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School Committee Meeting/ Budget Public Hearing – January 21, 2015

In Sandwich, we are very lucky to have Sandwich Community Television broadcast and archive the video of many of our public Boards and Committees.  The meetings are long and complex, and a variety of important topics are discussed.  This article includes a link to the January 21, 2015 School Committee and a guide to its topics.

The January 7, 2015 School Committee meeting, with a guide to different parts of the meeting was previously published on Sandwich Learns Together herethe January 14, 2015 School Committee meeting was published here. The January 7th and 14th meetings were Budget Workshops and included the Finance Committee at the table to ask questions about the proposed Superintendent’s Budget.

Click here  for the January 21, 2015 Meeting and Public Hearing; a guide to different parts of the meeting is below.

Please note that, due to the blizzard, the scheduled January 28, 2015 was not held. The next meeting is Wednesday, Febraury 4, 2015 and will include the School Committee’s vote on the budget. You may watch the meeting live on Sandwich Community Television, Channel 14; watch it  live-streamed @ or watch the video when it is posted at Sandwich Community Television following the meeting

January 21, 2015 School Committee Meeting

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@1:25  After the Call to Order and Pledge, SC Chair Travis Andrade made a request for flexibility, pointing out that the room was at capacity and there were overflow attendees in the library. He suggested that once someone spoke, they can move over to the library to let others into the room.

  • Announcement about Marie Kangas’s resignation and appreciation for her service to the community via work on the School Committee


@3:28 Opening of Public Forum; the Public Hearing which is specifically about the Budget will come later in the meeting

During Public Forum – the following topics were addressed, many by multiple speakers:

  • Concerns about Power School
  • Concerns about the Warrant ArticlesJan_21_Parent_-_Public_Forum copy
  • Concerns about the Timeline
  • Concerns about the Memorandum of Understanding regarding maintenance of Wing in reference to summer programs held at Wing
  • Request for a new motion to postpone the reconfiguration
  • Concern about Warrant Articles not passingJan_21_Public_Forum_#2 copy

(Ed Note: Please see the following articles on Sandwich Learns Together, with the answers to many of the questions raised during Public Forum. Q+A About the Budget; Q+A about Renovations; Q+A about Wing; Information in Response to Questions)

 Superintendent’s Report

@ 28:08 Dr. Canfield: Concerns have been heard, will be addressed on Sandwich Learns Together

Dr. Canfield, Superintendent and Bud Dunham, Town Manager, discussed the Memorandum of Understanding between SPS and the Town

  • Insure maintenance of the Wing Building
  • On March 27, 2014, the School Committee made a motion and voted to direct the superintendent to work with School Committee counsel and the Board of Selectmen to address vacating by August 2015.
  • The MOU needs to be voted on by the School Committee and signed.
  • The presentation is tonight; the vote will be at a subsequent meeting.

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@33:19 Mr. Dunham explained the timeline:  The formal vote to transfer the “Care, Custody and Control” of Wing to the Town will be taken at a Town Meeting at a later date.

  • The report from the Architectural and feasibility study will be presented to BOS at the end of the summer
  • There are economies of scale to consider – the town is not in a position to take on Wing – they have two custodial staff members and no experience with the complicated Wing Building
  • Estimated costs for taking care of Wing during 2015-2016: $245,000
    • Salary line is for partial payment toward salaries to maintain:
      • Fields
      • HVAC
      • Supervisor
      • Custodial

(Ed. Note: There is a comprehensive breakdown of the expenses for maintaining Wing for the first year here.)

  • The fields will continue to be used by Sandwich children. The funds collected through the “Facilities Use” will go back into maintenance of the fields and of the spaces to be used (cafeteria, gym, multi-purpose room)
  • There were questions raised about School Committee involvement in finding the re-use for the school. Dunham said that Alan Hall will be part of the Feasibility Study Team
  • The MOU goes to the BOS after it is signed by the SC

@48:00 Mr. Dunham explained Articles 1 & 2, to come before the Special Town Meeting on Monday, Feb 9, 2015

$350,000 of the total amount in the two articles combined is based on moving coasts and renovations, including bathroom renovations for our Pre-School and Spinnaker.  The additional costs (bringing the total to $415,000) is for additional bathroom renovations and enhancements and safety enhancements recommended by the Joint Safety Task Force.

Further information and a clarification regarding the total costs of moving and renovations is published in Sandwich Learns Together here.

@ 59:00 School Committee discussion regarding the MOU:

  • Questions were raised and discussed about the date on the MOU regarding when Wing would be vacated – the school department needs to continue to use the Wing for Summer Programs through August 2105Jan_21_SC_-_JD_asking_questions copy
  • Discussion about what happens if there is a catastrophic problem/extraordinary needs
  • Questions about the $245,000 for Wing maintenance being in the operational budget
  • Further questions and comments regarding the MOU

@ 87:36 (1 hour, 27.36 minutes) Dr. Canfield continued the Report of the Superintendent

  • There is a new security/I.D. system in place at the schools
  • Visitor provides their drivers license to the school secretary; a picture ID is generated as a sticker for the visitor to wear while in the building
  • A reminder that the committee needs to start thinking about the 2015-2015 School Calendar
  • There will be a return to the three tier system of transportation/three different start end times
  • We need 45 minutes between bus runs and the latest the school day can begin is 9:00am.

@ 92:30 (1 hours, 32.30 minutes) The Public Hearing regarding the Budget opened

The Public Hearing featured interactive conversation – questions and concerns from parents with responses and further discussion among School Committee members and the SPS Administrative Team

Jan_21_Budget_Hearing copyPlease go to the video for this section of the meeting. Listing the topics and the responses or paraphrasing the remarks of the prepared and articulate parents would not provide a clear picture of this section of the meeting, which was very interactive. 




@175:24 (2 hours, 55.24 minutes) Mr Dunham explained the Warrant Articles

@184:46 (3 hours, 4.46 minutes) the meeting continued with the following topics

  • Model UN Field Trip approval
  • Idea of pursuing funding opportunities for new playgrounds at Oak Ridge and Forestdale
  • Donations
  • An announcement regarding the Feb 11th School Committee meeting
    • To be held at Town Hall
    • Will feature a presentation from the STEM Science Advisory Board regarding opportunities to enhance opportunities for SPS students, K-12