2016-2017 BOARD OF EDUCATION UPDATES
9/19/16 BOE Meeting:
During Monday's BOE meeting Student Resource Officer (SRO) Joe Mogollon discussed the launch of the new SRO program and how it will help students in the school system. Although based in the high school. Officer Mogollon will also work with the middle school students by teaching two lessons per grade during health class. His lessons will be designed to discuss internet safety and drug/alcohol awareness. The next meeting will be Monday October 24, 2016 at 7:30 in the LLC.
10/24/16 BOE Meeting:
During last Monday’s BOE meeting, the Board welcomed student representatives from the High School for the first time. Dr. Craw presented the Gauging Student Progress Report, which is a comprehensive assessment of teaching and learning in all Weston schools. The report focused on the need for comprehensive evaluations, including formative classroom assessments and benchmark common assessments in addition to formal testing. Dr. Craw emphasized that multiple measures are key. The principals’ report is now provided in a link to all parents. The report includes a highlight from each school.
The next BOE meeting will be November 21st at 7:30 pm in the WMS LRC.
11/21/16 BOE Meeting:
The Board of Ed met on Monday, November 21st. First, Dr. McKersie recognized Christina Conetta as Weston’s 2017 Teacher of the Year (Instructional Leader, Grade 6-12 Social Studies). The Board also welcomed Gina Albert as a new Board of Ed member. Ms. Albert is replacing Phil Schaefer, who has retired. The Board elected Denise Harvey as Vice Chairperson.
Dr. Craw and WHS personnel presented the annual WHS Class of 2016 Statistical Report & Analysis of College Applications. Highlights from the report include: for first time, more students took ACT over SAT; AP test scores increased; 100% graduation rate; 90% of students applied to some type of early acceptance program; and there was a 10% drop in the percentage of students admitted at the most competitive colleges, but applications to those schools were also up dramatically.
Next, the Board heard from School Officials regarding the annual NESDC Enrollment Report and Projections. The report focused on Weston’s high birth to kindergarten ratio (how many children enroll in kindergarten for every birth in town). Weston’s ratio is 2.61, which is the highest in the area. Weston has lots of children moving into town, meaning there is not much correlation between births and kindergarten enrollment. This year’s enrollment projections were actually very close in the lower grades. Projections for next year are for HES: K +14 (142); Grade 1 -4 (139); Grade 2 +5 (150); and for WIS: Grade 3 -8 (155); Grade 4 -5 (168); Grade 5 -9 (176). The report is projecting a 5% decrease district wide for the next 5 years.
And lastly, Ms. Kaddis, Ms. Falber and Dr. Craw reported on Dr. McKersie’s request of them to examine the location of second grade. Their analysis concluded that moving the second grade to WIS would not provide much of a cost savings and would negatively impact the learning environment in WIS and HES. They recommended keeping the second grade at HES. Dr. McKersie would like the Board to come to a vote or consensus on this issue at the next meeting.
The next BOE meeting will be December 19th at 7:30 pm in the WMS LRC.
1/10/17 BOE Meeting:
The FY 2018 budget was presented to the BOE on Tuesday, Jan. 10th. The district is requesting an increase of $1,357,200 which is a 2.79% increase over last year’s budget.
Targeted investment areas include:
Digital Learning & Technology
Professional Learning & Growth
Healthy Learning Environment
Strengthening Elementary Admin Support for Schools
Jan. 12: Budget Presentation to PTO’s (9:45 am WIS Cafetorium)
Jan. 17: Q & A session with BOE. (7:00 pm WMS Library Media Center)
Jan. 19: Q & A session #2 with BOE (if needed). (7:00 pm WMS Library Media Center)
Jan. 23: BOE votes on FY 2018 Budget Request (7:00 pm WMS Library Media Center)
Feb. 7: Board of Selectmen reviews BOE budget request (7:30pm, Town Hall)
Mar. 8: Board of Finance (BOF) reviews BOE budget request (7:30pm, Town Hall)
Mar. 29: BOF Public Hearing (8:00 pm WMS Library Media Center)
Apr. 19: Annual Town Budget Meeting (ATBM) (8:00 pm WHS Auditorium)
Apr. 27: Budget Referendum
2/23/17 BOE Meeting
Last week, the Board of Education presented the 2017-2018 Operating Budget of $49,907,522 to the BOS. On February 21st, the Board of Selectman reviewed the budget, then sent their recommendations to the Board of Finance. They recommended that as sufficient information is received regarding state budget cuts and/or increased expenses, that the Board of Education make budget reductions as appropriate.
Remaining Budget Meetings:
March 8, 2017: Board of Finance reviews BOE budget request - 7:30pm, Town Hall
March 29, 2017: Board of Finance Public Hearing - 8:00 pm WMS Library Media Center
April 19, 2017: All Town Budget Meeting (ATBM) - 8:00 pm WHS Auditorium
Gov. Malloy released his proposed state budget for the next two years on Wednesday, which dramatically reduces the Education Cost Sharing grant for some of the wealthiest towns in Fairfield County. Last year, Weston received $263,431 from the ECS grant, already reflecting a large drop from $845,528 the prior year. This year we won't receive any funding.
Governor Malloy also proposed that individual towns start picking up one third of the cost of teacher pensions. In Weston's case, this would result in an extra $2.25 million for either the town or school system to cover.
Dr. McKersie sent out an email last week that speaks to the importance of understanding what is happening in Connecticut. The Board of Education as well as the Dr. McKersie will keep us informed. We need to stand up for the education of all our children and our town's financial ability to educate them. Please stay attuned to developments and let your voice be heard - it will make a difference in Hartford.
2/28/17 BOE Meeting:
Board of Ed Update The Board of Ed met on Tuesday, February 28, 2017 at 7:30 pm at the Weston Middle School. Dr. McKersie began the meeting by thanking the WIS PTO for its generous gifts.
Mr. Mike Regan, an outside consultant with Cooperative Educational Services, gave a report on the Comprehensive Review of Weston’s Special Education Programs. The purpose of the analysis was to review current practices and to make recommendations that would be helpful in providing services to students. The report was overwhelmingly positive and Mr. Regan commended Weston’s administrators, teachers, and special education team members. Some recommendations were made, including to put the Special Education Policies and Procedures Manual online, encouraging continuous progress on educating students in the least restrictive environment, and various administrative measures to assist with state and federal filing requirements.
The Board also unanimously voted to leave the National School Lunch Program for HES, WIS and WMS (WHS is already off the National School Lunch Program). While leaving the program causes the loss of a subsidy, the Board felt that was outweighed by the flexibility in offering more variety and healthier options. The Board felt that the lost subsidy will be more than made up for with increased sales for more desirable lunch items and a small increase in the cost of school lunch.
The School Budget is progressing through the approval process. The budget will be presented to the Board of Finance on March 8th at Town Hall at 7:30 pm (no public comment), and there will be a public hearing on the budget on March 29th at 8:00 at the Weston Middle School. Particularly in light of education funding changes on the national and state level, come and be heard.