Citizen urges school committee to use municipal website

Jack Brennan suggest website would inform residents about committee members and meetings
Posted:  Wednesday, March 7, 2018 - 9:45am

An Edgecomb resident encouraged the school committee to make better use of municipal resources for communicating local education issues. Edgecomb Budget Committee Chairman Jack Brennan arrived after the March 5 Edgecomb School Committee meeting started. Brennan searched the municipal website for the school committee starting time without success. He heard the meeting started at 5:30 p.m., but it started at 5 p.m.

“The website is still a work in progress, but it has little to nothing about the school committee. You are part of town government, and it would serve as a contact point between the committee and townspeople as far as knowing who is on the committee and who to contact.”

The school committee members agreed to submit information for inclusion on the website.

In other action, the committee decided to postpone approving the proposed $2,869,172 school budget for FY 19. The committee wants public feedback prior to sending its recommendation to selectmen. The committee will hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 20 in conjunction with the local Parent Teacher Club meeting.

Last year’s public hearing drew approximately 40 residents, but Selectman Mike Smith cautioned this year’s attendance would likely be less. Two years ago, no one attended the hearing and three years ago only one was in attendance. “Remember, last year, there was a lot more turbulence surrounding the school, but this year everything is good. Everyone is smiles and thumbs up,” Smith said.

The selectman did make one request regarding the proposed budget. Smith wanted the committee to consider extending the loan schedule for purchasing a new school bus from five to possibly eight years or longer. The committee was receptive to his request, if it didn’t result in creating two future bus payments in the same year. School officials will check with the AOS 98 transportation department to gauge the life expectancy of the other fleet bus in determining whether or not to extend loan payment longer than five years.

The pre-kindergarten continues to attract students. So far the program has registered 13 students for next year. Ten are Edgecomb residents. Principal Ira Michaud recommended developing a pre-kindergarten enrollment policy.  “I can’t envision adding a second pre-k class since we’re still in year two of the program,” Michaud said. “The program is successful because it’s a full day and parents like it because it prepares their kids for kindergarten and they don’t need an alternative plan for day care.”

The committee will consider Michaud’s recommendation at a future meeting.

In other action, Superintendent Bob Webster reported the last day of school is June 13. The school made up one windstorm day on Dec. 22 by replacing an in-service teacher’s day with a half school day. A second will be made up as the school day will be extended one hour, from 1:35 p.m. to 2:35 p.m., on the final six Wednesdays of the school year.

The committee reviewed a proposed 2019-20 school calendar. Next fall, school begins on Wednesday, Aug. 29 and ends next spring on Thursday, June 19.

Smith also sought committee input about school involvement with the May town meeting and sixth grade students placing flags on veterans’ graves for Memorial Day. In past years, the parent teacher club has served sandwiches and soup during the annual town meeting, but it didn’t happen in 2017. Smith sought interest in the parent teacher club serving lunch as a fundraiser. He also inquired about a sixth grader leading the town meeting in the pledge of allegiance. Michaud will send Smith’s lunch request to the parent teacher club. The Memorial Day flag request will be sent to grade 4-6 social studies teacher Allison Crocker.

The committee will meet next at 5:30 p.m. Monday, April 2 at Edgecomb Eddy School.