All-Island School Committee begins superintendent budget discussions


The All-Island School Committee (AISC) got a jump on the new school year and its shared services budget, the superintendent’s evaluation, and personnel issues in a meeting Tuesday night.

In an initial discussion of his budget for fiscal year 2015, which includes special education (SPED) and other services shared by Island schools, superintendent of schools James Weiss said there will be costs for four major items to consider. Those include additions to the SPED program, maintenance funds for his office building at 4 Pine Street in Vineyard Haven, administrator and non-union salary funds, and funds to conduct a search for his replacement before his contract ends on June 30, 2015.

Mr. Weiss said he would provide draft budget numbers at the AISC’s next meeting on October 23.

In other business, personnel subcommittee chairman Dan Cabot of West Tisbury said the first step in the evaluation of Mr. Weiss has been completed and provided to him, as required under the state’s new educator evaluation system. The report is a combination of five done separately by school committees at the three down-Island elementary schools, and the Up-Island Regional and Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School school districts.

Mr. Cabot said the committees agreed that Mr. Weiss is already well on his way to meeting three of his four goals. The fourth, improving MCAS scores in Island elementary schools, is dependent on seeing the scores, which will be released this week.

As a next step, Mr. Cabot said that the final report will be submitted to the state in December will rate Mr. Weiss according to performance levels that include exemplary, proficient, needs improvement, and unsatisfactory.

In an update on this year’s school openings, Mr. Weiss said enrollment is up to 2085, an increase of about about 30 students compared to last year. Over the summer about 100 people were hired or transferred into new positions in the Martha’s Vineyard Public Schools, out of a total staff of about 550.

At Mr. Weiss’s request, the AISC voted to approve two appointments he made to his staff, which include Philip Campbell as the director of student support services, and Matthew D’Andrea as the assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction. Since both will be starting their new jobs in November, Mr. Weiss said their salaries will be prorated. Mr. D’Andrea has a two-year contract, with a starting annual salary of $115,000. Mr. Campbell’s contract is for three years, at a starting annual salary of $120,100.