Profile | School Committee
Setting the direction for our schools
Today I’d like to talk about something close to my heart: the School Committee. Like the Select Board, there are 5 School committee members, each serving 3-year terms.
The main roles and responsibilities for the School Committee are to:
Select and terminate the superintendent
Set educational goals and policies for schools, in collaboration with the superintendent, aligned with the goals and standards set by the state
Sit in on Union negotiations between the labor attorney and superintendent
Review and approve the education budget
The School Committee is also responsible for implementing Child Find to locate, identify, and evaluate all children with disabilities.
The school budget involves day-to-day expenses like textbooks, iPads, and staff salaries, and as mentioned above, the School Committee sets and reviews this every year. Other items, however—mainly capital expenditures such as building schools, renovations, etc.—need to be accomplished via warrant articles through Town Meeting.
With other departments in town, Town Meeting can vote to amend any line item within that department's budget. However, with the School Department budget, state laws dictate that Town Meeting can only vote to approve, disapprove or change the total budget amount. Town Meeting may discuss line items within that budget, but they can’t amend them. The total school budget for FY 2021 was $69,470,567, which is just under half the annual operating budget of the entire town.
Some recent issues that have come to the School Committee for a vote are:
Whether to close Pine Glen and combine it with the (eventual) new Fox Hill, or to rebuild FH without shutting down PG
How to provide instruction during the pandemic
How to decide on a new food service provider within BPS
School Committee meets every other Tuesday, and if you’re interested in knowing more about what goes on there, I encourage you to attend the meetings and/or watch the replays!
Special thanks to Christine Scanlon Monaco for chatting about the SC roles and responsibilities.