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Negotiations on Teachers' Contract Continues

GDRHS's athletic director, Michael McCaffrey, made a presentation highlighting the boys' hockey team's recent accomplishments at Groton-Dunstable Regional School District's school committee meeting of March 27. Team captains presented their Division 3A State Championship trophy from a 4-3 win over South Hadley. In addition to their many recent wins, McCaffrey relayed the hockey team's involvement in community service work for Loaves & Fishes and fundraising efforts for Sgt. William J. Woitowicz scholarship and Toys for Tots.

A concussion policy which was under the policy subcommittee's review for several months and approved by McCaffrey and the school nurse was approved unanimously for 2012 student handbook. Detailed in the policy is student athlete's individualized return to play protocol which must be supervised by either a physician or Athletic Trainer Certified (ATC).

Teachers' Contract Negotiations

School committee member Jon Sjoberg spoke about personnel and negotiation subcommittee's work including an Interim Superintendent of Schools search process. A March 15 GDRSD press release commended current Superintendent Joseph Mastrocola, who pledged transition period support prior to starting his superintendent of Peabody public schools position. Resumés received by the April 20 deadline will be discussed in open sessions. All candidates will be asked 13 questions currently under review. Negotiations regarding the contract with the teachers' union continue, and creation of a stabilization fund is pending town meeting approval from both Dunstable and Groton.

Massachusetts has proposed addition to teacher contracts of new language for teacher evaluations. Amendments to the proposal to be completed by September 1 can be suggested. One procedural change suggested by the state is for electronic (email) feedback from observational visits by evaluators in order to ensure traceability.

Financial Audit

Karen Snow of Melanson, Heath & Co. of Andover, presented a brief overview of a detailed financial audit for GDRSD for FY11 (ending June 30, 2011) and stated the financials are materially correct. The report's nine recommendations, four of which are for status of prior year and remainder for the current year, are not considered to be "material weaknesses." Snow focused on general fund revenues, stating that there was a large variance between budgeted and transferred amounts and that the district spent $1.2 million less than budgeted for. Expenditures have been kept in line in tough economic times, but Snow encouraged the district to record transfers as budgeted to keep the budget balanced. An athletic revolving fund deficit was noted; fees should always cover the fund, but some expenses could be charged to the general fund. Other recommendations include improvements in controls over student activity funds and charging program-related expenditures directly to Early Learning Center revolving fund.

Curriculum and instruction committee's report card committee is researching a new format which would focus vertically on curriculum, align more closely with AEL's (Areas of Essential Learning) and result in lengthier student progress reports. A vertical focus would ensure that what is taught in earlier grade levels properly prepares students for curriculums in later grade levels and transitions between elementary to middle and middle to high schools.

Superintendent Mastrocola congratulated the class of 2012 for the long and impressive list of college acceptances and thanked teachers for their work in preparing students.

Friday, April 13, 4-H's second annual "Purple Up! For Military Kids" will be honored as part of the nation's "Month of the Military Child." Purple can be worn voluntarily in support of all military branches and youth impacted by deployment.

Groton Herald

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