Contract Resolution Announced, BMMS Principal Names
Fleury expressed his opinion that Croteau will provide continuity and consistency for the building in the future. BMMS has had several principals since the inception of the middle school just over 10 years ago.
The current staff of PJP will aid in the transition of the 27 students returning to the PJP Center for the fall. Fleury complimented the level of experience and professionalism of the PJP staff.
The School Committee also announced the final settlement in the ongoing labor dispute between themselves and the Bellingham Teachers Association that has spanned the past year and a half. According to School Committee Chairman Dan Ranieri, the BTA attorney contacted them recently to try to find room to resolve the conflict. The School Committee insisted on the BTA’s signing the agreement from the November 1st arbitration. However, the School Committee agreed to the nurses’ STEP seven increase, which was the point of contention in the past few months, as long as the BTA picked up the costs for this first contract.
Ranieri said that the resolution was in no doubt because of the ruling of the MA Labor Board, who in April ruled in favor of the School Committee in a labor-practice suit. Both sides agreed to drop additional charges going forward.
Bellingham High School Principal Peter Marano announced that because of several retirements and teachers moving to other school districts, BHS was able to hire a new fine-arts teacher. He said that this year, similar to many years previously, BHS had to reject 251 requests by students to incorporate art classes into the curriculum. By the hiring of this new staff member, these students will be able to take their art classes, and new classes will be offered in the areas of Advanced Placement Studio Art, Art History and Photography. Marano is also committed to creating a new graphic arts and website design program.
Bellingham Chief Financial Officer Chris Laviolette announced that Bellingham will see close to $100,000 in utility savings from the net metering project through National Grid, whereby Bellingham partnered with Douglas on a solar panel field. National Grid services the south of Bellingham. Laviolette said that he is confident that the solar project slated for the Stall Brook property will affect the rates for Washington National, which services north Bellingham. Laviolette predicts that the cost credits from this project will reduce the energy bills from a current rate of 17 cents a kilowatt hour to 8 cents.
Fleury also announced that Stall Brook Elementary first-grader Lauren Montiero was one of eight state finalists out of 2000 entrants in the “My Ideal School” drawing contest. Lauren and her parents were accompanied by Fleury, Stall Brook Principal Carolyn Rafferty, and first grade teacher Priscilla Kupiec to the MA State House, where they met Senator Moore and School Committee member Michael Carr to honor her achievement. (See photo on next page.)
The School Committee also commended the service of departing teachers Barbara Delaney (middle school math) and Jonathan Warne (high school biology).
The School Committee noted that the district will adopt the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC) policy for the fingerprinting of all employees hired after 2013, along with classroom volunteers and vendors entering the schools. Fingerprinting will be done at the employee’s expense. All employees, volunteers and visitors will continue to need a CORI check against criminal backgrounds.
written by Lynn S. Ulsh