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Finances Continue to Look Positive for the School District

Financial updates and new district goals dominated the September 24 Mendon Upton Regional School Committee Meeting. Superintendent Dr. Joseph Maruszczak along with Business Manager Jay Byer gave an update on the year-to-date financials of the district, with Byer stating that the district was in "pretty good shape at this point." Byer said that as always, the line items that they watch closely are snow and ice removal, special education costs, and out of district tuition. "This year's budget was put together very well; we should be covered," said Byer. Maruszczak told the Committee that they plan on giving district financial updates at future meetings.

Other good financial news was reported regarding the Green School Repair Project at the Miscoe Hill School. Calling the project "95 percent complete," Maruszczak gave a slide show presentation using before and after pictures of the windows, boiler, and roof. In his report Maruszczak said that the "26-year-old, inefficient" boiler has been replaced, and that the only outstanding punch-list item is the finalization of the wiring for the control panels, but expects the new boiler to be started up this week. He also states that the roof replacement is complete except for 10 percent of the flashing that needs to be installed before it can be inspected by the manufacturer. He pointed out that since the roof has been replaced, there have been two major storms, and the school has "come out just fine." Maruszczak went on to say that the single-pane, inefficient windows have been replaced with glazed, double-paned, energy efficient windows, and that they were just waiting on the final test results before calling the project complete.

Speaking to the financial aspects of the project, Business Manager Jay Byer said that although the figures are still estimates at this point, they anticipate a savings of over $2.3M from the original project estimate of just under $4M; and a net savings for the two towns of $724,000. "This is good news all around," said Byer, who hopes final numbers will be available in December.

Talks turned to goals for the district's Administrators and teachers, and specifically the 2012-2013 goals for the head of the Mendon Upton School District. "Education evaluation is the singular focus of every district in the Commonwealth right now," said Maruszczak. He told the Committee that based on the Superintendent Evaluation feedback, and in working to closely to align his goals with the goals of the building Principals and teachers, he has developed two goals for himself for this year.

First, he intends that by June of 2013 the percentage of Nipmuc Students taking the AP exams will grow by at least 10 percent and that the percent of students earning a score of 3 or higher will increase by 3 percent. Second, Maruszczak said he will be formally meet with each building Principal on a regular basis and observing classrooms with the "sole purpose of observing, analyzing, and then communicating to all professional staff effective teaching practices." Maruszczak will update the Committee on his progress at a future meeting.

In other news the School Committee ratified the Paraprofessional Contract at the meeting, approving a two-year contract with a 1.5 percent increase for the first year and a 1.25 percent increase for the second year. The new contract also includes a "longevity payment" of $500 per year for three years after working for 15 years in the district.


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