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Quality of Education Committee Minutes 12/13/2004


 December 13, 6:00 pm                                                53 Orchard Street
 Meeting Room, Town Hall                                             Raynham, MA  02767


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

Absent: Mary Hocking
Betty Thompson
Marie Smith, Chairman Finance Committee

Guest:          Mr. Jeffrey Granatino, Bridgewater-Raynham High School Principal.
The Chairman called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m.

John Donahue welcomed Mr. Granatino to the meeting.  He explained that the purpose of the committee is to compile information from various sources to help in creating a quality of education in Raynham.   He asked Mr. Granatino to be frank, open, honest and forthcoming with his answers.

Mr. Granatino thanked the committee for inviting him to speak.  He said that he was very optimistic and impressed with the people of Raynham.  He thanked the committee for all of their work and said it has had a positive effect on the school.   Mr. Granatino praised the students for their efforts and ideas during this crucial time.  Selectman Ray Platt commended Mr. Granatino for turning negative press into a real positive.

John Donahue asked about the building’s budget.  Mr. Granatino said that the budget was $132,397 and was a 30% reduction from a level funded budget.  Discussion followed.

Mr. Granatino discussed the courses at the high school.  He explained that the business courses have a high enrollment and that two business teachers have been brought back.  Art has been brought back even though there is no budget for it.  He discussed the athletic user fees and thanked the Friends of Raynham who have helped tremendously in their fund-raising efforts.  

Mr. Granatino said that we are out of compliance on many issues and that the state is holding us to a high degree of scrutiny.  Mr. Granatino wants to add more SPED teachers, increase Math, Foreign language and English.  He also would like to bring back creative writing, journalism and Latin.   Mr. Granatino said that he realizes this transition won’t be easy, and will need some flexibility.  The FY06 budget was discussed.  Mr. Granatino said that the budget would bring the courses back that were lost and would add what is needed to be in compliance on certain issues especially S.P.E.D. wise.  

On personnel, Mr. Granatino said 3-1/2 teachers are needed for next year in order to provide the necessary education above and beyond what was lost.  Mr. Granatino said he realizes the budget number is high but didn’t want to settle for less.  He wanted to push the issue and hopes to receive what he needs.  Mr. Granatino said he wants to improve the areas in math, foreign language, guidance and S.P.E.D.  At the very worst, he said he wanted to get back to where he was on July 29th of last year.  Regarding sport, he stated that the athletic director is responsible for the sports budget.  Mr. Granatino said that it was unfortunate that there will continue to be user fees, but his goal is to have more of a student friendly budget which would lessen the burden on the students and the parents.

Jeff said there are a lot of things that are working.  He has a wonderful group of social studies teachers.  He explained that there are three elective social studies courses available at present but only three options.  He wants to see the options expand across the board.  He also indicated that there should be at least one productive state-of-the-art computer lab so the students can be competitive with their peers.  He also wants more offerings for the students so they can continue to be challenged.

Mr. Granatino said he would like to see more outreach into the community, not just work study, but have the students do internships around the area.  He also said he would like to make community service more of a graduation requirement and build it into the curriculum.  Mr. Granatino said that he wants to build a well-rounded student that can read, write, think analytically and show community spirit and civic awareness.  

John T. asked Mr. Granatino about the teachers teaching five classes instead of four.  
Mr. Granatino said that the union approved this addition.  He also explained that the other teachers he is trying to get on board would allow us to go back to a full day and would exceed what we have.  He advised that they have added 14 sections of English in the second semester and would need 3 new teachers.  

Gordon asked Mr. Granatino what would happen if the proposal did not pass at the meeting.  Jeff said there is a schedule in place at this time but that we would still be deficient in physical education and S.P.E.D. requirements and that we would be out of the required 990.5 hours time-on-learning.  A positive vote would bring us closer to the state requirement.

Gordon asked Mr. Granatino about ramifications from the state.  Jeff advised that we are out of compliance with the state but that the state was giving us a chance to remedy the situation.  He said that if we don’t do anything, the state could hold all of the funds that come into the town until the schools get what they need to bring them up to the required level.  He explained that we have been given a written warning and that the state will be looking for an improved budget and not just a quick fix.  He felt that we might be put on probation.

John Donahue asked about the administration or lack thereof.  Jeff said he has two assistant principals but with the shortage of teachers it is difficult.  He stated that if he had the required staff, he could run the school comfortably with a principal and two assistant principals.  

When asked about guidance counselors, Mr. Granatino replied that he has four and the department chair.  He stated that with 1500 students and no adjustment counselor, the guidance counselors are taking on more roles.  With additional counselors, more time could be spent with the students. Gemma asked Mr. Granatino if he ever had an adjustment counselor.  Jeff replied no but that an adjustment counselor was another option for the children.  He also said there is an important need for a school psychologist.  

Gordon asked about the IT Director.  Jeff replied that there is one Technology Director who works the entire district maintaining the computers and servers and said that he also has a technology coordinator in the building.

Jeff was asked about a Resource Officer.  He explained that a resource officer was usually a grant-funded position and that he did not have one.  

John Donahue asked about security and security personnel in the building.  Discussion followed.

When asked about a librarian assistant, Mr. Granatino stated that he had a Librarian but no assistant.  He also stressed that the librarian’s resources were inadequate.
Mr. Garantino said that he had a district head nurse and a part-time nurse, but has since lost the part-time nurse position.  He was concerned that this could result in an unsafe situation.

Gordon asked Mr. Granatino if there was anything else that he felt was needed. Mr. Granatino replied that a school psychologist was essential and could free up S.P.E.D. teachers who are currently doing all of the testing.  

Sue asked about the Arts.  Jeff said that music was coming back and that he has one music teacher and one art teacher.  He also stated the program needs to be expanded.  He said he would also like to see photography added and have drama as part of the curriculum instead of a stand-alone at the end of the day.

He continued to say that every student has to be offered physical education so physical education is being considered even though there is no money for it right now.  

Ray Platt asked if some of the teachers that had been let go, would be called back. Jeff said that nothing definite has been set but there might be three coming back.  

Gordon asked Mr. Granatino if being in a regional school atmosphere he has seen any difference between Bridgewater and Raynham.  Jeff replied that he sees all students as one and does not differentiate.  He also said that he has not seen any separation between the students themselves.

John Thomas asked what effect the transferring students were having on B-R.  Jeff replied that the loss of the 40 students has caused loss of money, exceptional students and athletes.  He stated that it costs approximately $5,500 per student being sent to other institutions and that next year the loss of $200,000 would be felt.  When asked if he expected more students to leave, Jeff replied that the figure could double.  

Karen asked Mr. Granatino about the quality of the diploma.  Jeff assured her that the diplomas would be fine and that the current situation would not affect students applying to colleges.  He stated that the Department of Education would not take away anything from the seniors now as long as they meet the graduation and state requirements.

Mr. Granatino thanked the committee and departed at 7:30 p.m.

Karen discussed the surveys.  She advised that 420 responses have been received.
She distributed copies of the various surveys to the committee.

The committee agreed to compile a minimum of 10 questions for the district survey and would discuss them at the next meeting.  The next meeting was scheduled for Tuesday, December 28, 2004 at 6:00 p.m.

John Thomas motioned, Gemma seconded, unanimous vote by the committee to approve the minutes dated December 6, 2004.

Sue motioned, Gemma seconded, unanimous vote by the committee to adjourn meeting.  Meeting adjourned at 7:45 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Donna Guay,
Recording Secretary

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