Data on placement of angry students of Lowell school committee members still not available – Lowell Sun
LOWELL – A month after a special September 23 reunion regarding the status of a large number of students who had not received a practicum long after the start of the school year, some members of the school committee are unhappy with not having received confirmation that the children are in fact in school yet.
During the normally routine acceptance of minutes from previous meetings on Wednesday, committee members Connie Martin and Jackie Doherty said the school administration still had not provided the information requested at the meeting on 6 October regarding where the 394 students had been placed and whether the issues that had prevented them from the start of school – including mandatory vaccinations and English tests – had been addressed.
Martin said she felt that there was no need to make a formal motion to get the information, but that she would if that was what it took to know the final disposition of these students.
Doherty said she was “deeply disappointed,” Superintendent of Schools Joel Boyd and his staff still had not responded to the request.
“I find it unacceptable that we cannot get very important information in a timely manner. We’re looking at October 20, and that’s an unprecedented number of students who won’t be in school, ”Doherty said, noting his frustration.
She asked Boyd if he knew how many students were in school and how many were still waiting.
Boyd said the number was not unprecedented from previous years and was largely due to an influx of students entering the district after the start of the school year. He said the committee had a clear policy that students who have not met their immunization requirements are not allowed to attend school, and that there is flexibility under the Law on public health for this policy to be changed.
“All of the students have been assigned to schools,” Boyd said. “It is not true that this was an unprecedented number, nor that the school committee can make decisions or make decisions outside of its own policies.”
He said he couldn’t provide the information spontaneously and suggested that committee members could call him at any time to request the information directly, which Doherty said she expects those details are shared publicly with the entire committee.
Committee member Mike Dillon agreed the problem was not unprecedented and said his colleagues were overstating its importance.
In other cases, the committee approved new three-year contracts for four unions, including teachers, paraprofessionals, construction and restaurant workers. The contracts of each of the unions, left in abeyance for much of the pandemic, are retroactive to July 1, 2020, providing for a 2% salary increase on that date, as well as a 2.25% increase retroactive to July 1, 2020. July of this year, and a 2.5% Increase on July 1, 2022.
Motions approved Wednesday requested:
• Mayor John Leahy will provide an update on City Council’s planned investment in school facilities capital projects over the next three fiscal years to help the committee plan more effectively for the allocation of federal funds. emergency aid to elementary and secondary schools (ESSER).
• A report from the Department of Special Education on the current status of the initial and annual Individualized Education Program (IEP) standby meetings with parents.
• The finance subcommittee, school and city finance officials meet to discuss contract issues, including delays that have led to a lack of interpreters for special education.
• Boyd will work with school and city stakeholders to provide the committee with ongoing information and updates regarding the percentage of Lowell Public School employees and students who have been vaccinated against COVID. -19.
• A report on the number of students joining the district from October 1 to November 1 who will not count towards the city’s Chapter 70 state aid coverage.
• The administration should review the adherence of school principals to the strong support of the committee so that recess is not used as a form of punishment.
• The administration reassesses the quality of the food offered in the city’s schools.