school committee vice-chair

Swampscott in search of $1.6m eraser for schools

By GAYLA CAWLEY

SWAMPSCOTT — School officials are scrambling to come up with ways to erase a $1.6 million budget deficit.

Swampscott School Business Administrator Evan Katz said the projected FY18 school budget exceeds available revenue by $1.6 million. He said school officials have been notified that the town’s allocation increase for the school budget is roughly $750,000. Last year, the town allocated an additional $1.1 million to the schools.

Katz said the $750,000 town increase won’t even cover the projected $960,000 in salary increases for school employees and teachers. The school district is in the midst of teacher contract negotiations, and the figure is based on an anticipated 1.5 percent raise for educators.

“The school committee has done a really good job of negotiating favorable contracts with staff,” Katz said. “The town needs to understand that $750,000 doesn’t even cover our favorable contract settlements.”

Another $700,000 is needed to fully fund the FY17 budget, which was underfunded in areas such as facilities maintenance and special education tuition and transportation. He said those areas that were underfunded last year need to be planned for in the upcoming budget.

The third major area driving the deficit is the projected additional $700,000 needed for anticipated budget increases such as special education and facilities.

Katz, Superintendent Pamela Angelakis and the School Committee are faced with cuts in the budget or raising fees to reduce expenses, if they can’t count on more town funds. Katz said a staff vacancy might not be filled when an employee leaves, and staff and programming cuts are likely with the size of the budget gap.

“We want to maintain the educational quality we have,” he said. “We don’t want to cut positions. We don’t want to do anything that’s going to affect the quality of classroom instruction. At the same time, we want to settle the teachers’ contracts.”

Angelakis said cuts and other options to reduce expenses is not the direction she wants to see the district moving forward, but said the reality is in the numbers.

The school leadership team will present some options to reduce expenses to the school committee at their scheduled Jan. 11 meeting.

“We’re sort of in a crunch and feeling it hard and sort of wanting the town to know what we’re feeling,” said Amy O’Connor, school committee vice-chair.


Gayla Cawley can be reached at gcawley@itemlive.com. Follow her on Twitter @GaylaCawley.

School Committee member is in a class by herself

ITEM FILE PHOTO
Patricia Capano

By GAYLA CAWLEY

LYNN — The longest sitting member on the Lynn School Committee has received state recognition for her leadership, sustained service and commitment to students.

Patricia Capano, school committee vice-chair, is being honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC), at an awards dinner tonight at 7 p.m. at the Resort and Conference Center at Hyannis, 35 Scudder Ave.

“It’s humbling immediately,” Capano said. “That’s how I immediately felt. I was surprised. Then, I was humbled by it.”

Capano has served on the school committee, which is a member of MASC, for 20 years. She said it’s the first time a member from the city’s school committee has been recognized with the award during her tenure.

Glenn Koocher, MASC executive director, said he couldn’t recall the last time someone was recognized from Lynn. Capano was nominated by the MASC Board of Directors.

“She’s being recognized for her two decades of work on the school committee, for her civic involvement and for someone who’s recognized as a leader on the board,” said Koocher.

Koocher said Capano is one of 10 people being given a lifetime achievement award at the dinner.

When she found out she was being recognized, Capano said she started reflecting back on her time as a school committee member. A lot has changed in education, she added, citing the revamping of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) and schools transitioning to treating the child as a whole, with a growth of social workers in the buildings. She said Lynn schools have also become more diverse with a higher enrollment of English language learners.

“I think Lynn is a standout,” she said. “Lynn is doing a great job of serving and meeting the needs of so many students.”

Superintendent Dr. Catherine C. Latham said it was “absolutely fitting” that Capano was being honored for her work on the school committee.

“She has worked tirelessly over the past 20 years as a strong advocate for children in Lynn, supporting all of the superintendents, principals and teachers with whom she has worked,” she said. “She consistently and thoroughly researches important issues and educates herself and her fellow school committee members on key policy decisions before voting. Mrs. Capano is reliable, dependable and highly ethical, and it has been my honor, pleasure and privilege to work directly with her for the past eight years.”


Gayla Cawley can be reached at gcawley@itemlive.com. Follow her on Twitter @GaylaCawley.

Swampscott has high grades for superintendent

ITEM FILE PHOTO
Pamela Angelakis

By GAYLA CAWLEY

SWAMPSCOTT — Superintendent Pamela Angelakis has received a raise, based on a positive evaluation from the Swampscott School Committee.

The school committee unanimously approved a 1.5 percent raise for Angelakis on Wednesday night. Before the raise, her salary was $158,488, according to School Business Administrator Evan Katz.

The $2,377 raise, for a new $160,865 salary, is effective immediately, and retroactive to last July. Last year, Angelakis received a 2.25 percent raise, increasing her $155,000 former salary, Katz said.

“We really want the people of Swampscott to know that she has a 1.5 percent (raise), but this isn’t indicative of anything less than a job very well done,” said Amy O’Connor, school committee vice-chair. “If we were in a different financial situation, she would have a larger raise, but we just can’t do that at this time.”

The 27-year veteran of Swampscott schools was hired as superintendent in January 2014. Before that, she served as assistant superintendent for more than a year. Angelakis was also principal of Stanley School for eight years and was a teacher before that.

Angelakis received a “proficient” on her evaluation from the school committee, which was unanimously approved at the end of September. O’Connor said the superintendent met expectations across the board, with some areas where she was strong, and others that she was growing towards.

“All in all, she did well,” O’Connor said.

One notable strength for Angelakis in the review is an exemplary response to crisis situations. O’Connor said that more specifically refers to incidents such as the disgraced former Swampscott High School Principal Edward Rozmiarek and a hazing incident involving football players from the school.

Rozmiarek resigned in 2015, after a Beverly Police investigation revealed that he had a series of graphic Internet chats with someone he thought was a 13-year-old girl. The police report said that he was actually corresponding with a decoy from a nonprofit group called the Perverted Justice Foundation.

Another related strength listed for the superintendent is that she has shown leadership and flexibility in the realignment of the middle and high school leadership. Following Rozmiarek’s departure, Angelakis appointed Assistant Principal Frank Kowalski as interim principal through June 2016. Later, she appointed Robert Murphy, the former principal of Swampscott Middle School, as the high school principal for this school year. Jason Calichman, the former assistant principal of the middle school, was upgraded to the principal. She has said she hopes both will apply when their respective positions are posted.

Other notable strengths included her being transparent and open in all professional matters, creating and maintaining a positive and cooperative relationship with town government and diligent work to build a strong central office team.

Areas listed in the review that Angelakis needs to develop include technology vision and planning, a focus on site visits and the development of a communication strategy.

“Technology continues to be a major concern for all members of the school committee and will continue to insist that this be a major focus for the superintendent and the district,” the committee wrote in its review. “It is understood that successful completion of this goal was impeded by staffing issues in the technology department. The committee hopes that sufficient reorganization of that department will allow for forward progress to me in the upcoming year.”

Suzanne Wright, a school committee member, wrote in her review that Angelakis has improved her communication with the community, but she wanted to see more regular updates on the superintendent webpage and more internal communication with the school committee. But her overall review was positive.

“Overall, Ms. Angelakis continues to have a positive impact on the function and reputation of the SPS (Swampscott Public Schools),” she wrote. “This year saw the beneficial impact of central office reorganization, the hiring of a joint facilities director, human resource coordination, director of curriculum and instruction, and the smooth transition of a new director of student services. The central office seems to be running with many more efficiencies than ever.

“I appreciate Ms. Angelakis’ high expectations for all students, all staff, and especially for herself,” Wright continued. “I am hopeful that she will continue to challenge school practices that have been in place for a long time.”

Angelakis could not be reached for comment in time for the Daily Item deadline.


Gayla Cawley can be reached at gcawley@itemlive.com. Follow her on Twitter @GaylaCawley.