2012-05-03 / News

Vandals hit Lawn Avenue School

Superintendent Marcia Lukon briefed School Committee members of some grim news that happened at Lawn Avenue School over April vacation. Lukon told the School Committee at its April 26 meeting that two young adults vandalized the school and that a lot of damage was done.

On April 17, two 18-year-old males – one from North Kingstown and one from Jamestown – were arrested by Jamestown police and charged with seven counts of vandalism and two counts of breaking and entering. Lukon said that it was the first time this has happened since she has been superintendent.

Along with damaging the security code box, Lukon said the two men also spray-painted the roof and exterior windows. She added that the time needed to repair the damage amounted to about 40 hours of labor.

On the bright side, she said the alarm did work, which led to the two men being apprehended.

Lukon also reported on a visit from federal Department of Education representatives who are monitoring the state’s use of Race to the Top grant money. Race to the Top is a national contest that was established in 2009 by the federal government to encourage innovation and reforms in local education. The majority of Rhode Island municipalities – Jamestown included – qualified for the funds. Lukon said she was pleased to note that feedback from the Jamestown School Department as a full-implementation district has contributed to revisions to the state Department of Education’s evaluation system.

Staying on the subject of Race to the Top, both principals said that they recently completed training required by RIDE that focuses on components of the U.S. program. Melrose Avenue School Principal Carole Melucci and Lawn Avenue School Principal Kathy Almanzor also said that they met with Phyllis Lynch of the education department and the three mapped out a two-year timeline for professional development.

In other news, committee member Julia Held, liaison to the North Kingstown School Committee, said that the N.K. board discussed a compliance review at its latest meeting. The report recommended that North Kingstown renegotiate with Jamestown to establish a policy where the island would pay for a projected number of students. If that number were to be wrong, a credit would be issued in the subsequent year if the projection exceeds actual enrollment. According to Held, such a policy would facilitate North Kingstown’s budgeting, but not necessarily Jamestown’s.

Also, the committee reviewed a request from the Rotary Club to waive the fee for the use of Melrose Avenue School. The Rotary Club will hold its annual May Breakfast at the building on Saturday, May 5, from 7 to 10 a.m. The Rotary Club said in its request that it understood the need pay for janitors, but thought the building fee was arbitrary. It also mentioned the charge would cut into its proceeds.

The School Committee voted unanimously to approve a response drafted by Chairwoman Cathy Kaiser explaining the reason for the fee. Kaiser said that the building-use policy had been revised to make sure that costs association with the use of the schools by an organization do not fall to the School Department.

In other news, the committee reviewed a letter from the Jamestown Teachers Association requesting a job fair. Lukon said that last year’s job fair was successful and could be repeated. Also, Aramark, the food-service provider, reported that cafeteria costs remain in the black, with a year-todate profit of $3,443.

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