Cape Elizabeth School Board revamps committee structure

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CAPE ELIZABETH — In an effort to streamline its subcommittee structure, the School Board has reduced the number of standing and advisory committees and member appointments to other committees.

At an Oct. 11 board meeting, Chairwoman Mary Townsend said the standing committees have been reduced from four to two. The Human Resources Committee and the Teaching and Learning Committee were eliminated.

The Finance and Policy committees remain, she said.

The Human Resources Committee was developed to write job descriptions, and the Teaching and Learning Committee was used to work through the curriculum management plan.

Both projects are complete or nearly complete, Townsend said. 

With the new structure, Townsend said, there will be three advisory committees: Legislative Liaison, Positive Action, and Buildings and Grounds. Other advisory committees have been largely inactive:

The Communications Committee was dissolved a year ago, the Strategic Planning Committee has not met in several years, the Sports Done Right Committee is no longer funded and the Extracurricular Committee, developed to address the needs of Hannaford turf field, is no longer needed, Townsend said.

The board also decided there is no need for a Wellness Committee “at this point,” she said, but will be addressed through a strategic plan in the future.

The need for committee appointments has been reduced, too. There will no longer be a School Board representative at the Alternative Energy Committee meetings, since Greg Marles, the facilities director, will attend and report to the board. 

But the board will continue to meet with the Cape Elizabeth Education Foundation, have a Maine School Management Association delegate and a Portland Arts and Technology High School representative. On an as-needed basis, a board member will also attend meetings of the Technology Steering Committee.

“We feel that trimming these committees will allow the board to focus on finance and policy, and support the new superintendent’s goals for the district … as she gets to know the district, and we look to mapping out new goals in January,” Townsend said.

Townsend said the board successfully achieved many of short-term goals that were set in the spring, including hiring a new superintendent, negotiating a three-year teacher contract and completing a budget review.

She said the board will continue to work with teachers to reach specific goals around literacy and professional learning communities.

In other business, board member John Christie said the October finance meeting addressed the audit and controls procedures and how to protect and ensure school spending is being used as expected.

The next two finance meetings scheduled in November and January will address demographics and long-term planning, and shared services and pooled resources, Christie said.

The next School Board meeting is Tuesday, Nov. 8, at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or Follow her on Twitter: @amy_k_anderson