With their budget goals for fiscal year 2013 already announced, the Winthrop School Committee will meet Thursday night to review the findings of Superintendent’s John Macero’s School Entry Plan and hear his recommendations for moving the school district forward over the next several years.
Essentially, the School Entry Plan is a report by the new superintendent on the state of the schools, as he sees it, since starting in the district last July.
“The entry plan really encompasses my assessment of the district since I started and my recommendations for addressing any areas of need,” explained Macero on Monday.
In addition, to visiting each school and hosting dozens of meetings with parents, teachers, students and community and business members, Macero also undertook a large data collection effort to check on district MCAS, SAT and ACT scores, student performance measures over a period of years and other measures for identifying the school district’s strengths and weaknesses.
“I also had the added benefit of a state education district audit that was conducted this year, so I was able to get copies of all of the information we provided to the state as well, and though the state’s report won’t be ready in time to be included in my report out, I expect that a lot of the areas of need that I identified in my entry plan will be the same areas that the department of education will refer to when their report is finalized later this year,” said Macero.
Aside from the School Entry Plan, Macero said the school committee will also again take up some discussion about its request to the town for a level-serviced budget in the coming year.
“I don’t expect to go into too much detail, unless the committee wants to do that,” said Macero.
Given the fiscal realities of the coming year, Macero noted that the district is not sure if the town will be able to meet its request for a level-serviced budget, but that discussions about programs and cost-savings will come once the town is able to give the school district a realistic estimate of what the funding level is likely to be in FY 2013.
“That is, I think, when we would get into details about the budget and discussions about what we might need to do to save money and protect programs,” said Macero. “We won’t know that until the Town Manager is able to give us what he thinks the funding amount is going to be.”
Three Winthrop schools looking into extended day program
Macero also noted that three of the town’s four schools currently have committees formed to look into the possibility of applying for a state Extended Day Learning Center grant.
Each of the committees has a deadline of May 19, by which time they have to have a completed grant application, as well as an agreement in place with the school unions that would allow the district to accept funding and implement an extended day program if an application is successful.
Macero said that he is pleased that three of the schools have begun the process to look at the program, and said he would be willing to support applications by all three schools, if all three school communities decide they are interested in the program.
“It is a competitive grant program between all of the schools, not by district, so having three applications wouldn’t preclude one school from receiving a grant,” said Macero.
A survey, which would be used to help school communities decide whether or not to apply for the grant is going to be available on the school department’s website for the next two weeks and can also be obtained in hard copy as well. Parents, teachers and students in grades 6 through 12 are welcome to complete the survey, if they are able to answer questions about the potential impact of the “reconfigured school day” on their school’s environment.