SEPAC Meeting – May 14, 2019

Call to Order


– Alison and Lynn attended

Approve Minutes from April:

– Minutes approved

Officers/Committee Reports:

– Nothing new to report

Workshops for the Coming Year:

APS Staff Reports:

– The budget was approved at Town Meeting, including the additional Chapter 70 state funding. Now we can post new positions.

– The 5th to 6th grade transition meeting for students and families is the 16th at Gibbs and 6th to 7th transition meeting is on May 30th at Ottoson.

-The town is renting the Parmenter School beginning in the fall of 2020 for the preschool program.

AHS Building Project Update (with Mr. Thielman and Dr. Janger):

– Mr. Thielman could not attend.

Dr. Janger:

– Special Education needs and support systems were central in the discussion of the new High School design. The accessibility of community spaces in the new design is improved. There is a central spine, or “commons”, so there are two main entrances so students can come into the building from two different directions.

– The new plan for special education is to have all programs and academic support located around this central commons instead of in many corners of the current building. “Centrally located but discreetly accessed.” If a student wants to take a walk in the current building, they’ll get lost, but the space is much more open and visible in the new design. Programs will be clustered vertically so staff can be close to each other and collaborate. The Compass Program will have a space/apartment where they can practice activities of daily living. There will also be a cafe and school store which will be run by special education students.

– There are many more elevators in the new design. Each “tower” has its own elevator. The only space that wouldn’t be accessible would be the “monumental stairs.”

– We went to Billerica because they have a similar design, to investigate how the design impacts sound and light of the space. Sound treatments are planned to keep the sound/echoing level down.

– The preschool is near the central offices. The preschool numbers are made up of students who come for the full/half day and students who come in for related services (speech, OT, PT). The numbers provided to the architects were end of year numbers for last year, and include the satellite class over at Peirce because there isn’t enough room for all preschool students. Preschool will have a separate drop-off and entrance.

– LABBB has its own entrance at the back of the school.

– Ramps for bike and wheelchairs give access from the bike path and from Mass Ave.

– Bathroom access will be improved and gender-neutral bathrooms will be added at the location of every single other bathroom.

– Town-wide debt exclusion vote on June 11th.

If we don’t fund the project, taxpayers will need to foot 250M building project that will take 5 years instead of the current 208M two-stage project with the MSBA funding. It will cost more and take longer if the debt exclusion fails, and we are at risk of losing our accreditation. We don’t want to have the debt exclusion fail and pay 3 times as much like Lincoln-Sudbury did after they voted down their MSBA project.

Visit for more information, design drawings, project cost details, extensive FAQ and the Ponderings Blog.

SEPAC Board Nominations:

-Sarah was nominated for Member At Large, Inae for Chair and Jessica for Secretary.

Public Participation/ New Business/ Open Discussion: