Here's a quick recap of the 52-minute NK SC meeting held via video on Tuesday, 1/25.
Highlights of items covered in the Agenda:
The 2022-2023 budget was presented to the School Committee at its last meeting and needs to be approved at the 2/15 meeting. There is an extra school committee meeting on 2/1 to allow for questions and for adjustments to be made.
Aaron Thomas Matter:
It was stated that the school district continues to cooperate on the Aaron Thomas’s matter. This has included meeting with attorneys Tim Conlon and Matt Oliverio; responding to the Dept. of Justice inquiry of policy and procedures; and scheduling a future meeting with Judge McGuirl. Programs and training for administrative staff started on 1/24/22 and will continue throughout this semester. The date for the completed Mr. Oliverio report is not known at this time.
High School Program of Studies:
The high school program of studies was unanimously approved after discussions regarding the suggested Common Course Assessments sequence and NK’s expectations for student-athletes.
8 North Kingstown citizens and 1 out-of-district citizen took the opportunity to speak at the meeting. Each person gets 3 minutes to speak and needs to state their name and address before addressing the committee. The citizen comments can be categorized into three main themes: the Aaron Thomas matter; the proposed DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) audit; and the closure of a Gender Neutral bathroom at NKHS.
While speakers have commented on the Aaron Thomas matter and DEI in the past, the topic of gender-neutral bathrooms is new. Speakers urged a reversal of the decision to close a Gender Neutral Bathroom at the high school, raising concerns that students should have access to an adequate facility that fits their needs. It was also stated that the alternative provided to students is not convenient enough for students and creates unnecessary barriers like acquiring passes to the nurse or traveling a far distance. Comments also encouraged a look into restorative justice practices against those who were vandalizing the restroom facility.
And here's an even quicker recap of the 2/1 SC meeting:
NKHS Principal Barbara Morse gave a presentation on inclusive bathrooms. Students and community members spoke out calling for the reopening of the gender-neutral bathroom at the high school.
The Committee discussed the 2022-2023 budget before the vote at the next meeting. Topics included budgeting for late buses and additional staff (monitors for hallways/bathrooms, assistant principals in elementary schools, social workers, school psychologist). Currently, the budget request is a 3.3% increase and the max amount to request could be 4%. The committee requested additional information on where the biggest needs are in the district to review what additional items may need to be worked into the budget. The superintendent said the NKSD would be happy to provide this for the February 15th meeting.
Intrigued? Want to see the full meetings, or past meetings, or learn about future meetings?
All is revealed here,
including agendas posted in advance and containing links to attend if meetings remain virtual.
--Erin Earle, NK Democratic Town Committee Associate Member