New Calendar for Nashoba

By Ann NeedleW NashobaColor

The Nashoba School Committee gave its nod to the district’s calendar for next school year — another version from the ones previously proposed. It also voted to establish a capital spending fund to help shore up local special education facilities.
The long-awaited calendar for the upcoming school year was approved unanimously, though it wasn’t the versions “A” and “B” the district has been looking at since December. Until last night, the School Committee appeared to favor “B,” which replaces the all-day parent/teacher conferences on Election Day (November 4) with a vacation day, and keeps a full professional development day the Friday before April vacation. (Proposal A would have kept Election Day as a conference and professional day, and made the Thursday and Friday before April vacation early release days.)

The district’s town clerks also advocated version B. In previous big election years, Election Day was used for parent/teacher conferences with no student classes held. The clerks protested that this was not enough to stop traffic woes that crop up when parents are trying to get to schools with voters nearby. However, B also would have kept the full professional development day in April, directly following two half days of conferences. Some Committee members remarked that this student time off immediately before April vacation week made for too long of a break.

When he introduced version C last night, Superintendent Michael Wood pointed out that this version, “C” turns the Friday before April vacation into an early release day, and moves the two half-day conference days on Wednesday and Thursday into earlier in the year. Election Day will be pared back to a professional development day, which should eliminate parent traffic (though staff will still be parked).

For 2014/15, students return to school August 27, and would end the year on June 12, 2015, without snow days.

Capital Account Approved
Nashoba is not the only district wrestling with capital planning. The Committee unanimously approved the establishment of a capital reserve fund by the Assabet Valley Collaborative, where Nashoba is a member. The AVC acts as a gateway for member districts looking to contract special education services for students that cannot be provided for in regular classrooms.

As Wood explained, the Fund would be established in FY15with $25,000 taken out of the AVC budget. The plan is to set aside $25,000 each year until reaching the goal of $722,500, he said. Wood assured this would not effect Nashoba’s budget. For the Fund to become official, two-thirds of the 11 member districts must approve it, according to the AVC.

The AVC reported that the Fund became necessary after the Collaborative contracted a long-term building lease with Marlborough. The building, at 57 Orchard St., will house the AVC’s Alternative High School, several assessment programs, and the AVC’s Central Office and Family Success Partnership, along with space for professional development. The lease calls for the AVC to pay all operational costs and building improvements.

School Choice
In an update of the annual school choice process, Wood noted that each of the 25 allotted seats in each grade at Nashoba Regional High School have been filled. School choice allows students from outside Nashoba to attend high school here, at their districts’ expense, if space allows.

SRO Extension Request
Also looking at the high school, Rep. Lorraine Romasco of Bolton asked what it would take to extend the school resource officer position at NRHS from part- to full-time. Wood responded that it would mean going first to the Bolton Police, which currently pay half the 20-hour weekly salary, as to whether they could spare the funds and the officer’s time. This the first year the SRO was put in place at NRHS, responding to several safety concerns expressed through the years.

Kindergarten Concern
Stow Rep. Lynn Colletti mentioned that she heard concern from the parent of an incoming student that the half-day kindergarten program for the coming year might be extended 30 minutes, which the person protested as making the day too long for those students. Wood acknowledged that the district is looking into it — given some of the kindergarten teachers suggested the longer morning would benefit these students — but nothing has been decided.