With most students either on summer vacation or finishing off their last lessons for the school year, the Londonderry School Board dedicated its June 20 meeting to finances and policy changes for next year.
During the meeting at the town hall, Director of Pupil Services Kimberly Carpinone came before the board to discuss the first readings of alterations to school policies, primarily concerning confidentiality and student information, as a means of bringing the school district into compliance with current federal and state regulations. This includes the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Rights Act (FERPA).
One section, Policy JO, would be rescinded entirely. The policy notes that various information is kept on, maintained, and disclosed in accordance with FERPA, but was described as “redundant” by Carpinone under new FERPA policies, hence the rescinding. Two more sections, Policy JOA and JOA-E, would be amended to remove more redundant language concerning confidentiality.
The biggest changes would come with three brand new policies, labeled JRA, JRA-R, and JRA-E. The new policies would explain who could access student information, including for health and emergency services, the procedures to which school staff will undergo handling this information, and the notice that parents would be given concerning these matters.
Vice Chair Jenn Ganem shared her concerns over local police having access to student information, as stated according to JRA, asking Carpinone, “Does this mean the Londonderry Police Department can access everything on my child?” Carpinone said that she would ask the town attorney for clarification on the matter, but assured Ganem that this type of information would only come into play in an emergency situation.
The other major focus of the meeting came from Peter Curro and Superintendent Nate Greenberg’s introduction of a proposed Capital Improvement Plan for the school district the 2019 – 2024 fiscal years. Taking into account requests from both town and school governments, the plan is assessed by the Capital Planning Committee before being put before the Planning Board and the two local governments for approval.
This particular plan includes suggestions for a new district office, due to the old age of the current one, a high school/district wide auditorium, a new elementary school to account for an increased student population, and various building renovations. The initial estimations project that the cost of all four projects over the course of the six fiscal years would be around 52 million dollars, albeit if all suggestions are approved.
In other news, Chair Dan Lekas announced the retirement of Instructional Assistant Holly Gorgol from the North School. Working with the school for 17 years, Lekas noted that Gorgol went “above and beyond for all of her students” and was able to honor each student’s uniqueness, providing them with “guidance, compassion and support.”