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Daily Buzz | School Committee Discusses Bus Routes, Crossing Guards, Returning Town Funds, and more
Also, BPS to continue with Whitson's as a food service management company
The hits just kept coming at this Tuesday’s School Committee meeting; below is a summary of the important information that was shared and votes that were cast. There is a lot of information about finances in here, so even if you don’t have kids in the district, you might find something of interest.
Some union contracts (Custodial, Cafeteria, and Instructional Assistants) were extended by a year with a 3% raise to align the contract periods with the teaching contracts. A final contract (Clerical Union) was already aligned but only had a 2.5% annual pay increase, and so a .5% retroactive increase for 2022-23 to level set these positions. This increase is already accounted for in the budget; no new money is being requested.
Only about 12% of BPS’s funding comes from the state and federal government; the Chapter 70 per pupil aid increased to $60 this year (about a $200,000 increase in the total School Department budget).
An Assistant Athletic Trainer position was added to the BEA (union) contract so BPS can hire a full time person. Trainers are required to be at many athletic games, and it’s been hard to ensure this coverage by offering stipends.
BPS will be using Whitson’s again as a food management company. The district began using them last spring, and the state required us to go through request for proposal process again; Whitson’s was the only respondent. Last year they met the minimum guaranteed return, which means they had enough participation to cover the cost of food and result in a profit for the school district. There was no change to the contract, and Members Simon and Monaco expressed concern about the use of plastics; the Committee committed to come back to the conversation and look at creating a policy in the future, which the food service management company would have to follow.
Free school meals for all were made permanent by the state this summer!
Some capital projects were brought up that weren’t able to be performed. The essence of the conversation was that some funding was provided by Town Meeting for capital projects, but by the time the bidding process came around the price increased by almost double. Here are the initial projects and their disposition:
High school parking spaces out front: The district will return the $60,000, which was awarded in 2018, to the town.
Pine Glen HVAC (heat pump split units, to be used mainly for air conditioning): The district hopes to request more funds for the additional funding needed to complete the project but complete the project in phases.
Getting HVAC plans drawn for the high school: The district will return $100,000 to the town and wait for the high school feasibility study to be complete before making a new request.
Visitor Control Access System: The district anticipated needing more equipment than needed; as we don’t need the equipment, $9,655 will be returned to the town.
BPS is spending much of our federal pandemic funds on mental health support staffing; Dr. Conti reported that the district has been adding positions slowly and incorporating them into the operating budget.
A second crossing guard will be added at Fox Hill so that students can cross Fox Hill to Vincent and get back up into the Donald-Vincent neighborhood. No Standing signs will also be installed on Fox Hill and Westwood as a part of the Safe Routes to School program, which is sponsored by the state. Community members are encouraged to volunteer to participate in the Safe Routes to Schools program at the rest of our schools.
Bus routes are finalized and posted! Please arrive at bus stops 5 minutes early until the times settle. The high school start time will still be 8:40, so the buses have time to run their routes.
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Today in Burlington
Municipal Meetings and Community Events
5:00 PM - Live music on the Green at 3rd Ave.
6:30 PM - Conservation Commission will discuss some requests for extensions of the Wetland Bylaw permit and several “Request[s] for Determination of Applicability (the process of determining whether a proposed project would fall under the Wetland Protection Act). They’ll also hold a public hearing regarding Life Time Fitness’s proposed parking lot expansion. (Town Hall and Virtual)
6:30 PM - Last Word Toastmasters Club at the library
Sports and Activities
We’ve got a few scrimmages on the calendar today:
8:00 AM - Varsity Girls Field Hockey at Beverly High School
3:30 PM - Junior Varsity and Varsity Boys play Soccer against Marblehead High School at MSMS
That’s it for today. See you tomorrow!