allow us to use the old Quincy High School. The school could not have been built in 2004 as we did not have a workable plan.

There was no missed deadline. Central Middle School was eligible for the 90% because of the Joyce Amendment. There was never any deadline for submitting applications for Central. There was a change in the law that affected Central. The Joyce Amendment was repealed. There is an allegation or an implication we should be doing something right now. We filed our forms. We are waiting a decision about weather Central will qualify for an early award. The 90% has been pegged at 2004 construction costs. It is Ms. Conynngham’s expectation that the City will receive more money under the new program than it would have had we remained eligible at 90%.

Ms. Mahoney said she appreciated the history lesson but feels very uncomfortable with it. She felt that this whole thing is politically motivated.

Ms. Conyngham said she has been reading about it in the paper and getting asked. It was her desire to respond to remind people of the facts. She brought this up because it is in the paper and not for any other reason.

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Central & Sterling

There is no update on Central or Sterling until Quincy hears from the State.

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Gift - Needy students

On a motion by Mr. Mulvey, seconded by Mr. McCarthy, the Committee approved the 38 pairs of new boots donated by Mary Gustafson for needy Quincy students. The ayes have it.

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Trips tabled

The out of country travel trip requests were tabled until more information is obtained.

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Additional Business

Under Additional Business, Mrs. Mahoney asked for an update on buses. She heard that Lincoln Hancock went from five buses to four buses and that buses are coming late and students are missing buses.

Mr. McPhee answered that because of an issue with one of the buses, they had to double up on routes. We had sub drivers not familiar with routes which hurt the pick up. Ms. Mahoney asked about bus stops.

Incident Reports

Mrs. Mahoney asked for a report what was going on with regard to incidents that happen in the school system i.e. if there are any widows being broken, bullying, any incidents that with equipment, knives being brought into the school system. Also, she is waiting for a report on where the security equipment is located in the schools, a breakdown of equipment, school to school.

The Superintendent said he needs to work on that because there is a fine line involved with incident reports. Mrs. Mahoney said she didn’t need the students’ names, but that she wants to be apprised of the incidents so that she is aware when she receives inquires.

Mr. McCarthy asked for a copy of the building checks that was initiated a few years ago. Mr. McPhee will have that for the next meeting.

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Bldg. Update

Mr. Canavan reported that Lincoln Hancock bathroom stalls are being repaired, and the lights are 99% done. The door at Water St. has been repaired. The PA system on the 3rd floor works, but they need to work on the location of the speakers. The electricians are trying to install more speakers. There was a meeting today on the North Quincy High gym. The damaged areas in the gym will be relined sometime in November. At Central sinks, toilets, steam traps were repaired. The gym roof was done over. Mr. Canavan will get back to the Committee regarding univents.

School Inspections

Mr. McCarthy asked about the inspection of schools. Mr. Ryan answered that the Fire Department goes out four times a year and inspects. He is working with them on the fire extinguishers. Mr. Timmins asked to see these reports from the Fire Dept. as they come in.

Mrs. Dwyer said is scheduling a building needs subcommittee meeting.

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SIP Approved

The Policy Subcommittee met on the 24, 26, and 27 and reviewed School Improvement Plans. On a motion by Ms. Stice, seconded by Mr. Mulvey, the Committee approved all the School Improvement Plans (except Marshall and Sterling). The ayes have it.

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The Committee noted the following resignations:

Lunch Attendant: Kathleen Romanholi


The Committee noted the following appointments:

Lunch Attendants: Amy Ha, Brenda Havey, Wunnarat Rerngkastkig

Paraprofessional: Terri Riley

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On a motion by Mr. Timmins, seconded by Mr. McCarthy, the Committee Voted to adjourn for the evening at 9:12 p.m. There was no executive session. On a roll cal vote, the motion passed unanimously 7-0.