BMR schools OK kindergarten reorganization
BLACKSTONE — The Blackstone-Millville Regional School Committee Thursday approved School Superintendent Jason DeFalco’s proposal to reorganize and unite the John F. Kennedy/Augustine F. Maloney complex, which, for the first time in the district’s history, will have one kindergarten through Grade 5 principal overseeing both schools beginning next year.
John F. Kennedy, which houses kindergarten-Grade 3, and Augustine F. Maloney, which houses Grades 4-5, are located in the same building at 200 Lincoln St. The two schools have always been identified as separate schools with separate principals and administrative staff, but under one roof in the same complex.
DeFalco’s plan is to essentially unify the schools with one leadership and administrative team for both schools. The goal is to not only save money, but remove redundancies in existing ser- vices.
Right now at the JFK/AFM complex, there is a principal for kindergarten through Grade 2; a principal for Grades 3-5; and two administrative assistants – one for kindergarten-Grade 2 and one for Grades 3-5. The current staffing configuration is costing the district $305,531 a year.
DeFalco’s proposal is to a have a single K-Grade 5 principal; one assistant principal K-5;
one K-5 administrative assistant; and one planning, learning and teaching coach.
Even with the addition of the planning, learning and teaching coach, the district would be saving $5,000 to $10,000 a year with the new staffing reconfiguration.
The new reconfiguration would go into effect next year upon the retirement of AFM Principal Carol Brown. The principal at the Kennedy School is Steve Tringali.
“What we are doing is truly unifying the two schools, making it one building with one vision and one mission,” DeFalco said. “And we can’t do that with children and teachers under the same roof functioning as two separate schools. That will not help us get to where we need to be.”
The committee Wednesday also approved DeFalco’s proposed reorganization of the district central office at the high school, which right now, has three financial assistants; an administrative aide; a technology aide; and a technology administrative consultant. That current configuration is costing the district $284,000 a year.
DeFalco’s plan, which would also go into effect next year, is to eliminate one of the financial assistant positions; the administrative assistant position; and the technology and administrative consultant, which would save the district $140,000 a year.
The plan would entail turning one of the eliminated financial assistant positions into the position of human resource specialist, which will help with recruitment, staff retention and providing direct service to the district’s 250 faculty members.
The two other eliminated positions would be realigned as an accounts payable specialist and a payroll specialist. The office would also have a new part-time, 15-hour per week bookkeeper.
“None of this is new money,” DeFalco pointed out. “It’s simply a re-alignment of the positions that are there.”
DeFalco said the savings realized from the central office realignment would be reassigned to planning, teaching and learning coaches.
“The result of all of this is
a true continuity of support for students and services,” he said.
This is the first major reorganization within the school district in recent memory.
A few years ago, the district floated the concept of a unified elementary school system, which would allow students in kindergarten through Grade 5 to be educated collectively with peers from both Blackstone and Millville during the elementary years.
After four years of extensive study, meetings and surveys, a Regional Agreement Subcommittee recommended two years ago that the Blackstone-Millville Regional School Committee amend the district’s regional school agreement policy to allow elementary school students preschool through Grade 5, regardless of which town they live, to be educated together. The school board voted to support the concept and to submit town meeting articles seeking voter approval in both Millville and Blackstone. Voters in Blackstone approve it, but it was rejected in Millville.
The Blackstone-Millville Regional School District was established in 1967 and includes one elementary school in Millville (Millville Elementary School, preschool-Grade 5); two elementary schools in Blackstone (John F. Kennedy, kindergarten-Grade 3 and Augustine F. Maloney, Grades 4-5); and a middle school and high school in Blackstone (Frederick W. Hartnett Middle School and Blackstone-Millville Regional High School).
The district serves 1,882 students, has a 135-member teaching staff and is overseen by an elected eight-member School Committee, with four members from each town.
Right now, Millville students only attend the Millville Elementary School in Millville, while only Blackstone students attend the John F. Kennedy and Augustine F. Maloney Elementary Schools in Blackstone.
Had Millville approved the new elementary school configuration, it would have allowed all students in prekindergarten through grade 5, regardless of which town they live in, to attend the assigned school regardless of where it is located based on grade level.