NORTHAMPTON SCHOOL COMMITTEE
December 11, 2003
THE REGULAR MONTHLY MEETING OF THE NORTHAMPTON SCHOOL
COMMITTEE WAS HELD IN THE MARK E. WARNER COMMUNITY ROOM AT J.F.K.
Meeting was called to order at 7:15 following an executive session. Present were Mayor Higgins,
Chairperson, and Members Courtney, Gilson, Hartry, Hunter, Kotz, Miller, Minnick, Montgomery,
Pick, and Ms. Sadowski Representative of the Student Advisory Committee. Also present were Mr.
Misterka, and Superintendent Cosgriff.
1) PUBLIC SESSION
• Mr. Brett Jacobus and Mr. Michael Diemand presented a Certificate of Appreciation to staff member,
Mr. Michael Sweeney, for his dedication and hard work while acting as head custodian at
Northampton High School.
• Ms. Hunter reminded Committee members as well as the public about the upcoming 350th birthday
events who will be taking place in town. She handed out a list of activities that will be taking place
throughout the fall and winter. (See Handouts)
• Ms. Minnick – Vice Chair of the School Committee took a moment to acknowledge two Committee
members that are concluding their term of service. Dr. Ann Courtney and Joanne Montgomery will
both be leaving in January, making this their last official Full Board Meeting. Each was presented
with a plaque thanking them for their years of service to the Committee and Students in Northampton.
(See attached statement)
3) RECOMMENDED ACTIONS:
• School Committee Meeting Minutes were unanimously approved for Meetings Held
• October 9, 2003
• November 24, 2003 (pending changes)
• Curriculum Sub-Committee Meeting November 18, 2003
4) REPORTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
1. VOTE: Acceptance of Gifts
• Rick Feldman from Northampton Education Foundation and Support our Schools (NEF/ SOS)
presented a check for $18,818 to The School Committee. (See attached outline of distribution)
Ms. Minnick moved to accept the gifts, seconded by Ms. Pick. The School Committee
unanimously accepted the gift. Several Committee members spoke about the great work that
NEF/SOS has done and also thanked the community for generous donations that were collected.
Mr. Feldman explained that this money was collected / donated from the tax rebate/credit checks
that went out in the fall.
• The distribution was divided based on enrollment numbers for each school
a. High School 32% $6,021.76
b. JFK Middle 25% 4,704.50
c. Bridge Street 10% 1,881.80
d. RK Finn Ryan Road 10% 1,881.80
e. Jackson Street 10% 1,881.80
f. Leeds 10% 1,881.80
g. Smith Vocational 3% 564.54
• Mr. Cosgriff presented the Committee with a letter that was sent by Mr. Dornbush to Wal-Mart
thanking them for donated computers. These computers, which were returned to the store and
donated to the schools, are in need of minor repairs but perfectly functioning. Mr. Dornbush will
handle distribution between the schools.
2. REPORT: Update on Food Service Department
• At the November 24, 2003 meeting the Committee asked for a report from the Food Service
Department on the status of irradiated meat being delivered to the schools through the USDA
Food Programs. Massachusetts has denied acceptance of any of the meat in question.
Northampton did not have to specifically make a request on this issue since the state has already
made a recommendation not to use irradiated meat in schools. Also raised was the topic of
genetically altered food. Ms. DiMauro’s report noted that most commonly altered foods are corn,
soybeans and canola oil. Persons most likely to have a high exposure to these items are those that
follow a vegetarian diet.
3. FY’ 04
a) Business Manager Position - Mr. Cosgriff asked the Committee to approve a salary range
of $66,000 - $79,000 for the Business Manager position. The funding for this position will
come from moneys freed from Mr. Misterka’s salary while he is working on the audits of
J.F.K. Middle School as well as the High School. There are also funds available from the
Grants Manager position, which has been vacant since the beginning of the year. Motion
b) User Support Specialist - Mr. Cosgriff disseminated a job description for the User Support
Specialist. This position will be housed in MIS, and dispatched by MIS but will work
primarily for the School Department. Mr. Cosgriff answered questions from the Committee
about the organization of the MIS / IT department within the schools and how this position
fit. This position will be funded through removing the cost of out-sourcing the work
previously done by consultants. Moved for approval by Ms. Minnick, seconded by Ms.
Montgomery, motion carried unanimously.
c) School Choice Funds – Mr. Cosgriff presented an updated spreadsheet outlining the division
and utilization of FY’03 School Choice funds. (See Attached) While there was some concern
of the timeliness of the spreadsheet, the information was the same as what was voted on at the
Budget and Property Sub Committee meeting on September 30, 2003. The only differences
were the inclusion of new votes, which have taken place since that meeting. Specifically the
amount of 10,000 was inserted under the line items for school furniture, 4 elementary PE
Teachers, which were voted on at the October 9 meeting, and full time High School teacher
for the second semester. Instruction. Mr. Misterka also highlighted that there is still a reserve
fund of approximately 250,000, the amount may fluctuate slightly depending on actual end
amounts paid to other line items. It was moved by Dr. Kotz and seconded by Ms. Hartry to
approve the use of School Choice funds. Motion passed, with Ms. Hunter and Dr. Courtney
voting in the negative.
4. Superintendent’s Report
a) Personnel Report - Mr. Cosgriff presented the Personnel Report with an addendum to
outline the vacant positions in each school as well as district wide vacancies. (See Attached).
b) Student Representative, Katherine Sadowski, reported on activities and happenings related to
the student body of Northampton High School.
o Rescheduled from December 6, at 12:30 in Worcester, the Northampton High School
Football Team will be competing in the Division I Superbowl on Saturday, December
13, 2003. There will be a fan bus leaving from the High School for those who want
to support the team.
o There will be a blood drive taking place at the High School on Friday, December 12.
If you meet the basic height and weight requirements you are encouraged to take part.
o The first ever battle of the bands is scheduled to take place on January 16th.
c) Update - The Grant Coordinator position has been offered and accepted and the new hire
should be complete by January.
5) TRANSPORTATION POLICY
a) Mr. Misterka presented the Transportation Policy with the changes that have been mandated
by the state. Mr. Misterka pointed out that the changes center around the reduced fee paid by
students who qualify for reduced school meals. According to the stated relief package for FY
’04, students who qualify for free or reduced school meals should not be paying a
transportation fee. Ms. Hunter made the original motion which was seconded by Ms.
Minnick then withdrawn after discussion. The Committee reviewed the policy and decided to
accept it as it is presented consistent with state law. This policy may need to be revisited next
year, however, the way it is currently written it is lawful. The members asked that future
policy changes show what language is being changed, as well as allowing them more time to
read and review the policy before a vote. Ms. Minnick moved to accept the policy as written,
Mr. Gilson seconded it. The Committee unanimously approved it.
b) Dr. Kotz moved to ask the Superintendent and the Transportation Supervisor to determine the
financial feasibility and desirability of allowing internal School Choice students to ride a bus
from a pre-determined existing drop off and pick up point. His motion is to request a report
on the issue. Ms. Montgomery seconded the motion for purpose of discussion. Ms. Minnick
made a motion to commit and refer the issue to the Rules and Policy Committee where it can
be discussed and debated and returned to the Full Board if and when a possible change in the
Transportation Policy is needed. This type of motion takes precedence over the previous
motion made. This motion was seconded by Ms. Hunter, and approved with Ms. Miller
6) VOTE: Contract Awards
• Mr. Misterka presented one contract to the Committee for approval. Hampshire Regional School
District in the amount of $8,630.00 for participation in the development and implementation of
the Early Childhood Mental Health Project. Ms. Miller moved to approve, seconded by Ms.
Minnick. Motion carried.
VOTE: Financial Transfers - There were no financial transfers to be voted on.
7) NEW BUSINESS - There were no new business items presented.
On the motion of Dr. Courtney, the meeting was adjourned at 9:05 P.M.
Mr. Michael A. Cosgriff, Secretary1