The Wellesley School Committee has come under fire of late along with Wellesley school administrators, but a citizen group is urging residents to support the School Committee’s efforts to strengthen the town’s school operations.
In the latest newsletter from Committee 21, the nonprofit advocacy group for Wellesley Public Schools states: “While difficulties concerning the Wellesley Public Schools have been reported recently in the news, it is important to recognize that School Committee is taking corrective action and working to rebuild the trust within the Wellesley community.” Committee 21 goes on to suggest that increased use of fees to fund school sports and other activities put a burden on the school’s business office that it was unable to withstand, requiring some of the recent changes, including appointment of an interim business manager in light of Ruth Quinn Berdell recently taking paid administrative leave.
As we reported over the weekend, parents less tolerant of the School Committee and administration’s recent track record have launched a separate campaign, including a Facebook page, to help bring about change.
As for Committee 21, in addition to addressing controversy over the school business office, it also weighed in on the recent thefts at Wellesley Middle School and concerns about hiring people with criminal records. “Safety and alleged theft allegations regarding the middle school custodian highlight the current legal limitations of using CORI checks when conducting employment references. While federal legislation is being reviewed, it is currently illegal to base hiring decisions on background information outside of data provided by a CORI search. In the meantime, School Committee is working with the Police Department and legal counsel to revise policies.”
Committee 21 also started laying groundwork to support an override next year to ensure “level services” continue to be offered through the Wellesley Public School system. The group is encouraging residents to become more informed by attending public sessions about the school and town budgets over the next couple of months.