100WVN #100: Town Center Forum/School Comm Looks Ahead
- Jul 23, 2005Wayland Voters Network
July 23, 2005
Dear Wayland Voter,
The proposed Town Center commercial-residential project is drawing
considerable attention, and some skepticism. More than 40 residents
attended a recent Planning Board session to air their concerns. The
Road Commissioners will seek public opinion about traffic impacts at
a public forum at 7:30 p.m. at the Town Building on Tuesday July 26.
Wayland Citizens Against Reckless Development, calling itself a
grassroots organization, is calling attention to potentially huge
traffic problems, asking "Are you ready for 19,000 more cars a day?"
For information from the developers and their supporters, see
For the Planning Board's work on the project, see www.wayland.ma.us.
On another subject, we are gratified at the response to our call for
volunteers to make copies for neighbors lacking email. Dozens of
Waylanders are now receiving our newsletters this way. But many have
not been matched yet. So we ask again, if you are willing to make and
deliver copies (no more than four) of our newsletters for neighbors
without email, please reply to this message and let us know.
The following report on the School Committee retreat on June 27 was
prepared by WVN subscriber Tom Sciacca.
SC 6/27/05: Looking Ahead
The School Committee held a "retreat" in the Public Safety Building
conference room to consider longer-range strategic issues. They heard
background reports from Director of Technology Jean Tower regarding
technology, Director of Student Services Doris Goldthwaite on the
special needs program, and Assistant Superintendent Wayne Ogden on
curriculum. Most of the discussion focused on issues primarily of
internal interest to the School Department. A few notes of broader
Member Bob Gordon said that every year the School Department is asked
to help the town with its computer services, and asked whether they
are in any better position to help now than last year. The consensus
was that the Town simply doesn't have enough technical resources and
would drag down the school services.
There are now 550 children with special needs contracts and parents
are increasingly asserting their rights. The state will do a "program
review" of Wayland next year, checking that all SPED regulations are
being met. " I am pleased that we were able to stabilize the
percentage of kids in Sped," said Goldthwaite. "I think our special
education program is outstanding. I do think people move here to take
advantage of it," said Superintendent Gary Burton.
With regard to curriculum, Burton said, "We invest more money in
teaching literacy skills than any other aspect of our curriculum."
Member Louis Jurist said, "Elementary math is recognized as a
potential weakness." Ogden said the math audit currently underway
would result in ten recommendations for next year. Burton
commented, "Our Fine Arts program is clearly a priority in this
school system." Ogden explained that the high school is the least
sophisticated of Wayland's schools in having multiple ways of
teaching to match differing ways of learning.
Moving on, Chair Jeff Dieffenbach led a brief discussion of the Open
Meeting Law, including restrictions on casual meetings, email, and
telephone meetings. He said that in general the chair should talk to
the press. "If they call you, refer them to me," he said.
Member Heather Pineault spoke to the issue of community
relations. "We need to do a better job of reaching out to the
public," she said, suggesting a regular Crier column as a
possibility. She suggested an early fall budget hearing to involve
the public early in the budget process. Dieffenbach skeptically
asked, "What would the outline of (such a hearing) be?" Member
Barbara Fletcher commented, "We need to continue to go the extra
step." Jurist added, "We should show what we're NOT funding to hold
the bottom line." Burton interjected, "You should come up with what
you believe is an appropriate level of funding regardless of what the
As the discussion turned to a potential override vote next year,
Jurist noted that the Fincom had already said another one would be
needed next year and yet the override passed comfortably in April, so
he questioned the concern among the members about another override
passing next year. Pineault responded that they really need to show
next year that they have done everything they can to cut costs to
justify another override.
Burton said that some people just say you should run the schools for
less money. Gordon responded, "I think virtually everyone, even
school supporters, asks that I think it's time to talk seriously
about selling our property - what if we strike a deal to encumber tax
revenues from the development (of sold-off school property) for
school purposes?" Dieffenbach suggested trading the school department
parcel on Alpine Road for land at the Paine Estate, which he
described as currently not being used. Pineault responded, "It's
conservation land. It's being used."
Burton told the committee, "We're the seventh or eighth most
expensive school district to operate in the state," but he believes
that's what the School Committee and the town want.
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Wayland Voters Network
Margo Melnicove and Michael Short, Editors