Wednesday, June 20, 2012
School Committee votes to 'consider' transferring field to Parks Department to help win up to $600,000 to pay for $1 million artificial turf field.
The School Committee voted four to two Monday night to "consider" transferring ownership of Bertram Field to the city of Salem to help win a state grant of up to $600,000 toward building an artificial turf field. The city has until the end of this month to apply to the state Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations program for a grant for the field. One condition of that grant, Mayor Kimberley Driscoll told the committee members, is that the city own the field, not the school district. Artificial turf fields have become very popular with cities and towns that have over-used natural turf fields. The demand for fields is growing from schools, youth and adult sport leagues, the committee was told. The mayor estimated that the cost of an …
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Parents and staff line up to demand School Committee restore reading teacher.
Witchcraft Heights parents and staff filled the school's cafeteria/auditorium for more than three hours Monday night to persuade the School Committee not to transfer one of its three reading specialist positions to a more needy school. Taking advantage of the School Committee meeting at their elementary school, the staff rallied the parents to attend the meeting and support the efforts to keep the federally funded position. The School Administration has proposed a reassignment of six reading specialists for next year, based on the reading test scores. Bentley and Carlton schools are getting additional reading specialists. Other schools, including Witchcraft Heights, are losing positions, under the current plan. The committee voted to have…
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
School Committee heatedly debates what programs work and how to get them in every school.
Before a rare packed house that remained until after 10 p.m., the School Committee voted five to two to allow the Saltonstall School to continue its popular, but controversial extended day and year programming for at least one more year. Saltonstall, for much of its 17-year existence, has operated one hour longer each day and 10 days longer into the summer. The teachers are paid 16 percent more and do 22 percent more work, according to Saltonstall Principal Julie Carter. Estimates were that Saltonstall's extended calendar costs the district an extra $100,000. That number, however, was challenged. "The extended time makes a difference. It has a positive impact," Carter said. The school committee agreed that extended time to learn was a …
Monday, May 21, 2012
Playing one group against the other is not acceptable.
As the school year ends and the budget season approaches, sides seem to be forming on the school committee in regards to the Level 4 status of the Bentley School. Each of the School Committee members has their own ideas on how to best approach this difficult situation. I am sure they converse amongst each other to gauge who is thinking what and why. That gives all an opportunity to either sway someone with their argument, or to be swayed by the counter argument. Usually, as in all small deliberative bodies, by the time the meeting convenes everyone knows who stands where on an issue. A couple of weeks ago that did not seem to be the case. Two members of the school committee would seem to have surprised some other members with a call to …
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
School Committee reverses direction, will substitute a lottery system to balance schools socioeconomically.
In the face of stiff opposition from parents to its proposed student school assignment policy, the School Committee changed direction Monday. The new proposed policy on what schools parents may apply to was called “complicated” and “hard to explain,” but it seemed to please most of the parents who attended the school committee meeting. In place of limiting parents' choice of the kindergarten to the two schools closest to their home, the committee is now considering a process that would allow parents to apply to have their children enter any Salem school. The schools would seek to balance the socioeconomic makeup of each school by limiting the number of students who receive federally subsidized lunches. The limit in each school would be …
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
School Committee takes up issue of balancing schools socio-economically.
The School Committee took the first step Monday night toward adopting a new policy for school enrollment, but immediately ran into strong opposition from parents who want to keep the status quo. The committee considered for the first time a policy that would eliminate unlimited choice by parents on where their children go to elementary school. In its place, the policy would restrict parents to a choice of the two schools closest to their home. The policy would impact only new students – those entering kindergarten or transfer students. The policy, which would be implemented starting next fall, must be considered two more times before it can be approved by the committee. But it was clear that the committee, which has been bombarded with …
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Councilors and School Committee members are sworn in, choose new leadership.
Salem ushered in a new year Monday morning at the Inaugural Ceremony at City Hall. City councilors, including newcomers Kevin Carr, Josh Turiel and Todd Siegel, were sworn in as were school committee members, including first time members Deborah A. Amaral and Lisa Lavoie. New City Council President Joan B. Lovely was acknowledged and addressed fellow councilors and attendees, providing a history of those forefathers whose portraits hang in the chambers. School Committee Incumbent Jim Fleming was elected Vice Chairman of the School Committee. In her State of the City Address, the mayor spoke about Robert Booth's recently published historical book Death of an Empire: The Rise and Murderous Fall of Salem, America’s Richest City and drew …
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Bentley School stakeholders will meet Wednesday to begin developing school's turn-around plan.
Dr. Lisa Lavoie, who was described as probably the “best educated” person on the School Committee or City Council, was appointed Monday night by both boards to serve out the remaining two years of Kevin Carr's term on the committee. In a joint meeting of the council and school committee, she won the appointment with nine votes to Sean O'Brien's six votes. Francis Vigeant received two votes. Neither Darek Barcikowski nor Kenneth Sawicki received a vote. Heather Leclerc, who had submitted an application to be considered, did not appear at the meeting and was not nominated. Mayor Kimberley Driscoll, who chairs the School Committee, called Lavoie “outstanding.” She spoke highly of three other candidates, but said she would vote for Lavoie …
Friday, December 16, 2011
City Council and School Committee will meet Monday to appoint replacement for Kevin Carr.
Six candidates have applied to fill a coming vacancy on the School Committee created by Kevin Carr's resignation this month. They include three candidates who ran unsuccessfully for the School Committee and two who ran unsuccessfully for the City Council. The City Council and the School Committee are scheduled to meet together Monday to consider the applications and vote on Carr's replacement. It takes a majority vote of the council and school committee. Carr has said he will resign at the end of the year to assume his duties as city councilor-at-large. The six candidates include the three candidates for the school committee in November, but did not garner enough votes to unseat two incumbents or fill a vacancy. They are Lisa Lavoie, Sean …
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
With a vacancy now that Kevin Carr with be a councilor-at-large, who is best for the job?
This morning, we ran a on a story on the open position on the school committee, now that Kevin Carr will be assuming a role as councilor-at-large come Jan. 1. We want to know who you think is the best candidate for that job. Be sure to vote in our poll for one of the candidates and tell us why you did. You may also vote "other." If you do, please let us know who you had in mind in the commnents.