Vineyard Schools superintendent Dr. James H. Weiss hopes to move his office from its current location in Vineyard Haven to the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School by the year 2014.
The plan, discussed by the building subcommittee of the regional high school district committee on Monday night, would include the sale of the superintendent’s building on Pine street in Vineyard Haven adjacent to the Tisbury School, with the proceeds applied toward building some kind of annex for office space at the high school campus. The space could also house the Rebecca Amos Institute, an alternative learning program, and possibly even a facility for MVTV, Mr. Weiss said.
An early-stage plan last year to relocate the superintendent’s office to the old Edgartown School has been scrapped because Edgartown is now again exploring the possibility of converting the space to a new library facility. An act of the state legislature, required for the school district to sell the superintendent’s building, has been passed, so the property may now be put on the market. But that leaves the problem of where to relocate.
“I’ve looked around the Island, talked to some realtors and there really isn’t anything that we could move to that would meet our needs without an awful lot of work,” Mr. Weiss told subcommittee members on Monday night. “It leaves us, I believe, with only one possibility to solve this problem . . . This is a long process, I believe we need to start the process now.”
He said the building was appraised nearly three years ago at $600,000, but a new appraisal may be needed. There is some concern that it may not pass a septic inspection. There are 20 people who work in the building, and another 20 who use it in association with contracted education services such as speech therapy. The current building is not accessible for people with handicaps, a source of concern for at least one committee member.
“We owe it to the individuals at the superintendent’s office and the families who use it for private consultation,” said Leslie Baynes. Mr. Baynes encouraged MVTV to have internship opportunities for high school students if they were involved in the new facility. Mr. Weiss said he would create a plan and timeline for the building committee to examine at their next meeting.
At the regular high school district committee meeting that followed, the first meeting of the new school year, there were good reports from opening day. “While every day can be a challenge, it was a very good opening of school,” Mr. Weiss told committee members. “There are lots of kids and lots of classrooms doing good things.”
Student representative Rachel Perez listed this year’s student council’s goals, which included increasing senior privileges, increasing school spirit, creating a new mascot and more discussion about student athlete tardy policies. A senior lounge, school spirit store and the option to sleep in on Mondays until 9 a.m. once a month were new items proposed to the committee.
“You have a lot of data to make a good case,” Mr. Baynes said, drawing smiles, in response to the sleeping-in idea. “Welcome aboard.”
High school principal Stephen Nixon announced a plan to feature monthly student spotlights at future committee meetings where students nominated by parents, faculty and staff will come before the board to discuss their achievements. Last year, Mr. Nixon had different departments give presentations. Mr. Nixon announced the high school had received the 2010 sportsmanship award for district D for outstanding manners on and off the field. Mr. Weiss also received a thank-you note from the Blackstone Valley Technical High School football coach, thanking the Vineyarders for their hospitality during a preseason scrimmage.
Personnel changes this year include Matthew Malowski and Andrew Berry moving into interim assistant principal posts. Longtime special education teacher Arthur Cormier will retire after serving Island students for 33 years; computer science teacher Jeff Bernier and social studies teacher Wendy Biddle will also retire.
There are 12 new faculty positions this year.
School finance manager Mark Friedman reported the 2010 fiscal year, which ended June 30, stayed on budget. Budget discussions for 2012 begin next month. The coming year will include a new contract for food services at the high school. The current provider is Chartwells.
Perhaps reflecting the national trend, committee members indicated that healthy eating for young people is on their minds.
“Food service is very important and obesity is an epidemic,” Mr. Baynes said, adding: “Maybe we need to spend more money on making menus better. I really hope we’re looking at that.”