Athletic Field Group Seeks Falmouth School Committee Support

Superintendent Bonny L. Gifford met with Michael A. Duffany, a member of the All Purpose Community Athletic Field Advisory Committee, who is interested in proceeding with the turf athletic field project with the support of the school committee.

Vice-chairman Laura L. Peterson recused herself from the discussion because her company sells sand and gravel.

Dr. Gifford suggested a few school committee members meet with the turf committee. One of the items to discuss, she said, is funding, and said the idea of the project being placed on the capital plan has been discussed recently.

“Perhaps there’s a way they could also collaborate with the parks and recreation department so that we’re not the focus of the partnership. I hesitate to put our name on something that we don’t have the money to contribute, based on fact we have a lot of other needs,” said committee member Donna L. Mattison-Earl.


Chairman Susan E. Augusta said she believes the school committee should support the project as it would allow Falmouth students to compete with students from towns with similar facilities.  “This is an opportunity, and in a lot of ways, a gift to us, considering private money they have raised,” she said.

Members Heidi K. Marotta, Judith Fenwick and Kelly A. Welch volunteered to meet with the turf committee.

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Committee members approved a 2015 high school band trip to Orlando, Florida, from April 23 to 27.

Steven B. Edwards, Falmouth High School band director, estimates it will cost $1,200 per student, but can be offset with fundraisers.

In response to committee member Heidi K. Marotta’s question about families that could not afford the trip, he said parents can write to the Falmouth Band Parents group asking for a scholarship. He said the letter would remain anonymous.

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Dr. Gifford said 40 people met in July to work on the strategic plan and estimated that it will be completed in October. The next group strategic meeting is slated for September 15.

“Will you ensure teachers will have input?” asked Ms. Mattison-Earl. Committee member Leah L. Palmer said everyone was invited to join in the group.

Ms. Welch said although all were invited to participate, she would like to see a “clear moment when parents and teachers could provide input” before the document is finalized.

Committee member Alan Jacobs asked if details from the plan will be incorporated into the budget process, to which Dr. Gifford said that the timing would be right as the budget figures will be known by October.

Ms. Peterson asked if there would be a public unveiling of the plan.

“That’s a great idea,” said Dr. Gifford.

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Mr. Jacobs asked about the salary line item in the budget, now that most of the staff has been hired. He said one of the “hot issues” has been losing the Lawrence School librarian and high school science lab technician.

Dr. Gifford said she was recently given the numbers and she is still scrutinizing. After a few more salary-related questions, she suggested setting up a finance sub-committee meeting very soon.

Nancy R. Taylor, the director of pupil personnel services, asked her to remember when they talk about bringing back positions that two health assistants, as well as an out-of-district staff member, were let go. Later in the meeting, she said she would like to have a floating nurse that could work in any school who could cover when a nurse is sick.

“There are no nurse substitutes. They don’t take days off,” she said.

Ms. Palmer asked to receive more data on the nature of the students’ trips to the nurse’s office to help “pinpoint” where they need more help, and Ms. Taylor agreed to gather those numbers.

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Assistant director of curriculum and instruction Zachary Waddicor updated members on professional development days for educators in preparation for the new year. He pointed to a math workshop that he thought was excellent, given by Dr. Yeap Ban Har from Singapore.

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Director of technology Wendy Haskell provided an update on the addition of more iPads and Chromebooks, and upgrades to the Internet connections. She said each school will now be equipped with an iPad classroom cart and all but Falmouth High School will have a Chromebook cart. She also said she began working with the 6th grade teachers on managing the 300 Chromebooks that will be given to all 6th graders. “The teachers are very excited,” she said.

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The committee voted to accept a donation valued at $8,200 from Joseph A. Santos, owner of Connor Sport Court of New England South, for color coating and striping the basketball court at Morse Pond School.


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