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School Short Takes: Swallow Union, Budgeting, Policies

Swallow Union School Recognized 
     School Committee Chair Marlena Gilbert noted in her monthly newsletter that the Swallow Union School in Dunstable has been recognized by the state as a “School of Recognition.” This distinction was given by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to the Swallow Union School for high achievement by third and fourth grade students on the MCAS exam. This is the second consecutive year that the Swallow Union School received the distinction. The School Committee will receive a full report on the District’s MCAS scores at their meeting on Oct. 23.
• Groton Budget Group Begins Early Work on Fiscal 2021 School Budget.
     The Groton Budget Group is a Tri-Board group made up of members of the Groton Selectboard, the Groton- Dunstable Regional School Committee and the Groton’s Finance Committee. Members include Marlena Gilbert (School Committee), Alison Manugian (Selectboard). Groton Town Manager Mark Haddad, School Superintendent Laura Chesson, Groton-Dunstable Business and Finance Director Sherry Kersey and FinCom member Bud Robertson. The group’s focus is the fiscal 2021 budget for the Groton-Dunstable School District as it is developed in conjunction with the town’s fiscal 2021 budget. Early projections indicate a deficit of $491,000 for the school budget. As the budgeting process for the schools and town moves forward during the fall and into the winter, that number is likely to change.
• Minor Changes Recommended for Several School District Policies.
     The School Committee’s Subcommittee on school policies reviewed several policies and recommended minor changes to several policies. The policy changes which the Subcommittee will recommend to the full School Committee include Student Gifts (Encouraging classroom gifts while discouraging individual gifts to teachers), School Committee Ethics (Requiring that School Committee members read and sign off on ethical requirements) and School Committee/ Superintendent Relationship (Emphasize further the role of the School Committee in providing direction and oversight to the district while empowering the Superintendent to handle day- to-day school operations). The Subcommittee made no recommendation on the School District Wellness Program Policy and will present that policy to the full School Committee.
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