In an online-only meeting lasting less than an hour, the Arlington School Committee chose a representative to a town body, approved revisions to student handbooks and reached agreements with the union representing two groups of classroom employees.

William Hayner, who declined to run in 2023 after having served on the Arlington School Committee for a dozen years and was succeeded by Laura Gitelson, is now the committee's designee to the town group planning the town's 250's anniversary in 2025.

The unanimous vote on Wednesday, Aug. 30, came none too soon -- at approximately 6:45 p.m. -- as the Semiquincentennial Committee's own remote-only meeting was set to start at 7 p.m. that evening.

 “It’s entirely appropriate due to his longstanding history with us,” said Arlington School Committee Chair Kirsi Allison-Ampe in introducing the matter. “Thank you – again – for being willing to serve,” she told Hayner after the 7-0 vote.

Handbook updates approved 

The committee approved the latest revisions of student handbooks for Arlington High School and for the seven K-5 campuses, with the proviso that they could still be amended going forward if conditions warrant. Consideration of those serving the middle grades is expected later this year, Allison-Ampe said a few days after the meeting.

Issues of concern mentioned in brief discussion included bullying and discipline policies; homework time-length limits; dress codes; and sick-day policies, particularly the extent to which documentation could be demanded to obtain an excused absence for illness. Allison-Ampe and committee member Len Kardon emphasized that they want to avoid anything that might discourage sick students from staying home out of fear of not meriting excused absences.

Arlington Public Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Homan reported very briefly on the first day back on campus for employees – Aug. 30, the same day as the meeting. She and Allison-Ampe said that things went very well.

Students are scheduled to return to campus to begin classes this Tuesday, Sept. 5, the day after Labor Day.

Subcommittee meeting reports

Members talked briefly about the subcommittees they lead. Kardon said that his budget subcommittee has been discussing Special Town Meeting, set to begin Oct. 17 and expected to last for several sessions. In another autumnal matter, Kardon mentioned that APS hopes to get an additional $400,000 if the property-tax-override measure, scheduled for a townwide vote Nov. 7, passes.

Vice Chair Paul Schlichtman, head of the policies and procedures subcommittee, said that his group was creating proposed revisions of several policies.

Closed session yields two unanimous votes

The committee went into closed session just after 7 p.m. It was reported later that an agreement had been reached between the district and counseling-staff employees represented by the Arlington Education Association, or AEA -- the union for many on-campus APS employees. A similarly unanimous vote Aug. 30 approved a deal between APS and the AEA's Unit D, which represents paraprofessional such as teaching assistants.

There were no public speakers nor consent-agenda items at the meeting. 

Aug. 25, 2023: New position created, other hiring efforts implemented as first day of school nears

This news summary by YourArlington Editor Judith Pfeffer was published Sunday, Sept. 3, 2023.

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