Superintendent of Schools Jeffrey Szymaniak told the School Committee that, during the government shutdown, affected parents with school-aged kids could be assured the district will do what it can to help.
“Please contact your principal,” Szymaniak said. “Our principals have been reaching out, seeing what we can do, but [families] might go unnoticed. Not everyone knows what mom and dad does for a living, but we are looking to make sure that if anybody is on furlough because of the shutdown, we’ll take care of the kids in the school.”
Szymaniak said that could mean efforts such as finding $10 to ensure a student can take part in a book fair.
“Those are the incidentals that, I’m afraid … they could miss out on because of the shutdown,” he said.
He said the shutdown has not yet affected services offered by the schools, but there has been concern noted in the national media over when the shutdown could start impacting school lunch programs.
The School Committee voted to extend contracts with S.J. Services for custodial work and the First Student bus contract after Business Services Director Christine Suckow, at the committee’s direction, sought reconsideration of price increases.
Both said no and the contracted hikes of 3.5-percent increases for fiscal 2020 and 2.5 percent for fiscal 2021. For S.J. Services it is 3 percent in 2020 and 2 percent in 2021.
Both contracts go out to bid again in two years.
food pantry donations
National Honor Society adviser Ellen Galambos and NHS President Katelyn Molito presented checks totaling $5,000 divided between the Whitman and Hanson food pantries raised at the annual Miles for Meals 5K last fall.
“Volunteers like Mrs. Galambos and the National Honor Society have been helping us for quite a few years now,” Bruce Perry of the Whitman Food Pantry said. “They do a tremendous job, they do 99.9 percent of the work. … They’re just phenomenal kids and we just can’t say enough about what they do for the food pantry and for the community as well.”
“You can be so proud of the kids in the school system, because we’ve had so many kids come through and help us rake and pack and unpack and collect donations — and raise funds through their fundraisers,” said Christine Cameron of the Hanson Food Pantry. “You can be real proud of these kids, they are part of our future.”