According to Kristina Rychlik, a member of the Acton Public and Acton-Boxborough Regional school committees, these monthly updates will be posted at ab.mec.edu.
The monthly updates are meant to keep community members up-to-date during a 'transitional year' in which committee members will work toward expanding the district to completely include both towns.
"The 2013-14 school year is what the School Committees in both Acton and Boxborough are calling a 'transitional year,' the year in which all the planning related to expanding our school district to include both Acton and Boxborough from Pre-K through grade 12 will occur," reads the first update's first paragraph.
Included in the initial edition are updates on transportation, intermunicipal agreements, the Blanchard principal search, the calendar, financial oversight and the superintendent search.
The September 2013 update is included in full below, and can be viewed at ab.mec.edu:
The 2013-14 school year is what the School Committees in both Acton and Boxborough are calling a “transitional year”, the year in which all the planning related to expanding our school district to include both Acton and Boxborough from Pre-K through grade 12 will occur. In order to keep both parents and other community members informed, the ABRSC and ABTSC has begun a monthly update of the issues being addressed that relate to this transition. If you have any comments or concerns regarding this update, please contact Kristina Rychlik at email@example.com.
JD Head, our Director of Facilities and Transportation, is working on a new transportation plan for next year. We are hoping to be able to transition the elementary schools to a “one-tier” schedule, meaning that all elementary schools in Acton and Boxborough would begin and end at the same time. If this were indeed doable, Acton elementary schools would no longer alternate as they do now on the current early/late schedule system. JD will be presenting this plan to the Regional School Committee at our meeting on October 3rd.
Both Acton and Boxborough have established groups to work with Superintendent Stephen Mills to develop intermunicipal agreements (IMAs) between the towns of Acton and Boxborough that relate to ownership of the school buildings and related issues. They are creating a legal document that specifies what the new district owns in terms of buildings, properties, assets, revolving accounts and how the current debt will be handled. For example, they will discuss access to Regional facilities for Town business such as Town Meetings and septic and other property issues. The groups negotiating for each town include Board of Selectmen, Board of Finance and School Committee members, as well as town officials and other community members as appropriate. The IMAs will be required by law when the full region is in effect on July 1, 2014.
Principal Search Process/Blanchard Elementary
Currently, Dr. Curtis Bates serves as both the Superintendent of Boxborough and the Principal of the Blanchard School. When the districts are fully regionalized, we will only require a principal at Blanchard, and the search has begun for a candidate to fill that position. The search committee will be facilitated by Marie Altieri, Director of Personnel and Administration for the Acton-Boxborough Regional School District, and includes six members of the Blanchard faculty and staff, four Blanchard parents and one Acton Elementary School Principal. Their hope is to make a decision by late December.
Calendar Review Process
As there are currently differences between the Acton and Boxborough school calendars, the School Committee has begun the process of evaluating our options for reconciling those differences, particularly in the area of religious holidays, start date for the first day of school, and Thursday schedule. An email survey was sent to parents via the school principals on Friday, September 20th, with responses due by 5 p.m. on Thursday, September 26th. Survey results will be discussed at the October 3rd Regional School Committee meeting, and the calendar will be voted on at the November 7th Regional School Committee meeting.
Financial Oversight Subcommittee Update
The ABRSC has convened a Financial Oversight Subcommittee. This subcommittee includes a Board of Selectmen, Finance Committee and Regional School Committee member from each town, as well as the Chair of the ABRSC. The subcommittee will convene four to five times per year to monitor the actual ABRSD budget relative to the projected financial benefits projected by the regional study committee. Their aim is to encourage the administration to take advantage of all identified financial benefits, look for additional efficiencies, and compile information on the financial benefits and efficiencies to share with the ABRSC, Boards of Selectmen, Finance Committees and community members.
ABRSD Superintendent Search Committee Update
Our School Superintendent, Dr. Stephen Mills, recently announced his retirement planned for the end of this school year. The School Committee has begun the process to find a new Superintendent and is looking for a few volunteers for the Search Committee. The Transitional School Committee has decided that the make up of the ABRSD Superintendent Search Committee will include:
· 1 Central Office member
· 3 School Committee members
· 1 Elementary Principal
· 1 Regional Principal
· 3 Teachers: 1 Region, 1 Blanchard, and 1 Acton Public
· 3 Parents: 1 Region, 1 Blanchard, and 1 Acton Public
· 2 Community members (one from each town)
If you are interested in serving on this Committee, please email a brief statement describing your background and why you would like to participate to one of the following:
· Maria Neyland, AB Regional School Committee Chair at firstname.lastname@example.org
· Dennis Bruce, Acton Public School Committee Chair at email@example.com
· Brigid Bieber, Boxborough School Committee Chair at firstname.lastname@example.org
This important commitment will require a significant number of late afternoon/evening meetings from late October through February. Emails must be received by noon on October 1st.