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July 1999


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Roberta Barone <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Moretown Educational <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 29 Jul 1999 15:19:24 -0400
text/plain (97 lines)
Wavell Cowan wrote:
> Following are draft school board reports for the next issue of Moretown
> Matters.  Please send edits in CAPS.  Not hearing from you means
> approval.  Thanks ..... Wavell
> Special Education Initiative Pays Off
> The report, Moretown Dilemma, prepared by the Moretown School Board,
> effectively highlighted the exceptional special education costs being
> forecast for the school over the next half dozen years.  It proved
> highly persuasive.  Carefully circulated about the legislature by
> representative, Alan Weiss, it resulted in a bill sponsored by Senator
> Jeb Spaulding, passed by the legislature and signed into law by the
> governor.  It made $2.3 million available as discretionary spending by
> the Commissioner of Education to address “exceptional” special education
> costs within Vermont school districts.  The Moretown school board will
> now work to ensure that Moretown receives its fair share of these
> funds.  It is hoped that this successful effort will reduce
> significantly the upward pressure on the school budget and tax rate
> which would otherwise have been inevitable.
> Commissioner of Education Rules in Favor of Moretown Board Position
> The Harwood Board acted improperly by changing the method of assessing
> towns for the Harwood budget  without putting the question to a public
> vote.  This contention of the Moretown Board (reported in the May issue
> of Moretown Matters) was validated by a June ruling from the
> Commissioner of Education. The Moretown Board is now requesting that the
> Harwood Board resubmit corrected assessments to all supporting towns,
> for the past two years, making interest and penalty payments as
> appropriate.  Further, it appears that changes in the method of ADM
> calculation introduced by the Harwood Board in the early 90s and perhaps
> even earlier, need to be investigated in respect to improper town
> assessments over a much longer period.
> Harwood Governance a Hot Issue
> When the town voters agreed to allow member districts to withdraw middle
> school students from Harwood Union High School in order to allow Duxbury
> and Waterbury to build a new middle school (Crosset Brook) and establish
> a new K-8 school district, they were not asked to consider the
> consequences.  The result is that Waterbury and Duxbury maintain a
> dominant board position over all affairs at Harwood, including the
> middle school, even though they have no middle school students at
> Harwood.  Further, a significant impetus to the assessment changes
> improperly made by the Harwood Board was to relieve Waterbury and
> Duxbury of a perceived inappropriate middle school burden.
> It is now very clear that both the Harwood Union High School assessment
> issue and governance issue need to be properly addressed and resolved.
> One proposal is for the four Valley districts to establish a separate
> school board to look after Harwood Middle School.  The Moretown Board
> feels that such a solution would be an unsuitable half-way house and are
> on record as favoring the reconstitution of a Harwood School Board for
> the entire school as a responsibility of the existing four valley K-6
> district school boards, plus the Waterbury/Duxbury K-8 district school
> board, working cooperatively.
> Action Planning
> The Moretown School Board has approved the Action Plan Report submitted
> by the joint community-school action planning committee.  This report
> includes a preamble, a plan developed by the school group chaired by the
> principal, Roberta Barone, and including teachers,SUSAN PHILLIPS(PRESCHOOL/EEE),KIM LINCOLN(KINDERGARTEN), KATHI ORR(1/2) Pam Dow (1/2), Brenda
> Hartshorn (2/3),JONI CLEMONS (3/4), Jeff Isham (TITLE 1 REMEDIAL),CAROL BACHE(SPECIAL EDUCATOR), THom McAllister (4/5), and KAREN CINGISER(5/6)
> prepared by the community group chaired by board member, Wavell Cowan,
> and including Kim Allshouse (social worker), Diana Costello (Spring Hill
> teacher), Carol Dean (business owner), Sheila Getzinger (lawyer), Kent
> Holden (board member, business owner), John Schmeltzer (state
> hydrologist), and Lise Wexler (business owner).   This report has been
> submitted to the Department of Education in fulfillment of Act 60
> requirements.  Arrangements can be made with the school to obtain a copy
> of this report.
> Concrete school proposals for the Mathematics and English LANGUAGE Arts programs
> are designed to improve test scores in the weakest areas as revealed by
> the state standards assessment results; viz. writing conventions and
> effectiveness, and mathematical concepts and problem solving.  Of
> particular interest was the proposal to establish a community group to
> regularly receive student writing from all grades, and to select the
> best for publication in a monthly school literary journal.  It is
> anticipated that some of these will ultimately be printed in a “writers
> corner” of Moretown Matters.
> The community report proposed the creation of a school-community
> directory providing information about community members  available for
> in-school activities to enhance quality education.  This will include a
> variety of activities; i.e. clerical task substitution allowing teachers
> to increase the time dedicated to quality improvement; in-class support
> in primary grades providing individualized attention in improving
> reading and math skills; in-class presentations supporting social study
> units (geographical via travel experiences, areas related to
> professional or work experiences, historical via specialized interest
> and knowledge); and support by technical and scientific people to help
> enhance the quality of science instruction.
> A community group will accept not only the responsibility to develop the
> directory, but to oversee and institutionalize the manner in which
> actual community involvement in the school can be initiated and enhanced
> without requiring anything more than essential teacher involvement.
> That is, the process of community involvement must be sufficiently
> unburdensome and worthwhile to teachers that requests for services will
> develop and continue to be received.