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Raynham, Massachusetts.  Incorporated 1731

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Quality of Education Committee Minutes 10/11/2004


 October 11, 2004, 7:00 pm                                                   53 Orchard Street
 Meeting Room, Town Hall                                             Raynham, MA  02767


Present:        John Donahue, Chairman
                Gordon Luciano, Board of Assessors
                Marie Smith, Chairman Finance Committee
                Sue O’Brien, School Committee
                Tammy Perry, E.C.P.O.
                Gemma Kochan, L.P.O.
                Betty Thompson
                John Thomas
                Stephen Donahue
                Karen Crisafulli

Absent: Mary Hocking

Guest:          Jane McLaughlin, Representative at large

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m.

John Thomas motioned, Karen seconded, unanimous vote by the Committee to accept the minutes dated September 27, 2004 as written.

John Donahue introduced Bill Lewis, Chairman of the Board of Assessors and member of the High School Building Committee.  Bill discussed the ramifications that would be expected if Raynham and Bridgewater separated.  He stated that at this point in time, the land, architect and contractor have all been contracted and estimated that if the project was stopped, lawsuits totaling $5M to $15M would be expected.   Bill stressed that it would be impossible for us to separate either financially or legally at this point in time and that everything Bridgewater is currently doing is predicated on the fact that the high school goes through.  Sue agreed that there are many issues that need to be addressed but stopping the building would not be feasible.  She also added that even though we are in a low point in the economy we have to look ahead and see how we can rebuild.  John Donahue agreed that we should strive to get where we want to be.  He added that our goals cannot be met in the existing building and without physical plant we would not be able to provide the quality education we are striving for.  Raynham needs to bring the level of education back to where it was.  

Gordon discussed the Planning Committee in which he is a representative.  He advised that the committee is comprised of two representatives from Bridgewater and two from Raynham and that it’s function is to gather all of the pertinent information needed so that the financial committee can place a dollar value on it.  He stressed that the committee’s ultimate goal is to focus on an optimum education.  Marie said that she believes once all aspects have been investigated and evaluated, it will be determined that separation is not the way to proceed.  

Gordon discussed the current distrust in Bridgewater’s town government and the absence of their long-term plans.  He stated that Bridgewater is five years behind Raynham in planning but that recently there has been a turn towards new people getting involved in the town as well as long-term planning.  Sue concurred that there was a new breed of people becoming involved in Bridgewater.  John Thomas stated that there is nothing that shows us that Bridgewater will come together.  He said that Bridgewater will have to spend the same amount of money and asked if Raynham was going to fund enough or accept less.  Bill agreed that there is a shift towards more business and that we will see a change in attitude.  John Donahue added that when the report is received in March, we will have the answers.

John also commented that Bridgewater has to attract more business and industry and cannot depend solely on residential income.  Gordon stated that if Bridgewater starts planning now, they could by 2009, be at the level they want to be.  Sue added that we shouldn’t stop planning.

Karen discussed the school committee budget.  She said the budget is not broken down and there is no explanation of where the money goes.  Jane McLaughlin suggested that it would be helpful if the Board of Selectmen made this information available so it would dispel rumors or myths.

John Thomas asked Bill if there were escalation costs included in the contract for the high school.  Bill replied that there is a contingency line of 10%.  A brief discussion followed.  

Sue discussed last Monday’s meeting.   Sue advised that the groups for K-8 and 9-12 met and that there was a lot of information obtained from the members regarding facilities, class size, and types of programs. Steve created a master spreadsheet on information on MCAS results for each grade level test by district.  Only the towns of similar financial profiles will be included in the survey.  The format of the survey of discussed.

The MA DOE Average Teacher Salaries, School Finance – Direct Special Education Expenditures as a Percentage of School Budgets FY96 to FY03, FY2005 Eliminated Positions, MA DOE School Finance:  Statistical Comparisons – long-term trends in individual district’s grade PK to 12 enrollment and FY04 Regional Transportation Reimbursements was distributed for review.  Discussion followed.

Gordon discussed the state’s revised plan to fund the communities.  He said the new plan will reduce interest costs, help with the bond rating, and the money would be received more quickly.

The Committee agreed to meet on October 25, 2004 at 7:00 p.m.

Gordon motioned to adjourn meeting.  Sue seconded.  All present voted to adjourn meeting.  Meeting adjourned at 8:55 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Donna Guay,
Recording Secretary

Town of Raynham 558 South Main St., Raynham, MA 02767
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