The Plympton School Committee met virtually on Monday, June 14 mainly to tie up some loose ends from the previous meeting on June 1 and to discuss the awarding of the playground bid.
Director of Business Services Christine Healy took the lead on the playground discussion. Healy said that they would be reaching out to Higher Education Consortium to purchase the materials for the new playground. After going out to bid for the installation, four vendors submitted bids. Healy explained that the base bid is for the original plan and design. What they are referring to as “Alternate Number 1” is a plan that would replace any wood chips in the original design with additional rubberized surface. Not including installation, Healy said that the cost of the additional rubberized surface is $99,000.
After receiving all necessary paperwork from the vendors as well as vetting their references, Healy said that the lowest bid for the base bid came from Rock Solid Construction. She recommended to the Committee that they award the bid to them which they voted to do unanimously. They also voted to allow Healy to reach out to the local consortium regarding equipment.
Regarding cost, Healy said, “We’re right at that number; we don’t have extra.” She did note that the cost of the design company should be able to be absorbed in this current year’s budget. “This is pretty tight,” Chair of the Committee Jon Wilhelmsen agreed. As a result of certain students graduating, he noted, “Clearly we won’t have the level of school choice funds next year.” Healy said, however, that whatever school choice funds there are can be available as soon as they come in and noted that they come in all 12 months.
Wilhelmsen asked, “Do we have to hold back on a piece of equipment or do we feel comfortable that we can get this done?” Vice Chair Jason Fraser reminded Wilhelmsen that there would be another $25,000 coming in that was benchmarked for rubberized surface.
Regarding just how tight the budget would be, Healy remarked, “I think we have $2,000 left over.”
In addition to the playground discussion, the Committee discussed a number of topics that were covered in their June 1 meeting. Wilhelmsen said, “We have successfully negotiated a one-year contract with the aides for the Dennett which we were happy to do.” The Committee voted unanimously to approve the contract.
They also voted unanimously to approve the policies as outlined by Fraser during their previous meeting.
There was also continued discussion regarding after school activities. Committee member Amy Hempel has been working directly with Dennett Principal Peter Veneto to organize some after school activities as early as this fall. Hempel’s proposal was shared with the other Committee members.
Hempel said that one of the biggest hurdles was figuring out how to break things out for the different age groups. She acknowledged that it would be a learning experience. Wilhelmsen said he agreed and said that was to be expected when endeavoring to do something new, particularly something he called “ambitious.”
Committee member Dan Cadogan asked if there was anything they could do in terms of additional fundraising outside of what was already being done.
Hempel said that help was always welcome though she said she wasn’t certain of the rules regarding the School Committee engaging in that type of help. Fraser said that it would depend on what hat one was wearing at the time but noted that there was nothing precluding anyone on the Committee from helping out individually.
Wilhelmsen agreed noting that it would be important to keep the distinction between helping as a parent or community member versus as part of the School Committee.
Hempel said that she wants to keep the equipment, etc. used for the programs separate from that used by Plympton Athletic Youth Sports (PAYS). She explained that the equipment used by PAYS is sometimes loaned out to Coastal Snap. “Donations are probably something we are going to have to look for,” Hempel said.
Before adjourning, Wilhelmsen thanked Hempel and PAYS for the resounding success of their annual bike ride to school day.
Veneto nodded vigorously in agreement. Wilhelmsen said he had heard good things regarding the ride from both the Police Chief as well as one of the Selectmen.