Upgrades Needed To Prevent Probation

Principal Gerald Foley made the case for upgrading the science labs and library at the Feb. 14 school committee meeting.

The principal of spoke at the Feb. 14 Johnston School Committee about the urgency of upgrading the school’s science laboratories and library to comply with New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEACS) accreditation requirements.

“We have to submit a report by October of 2012 — the idea is we have to show progress in the areas we needed improvement, mainly in technology and science,” said Foley.

At an estimated cost of $75,000 each, the six laboratories would be upgraded in stages to limit disruptions to science courses during the academic year. The library and media center would also get a $17,500 update with new computers and printed materials.

Committee members said they supported the improvements, but didn't know how they would be funded.

“I don’t know how we’re going to do this, to be honest, Gerry,” said Robert LaFazia (Dist. 1). “We’re going to be level-funded for the fifth straight year. The only way I can think of is to bond it out, but I’m not sure the taxpayers are going to like that.”

Committee members agreed to consider the proposal and take steps to fund the improvements, if at all possible.

Foley also told the committe that he would like to introduce several new programs into the high school curriculum including: Architectural Design, Guitar, AP English Composition, AP Biology and AP U.S. History.

These courses would require no additional faculty, but would necessitate sending three teachers away for a week to be certified to teach these courses at an estimated cost of $1200 per teacher, he said.

Other items of note:

  • Work to replace the boilers at Johnston High School are nearing completion and should be completed by March 5, according to Facilities Manager David Cournoyer;
  • Budget workshop dates have been set for March 15 and 20 at 6 p.m. in the Ferri Middle School Library, with a third tentative date of March 22, if needed;
  • Carmine Giarusso's application to the assistant girls' softball coach position at Johnston High School was unanimously rejected for a fourth time.

The next school committee meeting is scheduled for March 13 at 7 p.m. in the library.


Editor's Note: The dates of the upcoming budget hearings were corrected following first pubication of this article.


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