The Dennett Elementary School committee approved a budget proposal of roughly $2.3 million at its meeting on March 26, 2018. This second attempt at a new fiscal year budget included some increases as well as decreases to the previous draft.
Silver Lake Regional School District Superintendent Joy Blackwood highlighted budget increases that included an updated share cost budget as well as an additional $4,000 for professional development. According to School Committee Chair Jon Wilhelmsen, the first draft of the budget included increases to professional development from the previous year. He said this new budget adds more that he believes is needed.
Other budget increases include a 4.92 percent increase for regular education, a .7 percent increase for special education, and an increase of half the cost of text books for anticipated costs.
There is however a large decrease to the vocational education budget for the elementary school budget. Vocational education is being cut 35.56 percent.
Wilhelmsen said the vocational money will be used as a transfer to pay for the new electrical generator at Dennett. Some of those funds will also be used for water treatment and the rest is being returned to the town.
Wilhelmsen said, “The generator we’re getting isn’t just for replacing the one that didn’t work. It’s an upgrade.”
Improvement Project Updates The school committee expressed satisfaction with the pace both the water treatment and generator projects are moving at.
Dennett Elementary principal Peter Veneto said he met with the onsite contractor for the water treatment project two weeks ago. “They’re hoping to do some groundwork during April vacation,” said Veneto.
Dates for the preparing, delivery, and installation of the electrical generator were scheduled. On April 20, preparations will be completed.
Delivery and installation occurs between April 25 and April 27. New pavement to cover a pothole in the driveway from the winter storm will also be fixed during this time. Some discussion on the Dennett Elementary playground project also started but will not be fully explored until after the budget season. Committee Vice Chair Jason Fraser reached out to Marshfield, who said they’d be happy to “facilitate some items” and give other assistance after budget season.
Wilhelmsen said the budget for this project needs to be nailed down before presenting anything to the Community Preservation Committee. Plympton’s Finance Committee also discussed the potential for community fundraising and labor to help support this project.Wilhelmsen said the school committee will have to find a balance between that and what they can contribute.
In ther News
• The same A.L.I.C.E. training video that was shown at the last Silver Lake School Committee meeting was shown at Dennett’s meeting. Blackwood said, so far, the elementary schools have only practice evacuation training. Barricade training will soon be underway for the elementary schools.
According to Blackwood, barricade training went well for the high school and the middle schools.
• MCAS testing started this week at Dennett Elementary. Grade Six will have tests on April 9-10. Grade Four has testing on April 12.
• The kindergarteners are going on a field trip to the New England Aquarium on April 12.
• Assistant Superintendent Jill Proulx announced to the school committee that the new frameworks for the social studies curriculum can now be reviewed.
They include a larger focus on civics and will be incorporated in a variety of social studies classes.