HANOVER — The South Shore Regional School District Committee on Wednesday, April 15 voted to increase this fiscal year’s budget by $310,620 by drawing from excess and deficiency funds as well as savings, to pay for the district’s share of the cost to replace the original 1962 boiler, projected to cost $663,708.
With the increase, this fiscal year’s budget is now $12,032,803.
The measure will not increase this year’s or next year’s assessments to the towns, according to Superintendent-Director Thomas Hickey said.
The Massachusetts School Building Authority will reimburse the school district for 54.16 percent of the project’s costs.
On March 25, the MSBA approved $12,699,614 in Accelerated Repair Program grants for 12 school districts, including SSVT.
The budget amendment is subject to Town Meeting action within 45 days of the vote. If there is no Town Meeting action, the measure is deemed passed.
School Committee Chairman Robert Molla of Norwell asked committee members to contact their towns’ administration and selectmen, and urge the boards to pledge, at their next meetings, to take no action on calling for a Town Meeting vote. That way, Molla said, work on the project can start in July, during summer vacation.
Hickey said the district has also submitted a statement of interest to the MSBA as part of its Core Program. The statement is like a pre-application, and tells the school building authority that SSVT has a well-maintained but aging building that needs more space for its vocational programs, science labs and weight room. If invited into the program, the district would need to secure funds for a feasibility study. The district will not likely hear back from the MSBA on the statement of interest until the fall, he said.
Hickey also reported that, by the time the School Committee meets on May 20, seven of the district’s eight towns will have voted on South Shore assessments for the next fiscal year. The School Committee has proposed a $12,103,154 budget for fiscal 2016, which starts July 1.
Hanson’s assessment would increase by $73,724 or 9.53 percent to $847,339. The assessment to Whitman would increase by $4,470 or 0.38 percent to $1,193,557.
Scituate’s Town Meeting on Monday, April 13 voted to support the assessment, he said.
Hickey, District Treasurer-Secretary James Coughlin and School Committee member Adele Leonard of Abington met with the Abington Finance Committee to discuss SSVT’s budget and assessment on March 25 and the meeting went well, Hickey said.
There will be five Town Meetings on “Super Monday,” May 4, in Hanover, Hanson, Norwell, Rockland and Whitman. Cohasett Town Meeting is on Saturday May 2, he said.
Coughlin said the House Ways and Means budget for the next fiscal year does not touch the state Chapter 70 state aid number for SSVT as outlined in the governor’s budget, a slight increase over this year. The House budget increases the regional transportation numbers for SSVT by $50,000 over the governor’s budget. Coughlin said the district budget for next fiscal year was based on numbers in the governor’s budget.
“We’re in good shape,” he said.
School Committee member John T. Manning of Scituate said Scituate voters praised SSVT’s budget presentation at Town Meeting.
PARCC test tested
Principal Margaret Dutch said SSVT was piloting the PARCC test last week, a computer-based exam that one day might replace the MCAS exam as the high-stakes test all Massachusetts students must pass in order to graduate.
For now, SSVT students and teachers are testing the test and the school’s ability to administer computer tests. Students will be asked about what they think about the new PARCC exams.
“It’s an interesting study of an assessment. … It’s new,” she said. “This is not a high-stakes test.”
MCAS is the important test they need to pass in order to get diplomas, she said.
Hickey said the state Board of Education would vote this fall whether to replace MCAS with PARCC.
School Committee member Daniel Salvucci of Whitman said there are citizen’s petitions on Town Meeting warrant articles in Whitman and Hanson to oppose to Common Core and PARCC.
If questioned about SSVT’s use of PARCC, Salvucci said he would respond by saying that the district is simply trying it out to know what to expect if the state forces them to do it.
“We are trying it so we are not surprised if it’s implemented in the school system, so we know what it’s all about,” he said.
Justin Robertson, a senior carpentry student from Hanson, was recognized as South Shore Vocational Technical High School student of the month.
Director of Guidance and Admissions Mike Janicki praised Robertson for his leadership. Robertson is now working on site, takes initiative, people look up to him, and he is seeking more opportunities.
“Justin Robertson, by all accounts, has been a success story of South Shore Vocational Technical,” Janicki told School Committee members.