School officials closer to decision on new start times

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The School Department has moved closer to making a decision on a later start time for Canton High School beginning next school year, coinciding with the proposed addition of six new buses as part of the next capital budget.

Under the current proposal, CHS would open at 8 a.m. — 40 minutes later than the current opening time of 7:20 a.m. — while the Galvin Middle School would open five minutes later at 7:50 a.m.

School Superintendent Jeff Granatino said at last Thursday’s School Committee meeting that the plan is nearing approval with a final decision expected to be announced in January. School Committee member Reuki Schutt is overseeing a subcommittee of administrators and parents to finalize the plan.

In other news, the School Committee plans to meet with selectmen on December 16 to update the board on its planned four-classroom expansion at the Hansen School and related debt-exclusion override request. The override would require the approval of voters at town meeting and in a subsequent town election.

The cost for the expansion is pegged at $3.349 million; however, School Business Manager Barry Nectow said the cost could decrease if the classrooms are shifted to a paved playground area and the playground area is moved to another part of the school. In related news, School Committee Chairman Cindy Thomas asked committee member John Bonnanzio to expedite a report of the School Building Study Committee regarding future space needs for all school buildings. Bonnanzio is expected to present the report to the committee in January.

Also at the December 4 meeting, committee members came closer to approving a capital plan for the next fiscal year. The proposed long-term debt portion of the budget includes $540,000 for the extra buses to accommodate the new school start times and $300,000 for the system-wide interactive whiteboard project. The cost of the program was originally pegged at $350,000, but it has decreased by $50,000 through grants and donations.

The committee also endorsed Granatino’s proposed cash capital budget for FY16, with a formal vote expected at the December 18 meeting. Department heads and school principals had submitted $1.76 million in requests, but Granatino whittled them down to meet the $550,000 cap set by the Finance Committee and Finance Director Jim Murgia.

In summary, the cash capital plan includes $234,544 for district-wide building improvements; $95,751 for technology expenditures; nearly $130,000 for textbooks at CHS and GMS; and $40,258 for system-wide furniture and fixtures.

See this week’s Canton Citizen for more highlights from the December 4 School Committee meeting. Not a subscriber? Click here to order your subscription today.

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