Superintendent search moves forward with on-site visit
By Pamela Doan
The Haldane Board of Education and community members who attended the Tuesday (Feb. 25) meeting reviewed a presentation on proposed budget investments that will impact the 2014-15 school year. The board and administrators are hard at work formulating a new budget, which will be presented for a public vote on May 20. Over the next two months, the budget will be a regular topic of discussion at board meetings and a full schedule and documents to review are available on Haldane’s website.
There were several areas addressed at the meeting, including help desk support, textbook costs and elective classes for high school students. High School Principal Brian Alm said that, “We’re at our capacity with electives and we want to add electives instead of filling up study hall. We’ve reached a threshold for being creative.” He was not including art, physical education, and music, which he said have remained steady. The teacher’s schedules are too full to add elective classes to maximize opportunities for students to have well-rounded transcripts. The budget increase would vary if the school added teachers for elective classes, depending on the teacher’s experience.
Textbook costs have been impacted by the Common Core curriculum and others just need to be updated. Alm presented a detailed list of courses and the cost of textbooks for each one. In positive news, the school has found an E-Book alternative that is much more cost effective in one case.
Board President Gillian Thorpe gave an encouraging update on the search for a new superintendent. Thorpe said, “We’re doing a site visit on Friday. We’re bringing with us two board members, representatives from all the bargaining units, and the PTA President. It’s the last step. It should be a love fest and as soon as we have a successful meeting there, I plan to announce it at the March 4 meeting.” Since former Superintendent Mark Villanti announced his retirement last fall, the board has been leading the search for a replacement.
During the superintendent’s report, Interim Superintendent John Chambers noted that the district now has to make up two snow days. School will now be in session on April 21 and May 23. Chambers also recognized high school students Lucy Austin and Isabella Convertino who won the 4th Annual Poetry Out Loud contest.
As a follow-up to the Drug Education Forum that was held last week, Chambers noted that there will be a presentation at a March meeting about the school’s drug policy.