Live-blogging the April meeting of the School Committee

Internet is pretty spotty here at the high school, but I will be doing my best to provide updates throughout the meeting. You can watch it live on GCTV while it’s going.


Public comments

  • First public comment mentions research around the country showing that increased police presence in schools does not increase safety.
  • A public comment noting that the Mayor continues to cut the budget recommended by the School Committee, which has been elected by the residents of Greenfield. Commenter also references studies about the ineffectiveness of increased police presence in schools, recommends sending the SRO money back to the GPS budget and to restore the 5% cut.
  • Patty Morey Walker notes that students who attended Youth Commission meeting are much more worried about fitting in, having someone to confide in, etc., and that feeling physically unsafe is not something they are worried about [This bullet edited for clarity].
  • GHS history teacher with some questions: What information has been gathered to make the determination that we need to increase SRO presence? Have students, instructors, or administrators been consulted?
  • Closing public comment now.

Committee reports

  • GHS student representatives commend the addition of strawberry milk to the cafeteria beverage offerings.
  • Chair’s report
    • Chair Nunez notes that the issue of the legislative representative is still with the subcommittee. There was no solicitation of applications or considerations of applications.
    • Mayor Martin has called attention to Councillor Mayo’s proposed privatization ordinance; it is expected to go to the full Council in May. Member Hollins feels that the schools are too complicated and the ordinance needs more definition of city services. Mayor Martin states that the proposal has been amended to exempt the schools.
    • Suggests creation of a shared School Committee folder on their Google Drive for documents and informational content, notes that sharing opinion online/via email violates Open Meeting laws. Share would be open to the public.
  • Superintendent’s report
    • Business manager position is still open, “experienced” candidates are being interviewed. Curriculum coordinator interviews scheduled for next week.
    • Superintendent Harper requests that parents make sure kids are well-rested for MCAS testing, which is happening this week and the week after break.
    • “Review of safety” is ongoing with staff and administration; communication to parents can be expected in the coming months.
  • Subcommittee reports
    • Policy has generated a few drafts for first readings tonight
    • Health, Safety, & Facilities has been working on Four Corners traffic situation and has a recommendation regarding the SRO
    • Negotiation & Personnel has recommendation for modifications to the timeline of Superintendent evaluation.
    • Budget subcommittee hasn’t met since last meeting of the full School Committee, but “there is interest in having a robust discussion” about the Mayor’s budget (which has come out in the meantime and significantly cuts the proposed School budget).

This post is getting very long, and we’re just getting to the SRO discussion. I’m going to break it off and start a new post.