Third-grade teacher approved at PES

ConVal School Board

ConVal School Board COURTESY PHOTO


Monadnock Ledger-Transcript 

Published: 05-23-2024 12:01 PM

In response to parent concerns about crowded third-grade classrooms at Peterborough Elementary School, the ConVal School Board approved an additional third-grade teacher at PES next year during Tuesday night’s meeting.

“This is a question of equity. These third-grade teachers at PES would have much larger class sizes than the other teachers,” said School Board Chair Dick Dunning of Peterborough. 

Adding a third teacher would bring class size in PES’ third grade down to a projected 14 students per classroom in 2024-2025. While the board passed the motion, Superintendent Kimberly Rizzo Sanders said that adding any new positions to the budget  “was a gamble.” 

“I just want to be clear that we have had to cut 5½ positions at the high school in order to meet our budget. As I have said before, we are bleeding the high school and the middle schools dry to keep the smaller schools open, and our special education costs keep going up.  You are exacerbating the problem,” Rizzo Saunders said. 

According to next year’s school population projections, Temple, Dublin, Francestown and Bennington elementary schools will all have combined grades next year due to low numbers. Rizzo Saunders noted the enrollment numbers would solidify going into the end of the school year, but most likely would not change dramatically before September. 

Concern over AD proposal

During the public comment section of the meeting, several ConVal parents and staff expressed concern about the proposal to eliminate the middle school athletic director positions and put all middle school and high school sports under the umbrella of one ConVal-based AD.

The proposal, which was presented at the May 7 School Board meeting by South Meadow School Principal Tim Conway, Great Brook School Principal Adam Caragher and ConVal Assistant Principal Richard Simoneau, outlined a plan to create a single ConVal athletic director position encompassing Great Brook, South Meadow and ConVal sports. 

Kelly Shirk of Greenfield, who graduated from ConVal in 2007 and now coaches field hockey and softball, said she had doubts about the proposal.

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“If you add it up, there are almost 45 teams between the three schools. I question whether one person can actually  handle that,” Shirk said. 

After hearing public comments and brief discussion, the board voted to postpone the vote on the athletic director decision. 

In another matter, citing to the ongoing demands of Feasibility Study Committee, which has until November to present findings on the viability of Francestown and Dublin withdrawing from the district, and Rizzo Saunders’ announcement that she will be departing the ConVal School District as of Aug. 22 to become superintendent of a district in Pennsylvania., the board voted to postpone the district’s strategic plan and implementation of three-year goals for one year. 

At a public hearing before the regular meeting, ConVal Facilities Director Tim Grossi presented bids on an emergency roof repair at PES.

“The seams in that roof have failed,” Grossi said. “The rubber in the seams has degraded to the point where the roof is not longer sealed.” 

The board approved spending no more than $200,000 from the Capital Reserve Fund to repair the roof.