2007-07-03 / News

Special ed director Pinto bids farewell to island

By Donna K. Drago

The School Committee accepted the resignation of Elizabeth Pinto, the director of pupil services and special education director at their June 28 meeting.

Committee chairwoman Cathy Kaiser said that Pinto is leaving to become the new special education director in the town of Narragansett- the same district former superintendent Katherine Sipala left Jamestown for just one year ago.

Pinto will work through the end of July, Kaiser said, and will be available during the transition of a new special education director, according to Supt. Robert Power.

Kaiser said the School Committee, who has known about the resignation of Pinto for a few weeks, discussed how to replace her at their June 14 retreat, held at Rhode Island College.

"We agreed unanimously," Kaiser said, that "we will hire a fulltime special ed director."

At that retreat they also discussed hiring two part-time employees, one of which will be the administrative assistant to the superintendent and the other will serve as a clerk to handle the burden of reporting data required by the state department of education, Kaiser said.

They also reported a decision from the retreat that Principal Kathy Almanzor will be located at the Lawn Avenue School and Assistant principal Mike Franco will take over as the building head at the Melrose Avenue School. Currently, the two spend a couple of days at each building, Kaiser said.

In other business, the School Committee:

+ Unanimously voted to accept the bid of food service provider Sodexho, who will become the schools' lunch vendor beginning in September.

Sodexho proposed a menu of healthy lunches that include such items as crustless chicken pot pie with a whole wheat roll, beef enchilada with Aztec corn and a Dijon Swiss burger. Each day's menu includes a tossed salad option and includes several sides like celery with dip, three bean salad, and fresh fruit.

Kaiser said that the menu prices will remain at $2 for the Melrose school and $3 for the Lawn school. She added that the price was "less than we would have paid at NK," had the school continued to use North Kingstown as their food vendor.

+ Recognized retiring teachers Susan Haskell and Pat Cook with a reception and bouquets of flowers. Proclamations were read honoring the teachers. Debbie Murphy, who was also recognized, was not able to attend the meeting.

+ Heard a second reading of the Reporting of Communicable, Environmental and Occupational Disease Policy, which outlines how the school nurse will notify members of the school community in the event of a serious outbreak.

+ Appointed David Dolce as the clerk of the school board, as required by the department of education.

+ Approved an amount of $5,500 to conduct a study of the town's pension system in terms of its continued viability looking toward the future.

+ Endorsed a grant application seeking some $500,000 in federal and state funds to provide bike trails, safe traffic patterns and improvements to the ball fields at the school campus. The plans for the activities are currently being drawn and the project is being spearheaded by the group called Rolling Agenda.

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