2011-12-15 / Front Page

No choice on school planner

BY DARREN FISHELL Times Record Staff

BRUNSWICK

A Brunswick School Department committee will move ahead to interview the lone applicant for a contract to develop a strategic plan for Brunswick schools after a School Board vote Wednesday night.

District 3 board member Matt Corey said that approximately a dozen potential bidders initially took part in a November conference call about the strategic plan. On Wednesday, board members expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that only one applicant followed through with a bid for the contract.

The primary reason for the low number of applicants, Corey said, was the amount offered for the contract, a concern that at- large board member Michelle Small said she shared when the board approved a request for proposals during an Oct. 12 meeting.

“I think the board was asking for far too much work for $25,000,” Small said Wednesday night.

The district’s outline of what the strategic plan would include states that long-range planning would help the district navigate changing times — citing the closure of Brunswick Naval Air Station and the sale of up to 500 units of former military housing as instances of fluctuating demographics in the town.

Small voted with District 6 board member Janet Connors against interviewing sole applicant Marty Jacobs, president of the consulting firm Systems In Sync, for the contract.

Corey, who chairs the curriculum and program development committee, said the interview will be to determine if the school department and the consultants “have enough common ground to pro- ceed forward.”

According to a questionand answer document about the request for proposals, Superintendent Paul Perzanoski wrote that the district expects to complete a strategic plan by January 2013 to consider items therein for that year’s budget cycle.

Facilities

On Friday, the school department’s facilities committee will hear the first report from consultants laying out a plan for school department buildings.

District 1 board member Rich Ellis, chairman of the school department’s facilities committee, said the meeting would be the committee’s first look at plans that analyze potential uses for the mothballed Jordan Acres School and the town-owned building that formerly housed The Times Record. Ellis said the town has offered the school department first refusal on The Times Record building.

For other school department facilities — such as Coffin School — Ellis said consultants from Harriman Inc. will provide initial assessments of major systems in the building with cost estimates for the work to be completed at some of those sites.

The facilities committee will meet at 8:45 a.m. Friday in the conference room at the former Hawthorne School, 46 Federal St.

Educational TV

The board also discussed Wednesday night the use of four local cable television stations currently designated for educational programming.

Ellis, a member of the department’s political action and media committee, represented the School Board during a recent meeting of the town’s cable television committee, and said that with a contract about to expire, access to those channels could be lost if the school department does not decide to develop programming for the stations.

However, the current lack of school department programming on the town’s channel 3 station, Ellis said, gives him some cause for concern about the need for retaining those channels.

Connors expressed concern about the cost of filling a cable station with programming from the school department, as she said that amount of work “would have to be a paid position.”

“You can’t ask someone to volunteer and have that kind of responsibility,” Connors said.

Ellis agreed that it would be impractical for the school department to create a new staff position to program content for the stations but that a partnership with other local educational entities such as Bowdoin College or Southern New Hampshire University could be a way to use the stations.

The next meeting of the town’s cable television committee will be on Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at Brunswick Station, 16 Station Ave.

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