The Reading School Committee (SC) is meeting on April 6, 2023. The meeting is being held at 7pm at the Reading Memorial High School (RMHS) library and will be broadcast by RCTV and also will be accessible via zoom. Links to watch are listed below, along with selected images from the packet and agenda.
Main things to know for tonight’s meeting:
— Finance Director Susan Bottan is leaving at the end of June (see further explanation below – she is returning to former district to help provide stability amidst serious financial and leadership challenges) (packet p. 18-20).
— The SC is slated to vote for the last day of school to be Friday June 16, 2023 (packet p. 21)
— The SC meeting includes an executive session from approximately 7:45-8:45 pm, relating to preparations for negotiations/contract negotiations with either nonunion personnel or collective bargaining (the exec session purpose says it could be either), and also for collective bargaining “or” litigation (exec session purpose says it could be either) (no info in packet)
— The SC will discuss and vote, in open session, on a contract extension for the superintendent (this takes place after the executive session, where it appears that this will be discussed)(no info in packet)
— Projected kindergarten enrollment for next year is 283 students, up 7 from the project ion of 276. Out of this number, there are only 4 requests for half day kindergarten (packet p 13-14).
— An audit of the various student activity accounts shows tens of thousands of dollars in inactive student activity accounts (SAAs), with most of this being class accounts for past graduating classes. The audit recommends that the SC vote to approve active SAAs, close certain inactive SAAs, and move the funds from inactive SAAs to cover any shortfalls in active SAAs and put remainder in a “Student Assistance Account (packet p. 27-50).
— The state has approved our Innovation Career Pathways in Information and Manufacturing (packet p. 16). According to the RMHS program of studies (POS) for 2023-24, the “Information” pathway relates to what the POS calls the Digital Media and Computer Science concentrations, and the “Manufacturing” pathway refers to what the POS calls Engineering concentration.
— The SC will vote on granting a past RMHS student and Korean War veteran, Richard Carlson, a diploma (packet pages 21-26)
— A private foundation established by MIT professor Jae S. Lim, is providing RPS with $3000 to give an award of $1000 each to two RMHS juniors who excel in math and science (criteria to be developed by Principal Tracy and Director of Academic Achievement Callanan) (p. 9 of packet).
MORE ON FINANCE DIRECTOR LEAVING
As the letter at page 19 of the packet explains, Ms. Bottan is returning to Wayland, the previous district where she worked for 7 years prior Reading, to help with what she refers to as “serious organizational and financial instability facing Wayland” public schools at this time. Indeed, there are news reports that their newly hired superintendent was recently put on leave, he is suing the school district, and additionally multiple administrators apparently are leaving that district (see https://patch.com/massachusetts/wayland/wayland-superintendent-easy-leave-after-3-administrators-leave ). Ms Bottan states that she feels she is “uniquely qualified to help Wayland interim leaders ‘right the ship’ as they work towards developing a more permanent leadership team”. The packet includes at pages 18 and 20 information about formation of a screening committee for a search for a new finance director.
Speaking personally, having seen Ms. Bottan in action both at school committee and finance committee meetings, she seems to have done a great job in our district, and I am very sorry to see her leaving.
HOW TO WATCH THIS MEETING
The RCTV YouTube live stream link to watch the meeting is here:
You can also watch via Xfinity channel 99 or Verizon channel 32.
You can join the meeting (or watch) via the Zoom link here:
Meeting ID: 836 5702 1146
One tap mobile +16469313860,,83657021146# US