REPORT OF THE SCHOOL COMMITTEE

It is my privilege, on behalf of my fellow board members, to present to
the citizens of Abington for their consideration our annual report. The
current makeup of the Abington School Committee includes: Wayne K.
Rogiers, Chairperson; Brenda L. Pignone, Vice Chairperson; Russell W.
FitzGerald, Secretary; Patricia Vantine and James West, Members.
Justin LaSelva serves as the student representative to the Abington
School Committee.

Once again, it was a busy year for the Abington School Committee. In
addition to regularly scheduled monthly meetings, there were several
special hearings/forums conducted which addressed budget, school
choice, test results from the Massachusetts Comprehensive
Assessment Program (MCAS) and our Long Range Master Plan for
Abington School Facilities.

An FY-2005 School Department Operating Budget of $15,067,332.00 was
approved at last April's Annual Town Meeting. Finalization of this
budget was delayed by a dardy receipt of state and federal grant
allocations.       

The increase of $1,286,182.00 to our operating budget represented a
9.3% increase over FY-2004 levels of funding. Various school groups
played a key role in convincing the Finance Committee and Board of
Selectmen to support an increase in appropriations to begin to
address critical program and staffing needs created by major
reductions in our FY-2004 budget. Below I have highlighted several
expenditures under our FY-2005 budget plan:

• The restoration of the following sixteen (16) full and part-time
positions to address secondary (grades 7-12) program needs and
improve class size averages particularly at the upper elementary level
(grades 3-6):
-   four (4) elementary classroom teachers
-   a kindergarten/literacy teacher
-   an elementary reading specialist
-   a part-time elementary art teacher
-   a junior high school social studies teacher
-   a MCAS mathematics/computer teacher at the junior high school
-   a junior high school foreign language teacher
-   a high school English teacher
-   a high school mathematics teacher
-   a high school science teacher
-   a high school social studies teacher
-   a part-time high school health teacher
-   a 182-day high school secretary's position restored to full-time

•  The restoration of the three (3) stipended/part-time curriculum
leadership positions listed below:
-   a prek-12 music director
-   a prek-12 art director
-   a grades 7-12 foreign language department head

• The restoration of a junior high school intramural advisor position
•  A 50% reduction in the Green Wave Boosters Organization's donation
for freshman athletics
•  A 50% reduction in the Music Parents Association's donation for
music tutors
•  The addition of three (3) special education paraprofessional
positions and one (1) tutor position to be funded from federal special
education grant funds
• The necessary funds to purchase textbooks and instructional
materials called for under our Five-Year Curriculum Review and
Update Plan to ensure our continued alignment with the
Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks, the Massachusetts
Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) and the many federal
requirements under No Child Left Behind
• Increased funding of professional development opportunities for
staff in support of improved teaching and student learning
• For the first time in years, limited funds were included in our budget
to replace and add badly needed equipment (i.e. digital cameras for art,
science computers, graphing calculators for math, student desks and
chairs, cafeteria tables for the junior high school, etc.)


Unfortunately, with all the good news surrounding the FY-2005 School
Department Operating Budget, the final determination of two special
articles passed at the Annual Town Meeting in April was disheartening.
Article 24. a $7,037,050.00 request to address critical short-term facility
needs (i.e. windows, doors, roofs, etc.), and Article 25. a $ 1,092,000.00
request to provide appropriate levels of technology in our classrooms,
did not receive the public's support in proposition 2 1/2 debt exclusion
votes at a June 2004 special election. These projects were designed to
work seamlessly with the long-range plans for future school renovation
and construction spelled out in our Long Range Master Plan for School
Facilities. It is imperative that the citizens of Abington take seriously
their responsibility to act on the short term and long-range
recommendations contained in the District's Facilities Plan.

Over a period of several months, the Abington School Committee
approved detailed action plans to support our district's Vision 2008
Strategic Plan. Those action plans establish detailed priorities for our
school improvement efforts in each of our six goal areas of student
achievement, facilities, finance, technology, community partnerships
and citizenship. By year's end the Committee had begun its first annual
review of the progress made under each of the action plans. Copies of
the Vision 2008 Strategic Plan are available to the public in all school
offices.

Through the efforts of administration, faculty and the North River
Collaborative, many students in Abington continue to receive a variety
of benefits, on a self-funded basis, from after-school programs. Our
students have also received substantial benefits from two grants
secured by the North River Collaborative. An elementary counseling
grant provides a social worker and intern to work with selected
students and their parents at the elementary level, and the Carol M.
White Physical Education Grant provides a variety of fitness equipment
at the junior and senior high school levels.

During 2004, the Abington Public Schools continued to implement the
many provisions of the Massachusetts Education Reform Act of 1993
and No Child Left Behind, the 2002 landmark federal education law.
Curriculum development activities and the professional development
of our staff remained top priorities. With a focus on our second Five-
Year Curriculum Review and Update Plan, the long-awaited adoption of
a History and Social Science Massachusetts Curriculum Framework and
the seventh administration of the Massachusetts Comprehensive
Assessment Tests (MCAS); faculty, staff and administration continue to
revise curriculum, instructional strategies and assessment practices.

This past year the Abington School Committee reviewed and updated
the following policies: Computer Donations, In-State and Out-of-State
Day Field Trips and Computer, Network, Internet, E-Mail and other
Forms of Electronic Communication Acceptable Use By Employees.

The Committee also accepted with regret the retirement notices of the
following faculty and staff:

Neil Caldeira - Custodian
Catherine Cotter - Crossing Guard/Cafeteria Worker
Edward Fopiano - Physical Education Teacher
Marilyn Gaffney - Elementary Teacher
Robert Hayes - Social Studies Teacher
Robert Louis - World Language Teacher
William McMann - Physical Education Teacher
Janice Miley - English Teacher
Donald Porter - Physical Education Teacher
Catherine Rebenklau - Elementary Teacher
Jayne Snarsky - Elementary Principal

• These individuals have served the Town of Abington well, and we
wish them the best in their retirement years.

In closing, I would like to thank the entire school department staff,
townspeople, clubs, organizations and volunteers for their cooperation
and continued support of the children of Abington during these
difficult financial times. I especially would like to express my gratitude
to all members of the School Committee and the administrative staff for
their continued assistance.

Respectfully submitted,

Wayne K. Rogiers Chairperson
  
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