School Committee Meeting Package - 10/13/2010

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School Committee Meeting Package - 10/13/2010

Postby mkelley on Wed Oct 13, 2010 3:36 pm

Good afternoon,

I have posted the School Committee Agenda and all supplied documentation for the 10/13/2010 meeting at the following URL:

The executive session is scheduled for 6:30pm with the open session starting at 7:30pm.

I hope to see you there.


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Re: School Committee Meeting Package - 10/13/2010

Postby swamper on Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:39 am

From TewksburyPatch: ... l-teachers

School Committee Votes Against Hiring Additional Teachers

Unstable budget forces committee to rethink creating new classes with fewer students.
By Andria Sousa | Email the author | October 14, 2010

There will be no change made to elementary class sizes this year.

In a 3-2 vote, the School Committee declined to act on Superintendent Dr. John O'Connor's recommendation to hire two new teachers, one each in the second and fourth grades, as a means to decrease class sizes.

At the previous meeting, O'Connor informed the committee the second grade exceeded enrollment expectation with approximately 26 students in each classroom. He suggested two ways to alleviate the burden on the teachers, hire an aide for each classroom, or hire a new teacher and bring each class down to 22 students. He believed the best practice for the students and the teachers would be to hire a new teacher. However, that would mean shifting 22 students into a new class, which could potentially cause concern with parents.

O'Connor said he spent two weeks speaking with the teachers and the principals at the North Street and Dewing Elementary schools regarding the full classes and discussing the options of adding an aide in each class or hiring a new teacher. He said both principals recommended hiring a new teacher.

Although, the committee agreed as a whole for the need for smaller classes and more teachers, some members did not feel it would be fiscally responsible to hire two new teachers when they were facing the possibility of layoffs at the end of the year. The alternative of hiring two aides, although comparable in cost, seemed contractually more reasonable.

"In our fiscal time adding two teachers now when we may have to do layoffs down the pipeline does not seem fiscally responsible," said Krissy Polimeno, school committee clerk. "I know they want another teacher, but nothing or an aide? I would take the aide for help."

Polimeno voted against hiring the two new teachers, as did Dennis Francis and Chairman Michael Kelley. Jane Miller and Joseph Russell voted in favor of the hirings.

In addition to looking at the second and fourth grade classes, O'Connor pulled the numbers on all classes from kindergarten through eighth grade. The school committee was surprised to find that the seventh grade had 30 plus students per class and the fifth grade had an average of 28 students per class. O'Conner said in order to decrease classes across the schools they would need to hire six new teachers, which would cost approximately $400,000 with benefits.

"I support the addition of two teachers, I would like to speak with the teachers and administrators, in the fifth grade at the Ryan and seventh at the Wynn, and see about getting clerical support to help allow the teachers to interact more with the kids and we would pickup some of their clerical work," O'Connor said.

Committee member Dennis Francis commented on the fact that class sizes were exceeding expectations yet decreasing each grade level down, with the exception of the high school, which has significantly lower numbers. Enrollment drops from 373 in the eighth grade to 205 in the ninth.

The committee asked O'Connor if he could have a detailed budget for the next meeting outlining the cost of adding clerical support and where the money would be coming from.
Do you have children in the Tewksbury School District? How do you feel about your child's class size? Tell us in the comments.
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Re: School Committee Meeting Package - 10/13/2010

Postby GymMom on Fri Oct 15, 2010 2:15 pm

Looks like the article Swamper posted from the Patch has been updated since I read it last night.
The article incorrectly stated how the committee members voted.
I'm glad to see that a correction was made.
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