With the 2015-16 school year beginning today (Aug. 27), the School Committee on Wednesday, Aug. 19 heard an update on summer programs and building repair work.
In addition to special education extended year program, there were enrichment programs and specialized camps that were very busy, administrators said.
Buildings were also a focus of summer projects.
Indian Head School roof repairs are almost finished and the fence has been removed, according to Facilities Director Ernest Sandland.
“The contractor who did that job has done an excellent job,” he said. “The area’s been cleaned, we’ve had no problems with vandalism over there. Whatever they did, I think they did a quality job.”
He expected the Indian Head cafeteria floor to be finished by Monday, Aug. 24. A new hot water heater has also been installed in a new location.
Hanson Middle School repairs to damage caused by a clogged waste pipe on April 13 are nearing completion. Classrooms have been painted and a second-floor window replaced.
“We’re in pretty good shape right now,” said Sandland. “We added eight rooms … where tile had to be removed and new tile had to be put in.”
Affected bathroom walls had to be cut out two feet up from the floor and replaced.
“It was a significant project,” he said.
Hanson voters will be asked at special Town Meeting on Monday, Oct. 5 to vote on a $79,841 reimbursement to the district to pay for the portion of the $179,841 price tag not covered by insurance.
“This was not a septic tank backup issue,” Committee Chairman Bob Hayes said. “This was a clogged pipe and had nothing to do with the system being in failure, because I had that question asked and wanted to make that clear.”
The committee voted to accept the article as well as one in which Hanson would reimburse the district for its share of the cost — 41.7 percent, or $12,100 — for a new hot water heater at the high school.
Whitman schools, too, have seen repairs.
Damage caused by ice dams last winter at Duval Elementary School have been done with the district liable only for the $5,000 deductable.
At Whitman Middle School, “there was a lot of work done, with a lot more to be done,” Sandland said. The gym roof, for example, must still be addressed. But science tables that were fixed to the floor on one classroom were removed — including work on plumbing and gas pipes — with leveling and tiling the floor left to do.
Painting and carpet replacement at Conley Elementary School was on schedule to be completed for the school opener.
The School Committee, meanwhile, is weighing a food services policy revision aimed at further reducing student borrowing for meals, while ensuring all children in need receive adequate food.
Food Services Director Maureen McKenzie requested the policy revision Aug. 19, which will be acted on at the committee’s September meeting.
“Food Service is a self-supporting department,” McKenzie said of the program funded by federal and state money. Last year they declared there would be no borrowing, but she said she’d like to see a change to permit all students the opportunity to borrow for one lunch. Once it is paid back they can borrow again.
“But if we find if the kids build up five borrows, I’d like to approach the principals to put them on personal hardship and get them on the free and reduced program automatically,” she said. “They shouldn’t worry about eating.”
There would be no visible changes to students’ ID card.
Parents receive an email and phone call each time a student borrows, so families are aware of the situation, McKenzie said.
The district is otherwise responsible for unpaid borrowing for lunches — a bill that has reached as much as $34,000 in some districts.