Oct. 15, 2008 School Committee Meeting


Regular Meeting of the Quincy School Committee
October 15, 2008

2nd Floor Conference Room, City Hall
6:00 p.m. Executive Session
7:00 p.m.

I. Approval of Minutes: Regular Session Minutes for September 24, 2008.

II. Superintendent’s Report:

A. Class Size

B. Enrollment/Class Size (October 1)

C. Teacher Mentor Information

D. Commissioner‘s Visit (October 24)

E. After School Grant for Atherton Hough

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.

1. New Quincy High School Walking Tour

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

V.  New Business:

A. Quincy Education Fund: Mrs. Bragg to report.

B. APPLE Conference: Ms. Todd and APPLE participants to report.

C. Gifts: Donation by the Sunday School Children of Faith Lutheran Church to QPS Homeless Children. (See Attachment A)

VI. Additional Business:

VII. Communications:

VIII. Hearings: - none

IX. Reports of Special Committees:

A. Policy Subcommittee: Mrs. Bragg to report.

1. School Improvement Plans

X Executive Session: Strategies with Respect to Litigation

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
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
  5/21/2008 Lockdown Policy
School Policy    
Bragg/Dwyer/McCarthy 1/10/2001 Policy Manual
  2/6/2008 Voting Places
  3/12/2008 Teacher Evaluations
  6/18/2008 Homeless Policy
  9/10/2008 Grade Configurations
  9/24/2008 Warrants
  9/24/2008 Quill Program
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    
Channel 22    
Mahoney/McCarthy 10/17/2007 Encourage greater use of



Quincy, Massachusetts - October 15, 2008
Regular Meeting of the Quincy School Committee

Regular Meeting

A regular meeting of the Quincy School Committee was held on Wednesday, October 15, 2008 at the Second Floor Conference Room, City Hall. Present were Mr. Ron Mariano, Mr. Nick Puleo, Mrs. Elaine Dwyer, Mrs. Jo-Ann Bragg, Mrs. Anne Mahoney, Mr. Dave McCarthy and Mayor Tom Koch, Chairman. This meeting began at 6:00 p.m.

Chairman Presiding

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Executive Session

The Superintendent called the roll and all members were present. On a motion by Mrs. Dwyer, seconded by Mr. McCarthy, the Committee voted to go into Executive Session for the purpose of Strategies with Respect to Litigation. Mr. Puleo asked that they speak about this in open session since part of this was discussed in the open. Attorney Ed Lenox said that some negotiation-type issues are not normally discussed in open session. On a roll call vote, the motion to go into Executive Session, the motion passed 4-3. MR. MARIANO, MR. PULEO, and MAYOR KOCH voted NO. The Committee returned at 6:45 p.m.

Also present were: Dr. Richard DeCristofaro, Secretary, Mrs. Tefta Burrelli, Clerk. Messrs. O’Brien, Mullaney, Draicchio, Keith Segalla, Dr. Pattavina, Ms. Powell, and Roberts. Ms. Tracey Christello represented Citywide. Haley Shaughnessy, NQHS associate member was present. The Committee observed a moment of silence for Rosemary Nolan, a former Quincy Public Schools secretary and Ensign Christopher E. Smeglin, a former student who died this week.

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Reg. Session Mins. 9/24/2008

On a motion by Mr. McCarthy, seconded by Mr. Puleo, the Committee approved the regular session minutes for September 24, 2008. The ayes have it.

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Upcoming Events

Commissioner of Education, Mitchell Chester, will be visiting the Point Webster and Marshall schools on Friday, October 24 for a meeting with Mass Advocates for Children who will share their respective “Trauma Sensitive Schools” initiatives. A luncheon at Point Webster will follow.

Grant for AH

Atherton Hough School received the After School and Out of School Time Quality Grant for $72,000. The Superintendent recognized the work done by Principal Dotty Greene, Janice Erler, and Mary Fredrickson to obtain the grant.

Upcoming Events

On October 21 we will hold the Teacher Mini-Grant celebration. This is our ninth year and to date, over 1,000 awards have been awarded. On November 13 we will hold the Community Service Learning which features students from every site. The Professional Teacher Status Reception is scheduled for November 13. The Teacher Mentor Initiative was held on October 7. Ms. Colleen Roberts explained how this very successful program works. The Career and Technology Advisory Board will meet at the Three Seasons on October 16.

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Official Enrollment

As of October 1, 2008 the official enrollment is 9,154 students. There are 4,103 students in elementary, up 143 students from 2007, and 5,051 students for middle and high schools, down 72 students from 2007. The total enrollment is up 71 students from 2007.

Class Size

All class sizes are within the School Committee limits with the exception of two Social Studies classes at North Quincy High which are above 30.

On October 29, the Assessment Team report on our assessment and discuss MCAS and AYP status.

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Open Session

As no one stepped forward to be heard at the Open Session, the Committee went on with the business at hand.

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APPLE Conference

Ms. Judy Todd presented Quincy Team members Linda Perry, Carol Dumas, Laura Keeley and Debby Nabstedt who attended the APPLE Conference. This was collaboration between the Federation for Children with Special Needs, the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, and Children’s Hospital. The APPLE Project provides collaborative school system teams with training that will allow parents of children receiving special education services to learn skills that will help them become full and effective partners with their schools. Teams met as a collective group and as individual district teams to work on four different areas— Building Intercultural Communities, Embracing Creative Conflicts, Determining what their true color area, and respectful conversation. They developed a plan for their vision for the next two years. Quincy members are working to expand the APPLE Team. Some of their accomplishments are the appointment of Carol Dumas to Mayor Koch’s Drug Task Force, a website, attendance at the Moon celebration, and advocate for parents. The Team was there for three days of work. There is a subcommittee meeting on October 22 at 7:00 p.m. in Broad Meadows. They would like to become an active team and talk about their goals. They wish to become the 86th QPS team.

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Building Update

All boilers are working in the schools except North Quincy High School which has a small issue. Training by Honeywell is scheduled for October 30 and November 4. Repairs to the Lincoln Hancock Community pool have been completed. Graffiti removal has been very active. Intercom systems at Lincoln Hancock and Montclair are complete, parts have been ordered for Atherton Hough. The quarterly fire inspections went very well. The North Quincy gym floor is completed. We are working with Mr. Gillan on crosswalks. The crosswalks at North Quincy and Quincy High Schools have been done. Mr. Draicchio is assessing safety issues around the schools. The Atrium at North Quincy High School has been taken care of, but there are still some small issues. The Superintendent has asked the principals for any concerns that are facing drop off and pick ups. Mayor Koch thanked Mr. Cunniff for his intensive scrutiny on the Honeywell work.

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QHS Bldg. Comm. Update by Mrs. Dwyer

The Quincy High School Building Committee met the end of September. The three remaining wells are in place. Wheatstone is monitoring those. There is some oil residue but nothing to be alarmed about. There will be an update at next meeting. The new high school remains on budget and on schedule. Invitations went out for a quick walk through the new Quincy High School. People will meet at Coddington Hall at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, October 18.

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Central Bldg. Comm. Update by Mrs. Bragg

The Central Building Committee has not met lately. The City is doing the necessary paper work.

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Quincy Ed. Fund Update by Mrs. Bragg

The Mayor has appointed a new Quincy Education Fund Committee. Money donated by tax payers goes toward educational materials for the Quincy Public Schools. This has raised over $30,000. The Superintendent has asked principals how they would like the money spent. People can donate to the Quincy Education Fund @ City Hall, Treasurer/Collectors office. This committee is putting a direct link on the City webpage and will change the design on tax bills to make donating easier. This donation is tax deductible.

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Gifts: QPS Homeless Children

On a motion by Mr. McCarthy, seconded by Mrs. Dwyer, the Committee accepted a gift of $785.53 donated by the Sunday School Children of Faith Lutheran Church to benefit Quincy Public Schools Homeless Children. The ayes have it.

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Additional Business GIC Discussion

Under additional business, Mr. Steve McGrath and Mr. Kevin Madden were present to give an overview on an agreement with the unions on the GIC.

When the Mayor took over, he instructed them to look at the whole health care issue. They began in June and had 12 meetings. The Governor amended the statute allowing municipalities to join the GIC. They formed a Public Employee Committee that would bargain on health issues. They were required to bargain with all the unions. The projected saving realized is $5.2 million for the City and $4.7 million for employees. The GIC is so large they can purchase the insurance at a less expensive rate. It is true, however, some co pays are higher then the current plan. Seventy percent of the unions had to agree. A payment of $300 will go into the base salary of all City employees. There is a flex spending piece. Co pays and prescriptions will rise. Dental coverage goes up to $1,500 per year.

For retirees, a cap was imposed and settled on last year, 50% next year reim- bursement on Medicare and 55% the following year. They are giving up their right to collectively bargain health insurance. On July 1, 2009 when this takes effect, employees will realize a $2,400 savings for family plan, and $850 savings for single.

Mr. McCarthy asked if the $300 per employee, a total of $378,900, will be supplemented in the budget and if that will go into a health care line. Mr. Madden said that contracts will change. The savings of $4.5million and $5 million won’t be paid into the individual budgets. There is not another health care line. Mr. McCarthy thought that the health care line is the money they are going to benefit from going into the GIC.

Mr. McGrath said it is not a part of Memorandum of Understanding with the GIC. The contract raises are given through a contract limited reopener done with each of the collective bargaining units. They were careful not to have anything given to the unions alone, but to everyone. Mr. McCarthy asked if we were in any violation, and Mr. McGrath said we are not in any violation.

Mr. McCarthy said in the teachers’ agreement they agreed the benefit was to revert back to 90/10 when we join the GIC. The $300 surprised him. Mr. McGrath said there was no agreement reached in 07. Seventy percent of the unions did not come together as a PEC and signed the agreement. That just happened. That language held them back in being able to more aggressively bargain down the 90/10.

Mr. Puleo inquired about Medicare. Mr. Madden said every retiree has to join Medicare and join a wrap program. We reimburse them a portion of their Medicare premium. It is now 47%. This year it will be 50%, the following year in 2011--55%, the third year will be the cap. The big thing is they are now at the table. The City has to provide insurance. It is the law.

The City will hold a health fair on May 9. In December, they will disseminate material about these plans. There are a number of health plans offered.

When the School Committee sits down with the unions for negotiations, health care is off the table from now on. At the end of three years, cities and towns can come out if they chose and have to bargain to stay in. The PEC will continue. The $300 will be part of the collective bargaining agreement.

Mrs. Dwyer said it is a great opportunity. The School Committee tried to do this and could not. The reason they have questions is that they have yet to see the agreement made. They didn’t see what was on the table or the $300 as of July 2009. When people asked them questions, they couldn’t answer.

Mr. McGrath said he will get copies to the Committee. This happened rapidly.

Mrs. Dwyer inquired if Mr. McGrath actually reopened up all the city contracts: Mr. McGrath said a limited reopening and that the statute provides it.

Mrs. Dwyer said she found that appalling that the people who negotiated didn’t know that. They negotiated for 14 months. They gave them the 90/10. They had to agree to go back to 90/10 to get the GIC language into their contract.

Mr. McGrath answered that the 90/10 language is enforceable but it had no effect to get into the GIC by October 1. All that accomplished was to let the remaining unions have the 90/10. It hindered them in being able to negotiate more aggressively. It had no affect since a vote was never taken by October 1.

Mrs. Dwyer answered that the language was in every City contract. That was the agreement they came to after 14 months of negotiations. For them to give up the right to collective bargaining their health insurance. She found it unbelievable that in addition to the 90/10 they felt obligated to give them an additional $300.

Mr. Madden answered that the 90/10 language was meaningless to savings. It would have, if the City had last year successfully entered the GIC but it did not. By forming a PEC they have to negotiate the rate of payment. It has to be the same for all of them. They had to start from the point of 90/10.

Mrs. Dwyer added that she thought they negotiated in 2007 thinking that’s all they were going to get because there were tons of things on the table. The School Committee now has to add $378,900 to the salary line. They increased the salary line without letting the Committee know or letting them see the contract.

She asked to check into the legality of reopening a contract that she signed without her resigning the contract. She asked for a three year cost analysis to see how much the actual savings will be vs. when they have to start paying raises on $340,000. She asked that the City do the cost analysis. She asked that Mr. Mulvey, Mr. Lenox, and Mr. McGrath look into reopening a contract. She wants to know who signed the teachers’ contract. She didn’t think a contract could be reopened and not have the original signers sign it. She and Dave McCarthy should have signed it. They had to read it in the Ledger.

Mrs. Mahoney asked who was on the PEC. The Mayor is the Chair, and representatives of the collective bargaining unions. All 22 unions plus the Mayor and the retirees. There are 2,400 employees and 2,400 retirees.

Mrs. Mahoney said that she was at a fall festival, teachers were asking about it and she didn’t know what to say. There is an assumption that the Committee knows because they are on the committee. There is no requirement that a member of the School Committee be on the PEC. She was also taken aback because nobody mentioned the additional money that has to go out. As an elected official it is her duty to know what is gong on in the schools. We don’t know how that $340,000 is going to affect the school budget.

The Mayor said he thought they did everything in their power to do everything properly, keeping in mind the time constraints. He takes responsibility for not getting in touch. It is the Mayor who sets the bottom line. He had an opportunity to save a lot of money for the City. That $732,000 will be added in the budget but they’re going to save $4 million. He is expecting local aid cuts. This will soften the cuts. He will make sure the information gets to the members.

Mrs. Bragg said the thought some of the confusion had to do with the School Committee negotiating the school contracts and the City negotiates all the others. Having negotiated many contracts in the past, she would have appreciated knowing this was on the table. It sounds good, but when you’re dealing with school unions the School Committee needs to have a chance. One document she had says that every employee was going to get $300 for each of the three years. Mr. McGrath said the language that all unions understood is it is $300 once.

Mrs. Bragg said she was upset because the School Committee should have been involved in it. They have to answer calls. It was unnerving to find out how this went down. The problem is going to be the budget next year. The biggest savings is going to the City.

Mr. Mariano said the Committee negotiated 90/10 with a GIC and nothing happened, except it raised expectations that next year the 90/10 became the starting point. He hoped that they are not that sensitive that they can’t have an open discussion without everyone getting very defensive. That language created an expectation from the QEA and the other unions that if they took the GIC it would be 90/10. We’re losing sight of the big issue. He urged the Committee to move on.

Mr. Puleo agreed that the communication process was lacking for the School Committee, but he didn’t want it lost that a decision has been made to save $5.2million

Anne Mahoney said her concern is what’s coming down the pike. The $5 million will be a great help. She applauds it, but doesn’t appreciate the way it happened. She hoped to receive the information the Committee requested.

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Mrs. Dwyer announced that Pat Dunlea, a 2005 Quincy High School graduate is a student at the Culinary Institute. He will be on the Top Chief TV show in November.

The Mayor announced the Drug Task Symposium on the October 16 at Broad Meadows Middle School at 6:00 p.m. Outstanding speakers will be there.

Also, he went with Keith Segalla yesterday to Local 17. Mr. Tom Manning is interested that our graduates have an opportunity to get into the Tin Knockers apprenticeship program. Keith is going to stay in touch with Local 17.

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Policy Subcommittee Report by Mrs. Bragg

The policy subcommittee met and had the principals of North and Quincy High School. They discussed their goals from the year before and what they’re still working on.

NQHS/QHS SIPs approved

Mrs. Dwyer made a motion, seconded by Mr. Mariano, to approve the School Improvement Plans for Quincy High School and North Quincy High school. The ayes have it. They worked on and are still working on Section 10. Another meeting is set for Monday, October 20 for Middle School Improvement Plans.

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Motion to approve Agreement in ES

On a motion by Mr. Mariano, seconded by Mr. McCarthy, the Committee approved 6-1 what they agreed on with respect to litigation matters. MRS. BRAGG voted NO.

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The Committee noted the following resignation:

Café Helper: Paula Malger


The Committee noted the following appointments:

Paraprofessionals: Susan Durkin, Robert Johnston

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On a motion by Mrs. Bragg, seconded by Mr. McCarthy, the Committee adjourned for the evening at 9:16 p.m. The ayes have it.