5-6-2020 Special School Committee Meeting Minutes

Quincy, MASSACHUSETTS – May 6, 2020
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Special Meeting of the Quincy School Committee

Special Meeting

Vice-Chair Presiding

A special meeting of the Quincy School Committee was held on Wednesday,
May 6, 2020 at Quincy High School at 6:00 p.m. Superintendent DeCristofaro
called the roll and present were Mayor Thomas Koch, Mr. Paul Bregoli,
Mr. Douglas Gutro (via teleconference), Mrs. Kathryn Hubley, Vice-Chair
Mrs. Emily Lebo, Mr. Frank Santoro, and Mr. Anthony Andronico, Vice Chair.

Also present were: Dr. Richard DeCristofaro, Secretary; Ms. Laura Owens,
Clerk; and Deputy Superintendent Kevin Mulvey.

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Chairman’s Update

Vice-Chair Anthony Andronico opened the meeting by noting that this week is
for Teacher Appreciation and Nurse Appreciation.

Mayor Koch asked all to remember those who have lost their lives to COVID-19.
Mayor Koch said that the City of Quincy has 945 confirmed cases to date with
over 400 residents recovered. While the cases are hopefully plateauing, the
Memorial Day ceremonies and parade are cancelled, as well as the annual Flag
Day celebration. The mask advisory is for situations where social distancing is
not possible, indoors or outdoors, a matter of common sense. Mayor Koch
thanked the community for $200,000 in donations to the Quincy Relief Fund to
assist families in need. Thanks to Health Commissioner Ruth Jones for her
work, planning is underway for how to ramp up to re-open businesses safely.
Father Bill’s residents will transition out of the YMCA as they prepare to reopen.

Mrs. Lebo said that the Merrymount Association recently donated two
truckloads of food to Interfaith Social Services.

Mayor Koch continues to be involved in discussions with members of the
federal and state delegation, guidelines for disbursement of stimulus funding
are still in development. Community Development Block Grant funding has
been utilized for rental and small business assistance. Mayor Koch is
anticipating a 20% cut in local aid; local aid makes up 11% of the City of Quincy
budget. The cut will hurt but not as much as other towns where local aid can be
up to 40% of their budget. Mayor Koch is planning to present the FY2021
budget to City Council on May 18. As discussed at last week’s meeting, all city
departments will be asked return unspent funds that can be added to free cash.
Mayor Koch is not anticipating layoffs, but has frozen hiring for open positions
in city departments. Mayor Koch said there is no model for the economic recovery, but since 75% of the budget is based on property taxes, the city is on solid footing. Local receipts for excise taxes, building permits, marriage licenses, etc. will rebound. The goal is to avoid a property tax increase in the fall, as this will place additional stress on homeowners.

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Approval of Minutes

Mr. Bregoli made a motion to approve the minutes for the April 29, 2020 School
Committee Meeting and the April 29, 2020 Executive Session. Mrs. Hubley
seconded the motion and on a roll call vote, the ayes have it, 6-0. Mrs. Lebo
voted PRESENT.

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Open Forum

Mr. Andronico noted that Open Forum participation is through the Quincy Public
Schools email QSCOpenForum@quincypublicschools.com.

Mr. Andronico read a letter from Courtney Perdios and Scott Alessandro, Citywide
Parent Council Co-Presidents, which presented feedback from last night’s
Citywide Parent Council meeting about remote learning, specifically the need for
social-emotional support for staff, students, and families.

Mr. Andronico read a letter from QHS parent Jennifer Zemotel who wrote to
encourage School Committee to plan an in-person graduation for the Class of
2020 in the summer, if possible.

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QPS Interim Superintendent Appointment

Mayor Koch introduced Deputy Superintendent Kevin Mulvey as the applicant for
the Interim Superintendent for Quincy Public Schools position.

Mayor Koch made a motion to enter into contract negotiations with Mr. Mulvey to
serve as Interim Superintendent. Mr. Bregoli seconded the motion.

On the motion, Mrs Lebo asked for clarification on the time limit of the
appointment to September 1, 2020.

Mr. Andronico said this is part of contract negotiations, which will begin in
Executive Session this evening.

On a roll call vote, the ayes have it 7-0.

Mr. Mulvey thanked Mayor Koch, Vice Chair Andronico, members of the School
Committee for the honor. In addition to the support of his family, Mr. Mulvey is
thankful for Superintendent DeCristofaro’s mentorship, the support of Superintendent’s Leadership Team during this process. Mr. Mulvey thanked his own Quincy Public Schools teachers, mentors and educators. Remembered Anne Marie Montgomery Cullen, classmate and friend, educator at Atlantic Middle School who recently passed away.

On behalf of School Committee, Mr. Andronico said he is looking forward to
working with Mr. Mulvey

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QPS Superintendent
Appointment Process

Mayor Koch said that while this is the beginning of the process in determining a
position description, he has created a starting point to share with School
Committee.

Mr. Andronico said creating a leadership profile has been discussed, would like to
approach the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC) about
assisting the Quincy School Committee in developing a profile and process that all
feel comfortable with.

Mayor Koch would like to set another meeting soon and give everyone the
opportunity to look at what has been shared. Mayor Koch would like to have a
position description completed to post in mid-June, with the goal of reviewing
candidates in July or early August.

Mrs. Lebo wants to be sure that the stakeholders in the school community are
involved. Mentioned the Homework survey as a model although could be scaled
back.

Mr. Gutro noted that he is participating remotely, in keeping with the Governor’s
recommendation. Mr. Gutro agrees with Mrs. Lebo that input from school
community members will be important, would like to create milestones and
aspirational timeline associated with it.
Mr. Andronico reiterated reaching out to MASC for assistance with the leadership
profile.

Mayor Koch agreed with Mr. Andronico and Mr. Gutro is correct, School
Committee needs to define a process and set a calendar. Everything will be done
publicly in open meetings with opportunity for public participation.

Mayor Koch respectfully disagrees with Mr. Gutro about the decision to meet in
person and allow the public to have a better quality access to the meeting. Last
week’s meeting had technical challenges that this meeting will not have. Mayor
Koch is looking forward to the interesting discussions to come.

Mrs. Lebo said the City Council meeting has been meeting via Zoom and the
broadcast was fine.

Mr. Gutro said the US Supreme Court is hearing arguments remotely. If the
teachers can effectively communicate using the technology, School Committee
should be able to do so.

Mr. Santoro said that should the search process surface outside candidates, we
would not be able to make any site visits.

Mr. Andronico said that MASC consultant Jim Hardy worked with Scituate on their
recently-concluded Superintendent search, some meetings and focus groups were
conducted virtually. Mr. Andronico asked for input on a potential meeting
schedule.

Mrs. Lebo suggested weekly meetings to start, we will need to be creative on
getting input as focus groups will not be possible to meet in person

.
Mrs. Lebo asked if Mr. Hardy can appear virtually at upcoming meetings.

Mrs. Lebo made a motion to request the Massachusetts Association of School
Committee to assist with the Quincy Public Schools Superintendent search
process. Mrs. Hubley seconded the motion and on a roll call vote, the ayes have it
7-0.

Mayor Koch moved that School Committee meets weekly until School Committee
has determined a Superintendent search process that all feel comfortable with.
Mr. Bregoli seconded the motion and on a roll call vote, the ayes have it 7-0.

Mrs. Lebo asked for clarification that School Committee will meet every
Wednesday and Mr. Andronico confirmed.

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QPS High School
Graduations

Mr. Andronico noted that QHS parent Katy Tracy submitted a petition with 1,600
signatures urging School Committee to postpone events celebrating the class of
2020 to the summer, rather than cancelling outright.

Dr. DeCristofaro said that other cities and towns have scheduled dates for
summer activities. Quincy Public Schools communication to parents about the
virtual ceremony planned caused feelings of disappointment. Dr. DeCristofaro
said the parents have shared some good ideas and wants to work with School
Committee to see what we come up with thinking creatively. Dr. DeCristofaro
would like to go ahead with celebrating the seniors on the original graduation
dates in June.

Mr. Bregoli said there are over 2,000 signatures as of today on the petition. Mr.
Bregoli has been in communication with a number of parents, it is a passionate
issue for many students and parents. Mr. Bregoli would like us to do whatever we
can to give the seniors closure on their senior year. The Massachusetts State
Police had a graduation ceremony at Gillette Stadium for 200 cadets this week.
We have to make a plan with a backup that can be executed.

Mr. Gutro agrees with Mr. Bregoli, parents and seniors deserve a more fitting
tribute to the graduates and their families. Mr. Gutro suggested that Dr.
DeCristofaro and Mr. Mulvey put together a list of options including the June
dates. Mr. Gutro said that School Committee members were surprised when the
parent letter went out, did not interpret last week’s discussion as a definitive
decision.

Mayor Koch said that Veterans Stadium is a sizeable asset, the seating has been
improved thanks to the Boston Cannons. Mayor Koch suggested options
including assigning seats, leaving seats empty, and shorter speeches. We have a
great venue to work with and can work together to create a tentative plan and
focus on setting a date. Mayor Koch said whatever rule we come up with will
have to be adhered to by all, including limiting guests.

Mrs. Lebo suggested that the ability to pivot to something different but still
personal needs to be part of the plan Mrs. Lebo is worried about the graduation
class, we don’t know what will happen to these students in terms of college and
jobs, staying connected to these students so important.

Mr. Andronico said that other communities have shifted to delay graduation with
guidelines for social distancing, there is still potential for another spike. Anything
we can do is not going to be what the Class of 2020 has envisioned for themselves.
As the summer goes on, it will be more difficult to get students to participate.

Mr. Santoro said that there are logistical issues, students need caps and gowns,
the staff are an integral part and will they be available in the summer.

Mr. Bregoli said that our professional staff will rise to the occasion, appreciates
Mr. Santoro’s experience with organizing graduations.

Dr. DeCristofaro agreed with Mrs. Lebo’s point about creating multiple options,
Mr. Mulvey and he are committed to creating a plan. Dr. DeCristofaro requested
that School Committee reach out to them with ideas or thoughts.

Mr. Gutro said it is useful to plan but if an in-person graduation cannot happen, it
is important to make these students feel more special than previous classes.
Different, but memorable and meaningful.

Mrs. Lebo said that there will be some families who will not feel comfortable with
this, and how will we address those student needs.

Mr. Andonico said this is where the video presentation that will recognize all
students is important, many options to explore.

Mayor Koch asked about caps and gowns, these have been ordered by the high
schools.

Mayor Koch asked to carry the item as an agenda item going forward.

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Memorandum of Agreement with the Quincy Education Association

Mayor Koch made a motion to approve the Memorandum of Agreement #3
between the Quincy Education Association and the Quincy Public Schools. The
motion was seconded by Mr. Bregoli.

On the motion, Mrs. Lebo asked that the agreement and the DESE guidelines be
shared on the website. Mrs. Lebo stressed that creating meaningful engagement
with peers is important to students, especially at the primary grades.

On a roll call vote, the ayes have it 7-0.

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Adjournment

Mr. Bregoli made a motion to adjourn the meeting to Executive Session at 7:25
pm. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Lebo and on a roll call vote, the ayes have
it, 7-0. School Committee did not return to Regular Session.
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