2010-01-28 / News

School Committee considers dropping statewide transportation program

By Eileen M. Daly

During last Thursday’s School Committee meeting, Superintendent Marcia Lukon reported that the latest estimates by the R.I. Dept. of Education indicate that Jamestown’s participation in the statewide transportation system will not save the town money and, in fact, will cost the district money.

Because Narragansett and North Kingstown are not participating in the state system, the state is unable to replicate the savings Jamestown achieved in collaborating with those two towns on out-of-district bus runs, Lukon said.

Moreover, she said, the service provided by the statewide system has not been satisfactory.

Lukon said that RIDE has alluded to plans to make districts that lose money in the statewide transportation system “whole,” but the details of that plan have not been released.

Due to these difficulties, Lukon, with the consent of the school committee, will consult with RIDE to explore the possibility of withdrawing Jamestown’s participation in the program.

In other business:

• The committee approved the proposed changes to the current North Kingstown tuition contract by unanimous vote. Those changes include language clarifications and the addition of a rollover clause. School Committee Chairperson Cathy Kaiser explained that the rollover clause is not related in any way to the recent High School Review Committee report, but that it reflects a clarification of language pertinent to a facet of the contract that has long been in place.

• The committee approved the appointment of Lisa Kerr as Lawn drama coach and accepted the resignation of fourth-grade teacher Chris Kent, who has been on a leave of absence.

• Principals Kathy Almanzor and Carole Melucci reported on activities at the two schools, including presentations by Island Moving Company and Marvelous Marvin: The Magic of Science.

• Two “Smart Boards” were installed in the grade six science and math classrooms during the December vacation. SAMS Project Manager Furhana DiBiase conducted a training session for the grade six teachers.

• The Weather Bug station was installed over the seventh- and eighth-grade science classroom and a digital monitor was installed in the classroom. All teachers in both schools will have access to the lessons posted on the Weather Bug website. Visit www.weatherbug. com to access local weather reports.

• Committee member Julie Kallfelz added to the Wellness report by updating the committee on plans to complete the walking trails, fitness trail and phase one of the Lawn Avenue playground this summer. Kallfelz said the archaeologists and engineers have started to lay out the bike and walking paths, and to map out where excavation is needed in anticipation of this summer’s opening. Phase one of the Lawn Avenue playground will include the installation of climbing boulders and climbing arches, Kallfelz said.

The Jamestown School Committee will hold budget workshops on Jan. 28, Feb. 4 and Feb. 11. All meetings are held at 7 p.m. in the Lawn Avenue School library.

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