School Commissioner Report

Hi Neighbors —

In anticipation of a potentially large public turn-out, the School Board met last Tuesday night at the library at the Hunt Middle School. The move proved unnecessary; only a handful of people showed up for the meeting. Among those in attendance were Ward 5 residents Dawn Moskowitz and Karen Paul, who both spoke in support of the Board’s work to implement socio-economic integration in the District and offered several specific recommendations.

Superintendent Collins opened the substantive part of the meeting by presenting a letter of appreciation to the Burlington Education Association in honor of American Education Week.

The bulk of the meeting was taken up with the report of the Finance Committee, the activities of which I summarized in my posting last week. I presented a motion to delay the sale or lease of the Taft and Ira Allen buildings for one year, so that the District can better develop its plans for implementing socio-economic integration. The motion was divided in two, and the proposal to delay any action on Taft for one year passed. After general discussion about the budget implications of retaining Ira Allen, the Board decided to postpone that vote for two months, to give the Administration time to evaluate whether it might be possible to sell the property and then lease it back until administration and early education programs can be relocated.

A motion to endorse a resolution by the City Council regarding Education Property Tax Financing passed unanimously. The Board will also craft a resolution expressing opposition to Governor Douglas’s proposed education budget cap; that resolution will be discussed by the Board in December.

I also made a motion to decouple the Board’s 2007-08 budget process from the process for implementing socio-economic integration and to authorize Superintendent Collins to form a working group to assist her in developing specific plans for SEI implementation. Again, the Board decided to split the motion into two separate discussions. The motion to separate the 07-08 budget process from SEI implementation passed unanimously. After some general discussion about the possible make-up of the Superintendent’s working group and the timing of specific implementation proposals, the Board decided to table the motion to create a working group until the special Board meeting on November 28.

The only other substantive action by the Board was to approve two revised policies. The first, policy ECB, requires the Superintendent to include a recommendation in each year’s budget for a preventative maintenance budget line item equal to 1.5% of the District’s locally-funded budget. The second policy, KG, governs the use of school facilities by different groups. Both policies were approved for second reading and adopted by the Board.

The next meeting of the School Board is a special meeting to discuss the public response to the Task Force report. The Board will meet on Tuesday, November 28, at Ira Allen on Colchester Avenue. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. The public can make three-minute comments at the start of the meeting, and the rest of the meeting will be open for observation.

If anyone has any questions, please feel free to e-mail me or Commissioner Amy Werbel (awerbel@bsdvt.org).

Fred Lane
Ward 5 School Commissioner
12 Catherine Street
660-4918
flane@bsdvt.org

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