School Board Update

Hi neighbors —

The Burlington School Board held its July meeting this evening at the Ira Allen Building on Colchester Avenue. As is often the case for summer meetings, it was lightly attended; there were just 8 board members at the meeting (including both your Ward Five reps) and no members of the general public.

At the start of her monthly report, Superintendent Collins regretfully announced the death of Bob Aldrich, a long-time school principal who worked for a number of districts, including Burlington.

Superintendent Jeanne Collins also discussed the proposal by the District to merge its after-school programs with Burlington’s City Kids program. The District is facing a loss of grant funding for its after-school programs and has been helping its partners and program providers become licensed, which makes them eligible for other sources of state funding. The theory behind the merger, which was initially suggested by Mayor Peter Clavelle and recently endorsed by Mayor Bob Kiss, is that it would be more efficient and cost-effective for Burlington residents to have all after-school programs share a single administration. After listening to protests from city residents, however, the City Council refused to endorse the merger. Superintendent Collins noted that in its discussions with Mayor Kiss, the District promised that it would continue the existing City Kids programs without changes in scope or time. Superintendent Collins will be meeting with Mayor Kiss to discuss what steps to take in reaction to the City Council’s action.

There was no report by the Finance Committee, which is holding its annual retreat on Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Commissioner Amy Werbel presented the report of the Curriculum & Policy Committee, and presented a motion to authorize the Board Chair to appoint an ad hoc committee to discuss, formulate, and implement a process for public engagement in response to the Equity Task Force report. The motion passed, and Chairman Paul Hale will select a group to put together recommendations on how best to conduct public discussion and solicit input regarding the ideas presented by the Task Force.

The Board accepted an invitation to meet with the Essex School Board in August to discuss possible changes in the governance structures currently existing for the Chittenden County’s two regional technical education centers. If the boards agree to move forward, the tentative timeline calls for a final report and findings to be presented by the two boards by April 2007.

The Board considered three policies for 1st reading: 1) Policy BCG, which authorizes the Board to hire an attorney; 2) a policy which states that the Board will comply with the federal Pupil Privacy Rights Amendment; and 3) Code F26, which governs the use of Restrictive Behavioral Intervention. All three passed. The Board also approved Policy DJA for second reading; the policy provides that District employees and School Commissioners may purchase computer equipment at personal expense as part of the District bid process. Copies of all of the District’s policies are available on the District website (http://www.bsdvt.org).

After a brief executive session, the Board voted to approve a new three-year contract with the District’s office personnel. The negotiations with the District teachers–the only unresolved contract–are on hold while the two sides await the recommendation of a fact-finder. That decision is expected by the end of July or early August.

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to call or e-mail.

Regards,

Fred Lane
Ward 5 School Commissioner
660-4918

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