CITY OF WORCESTER

Education Committee Meeting

Monday, November 21, 2022

Esther Howland (South) Chamber

Convened: 5:37 P.M.

Adjourned: 7:!5 P.M.


Mayor
Joseph M. Petty

 

www.worcesterma.gov

 

Clerk of the City Council
Nikolin Vangjeli

Committee Members

Chairperson Thu Nguyen
Vice Chairperson Donna M Colorio
Councilor Kathleen M Toomey
 

City Hall - 455 Main Street Worcester, Massachusetts


Present Were:Chairperson Councilor Thu Nguyen, who participated remotely Councilor Donna M Colorio Councilor Kathleen M Toomey, who participated remotely
 
Also:Councilor George Russell School Committee Member Tracy O’Connell Novick School Committee Member Jermoh Kamara School Committee Member Susan Mailman Clerk of the School Committee Helen Friel Chief Financial Officer of Worcester Public Schools Brian Allen Facilities Director of Worcester Public Schools James Bedard Chief Financial Officer Timothy McGourthy Commissioner of Public Works and Parks Jay Fink Director of Transportation and Mobility Stephen Rolle Deputy City Clerk Stephen A.J. Pottle Ass
 
1.

Virtual Attendee Call-In Information

1a.

Pursuant to Chapter 20 of the Acts of 2021 and in order to ensure active, public engagement, the City of Worcester currently allows for both in-person and remote participation at all City Council and Standing Committee meetings. To partake in the meeting, you may attend the meeting in-person within the meeting location, follow the below link to join via Zoom or dial the direct line as indicated.

Education Committee Zoom Link: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/96739569567
Education Committee Zoom Phone Number: (929) 205 6099
Education Committee Zoom Access Code: 967 3956 9567

Attachments

1b.

MOMENT OF SILENCE in memory of the five (5) individuals killed in the Colorado Springs, CO Club Shooting, as well as all those effect by hate crimes against the LGBTQ community.

Attachments
2.

Approval of the Minutes

2a.

Order- That the City Council Standing Committee of Education hereby approves the minutes of the Education Committee meeting on May 16, 2022.

View Agenda

Chairperson Councilor Nguyen read the item and moved for a roll call vote to adopt the item. Order adopted on a roll call vote of 3 Yeas and 0 Nays

3.

Miscellaneous Item

3a.

Order of Councilor Thu Nguyen - Request Standing Committee on Education meet jointly with the School Committee’s Standing Committee on Finance and Operations for the purpose of reviewing matters pertaining to public education, the public libraries, arts, culture and higher education listed on their agenda. # 10g CC March 29, 2022

In Committee May 16, 2022 - Held

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor Nguyen read the item and recognized School Committee Member O’Connell Novick, who discussed the item on the School Committee Standing Committee on Finance and Operation’s item, “To consider a communication from the City Clerk regarding the City Council's Standing Committee on Education and the School Committee's Standing Committee on Finance and Operations: To consider meeting jointly on a regular basis throughout the year concerning issues of overlapping interest.”

Chairperson School Committee Member O’Connell Novick read the following two (2) items listed on the Standing Committee on Finance and Operations Committee agenda: 1) “To coordinate with the City on the installation and maintenance of public sidewalks in the interest of student safety” and; 2) “To consider a pilot municipal sidewalk cleaning program in the interest of student and other pedestrian safety and to ensure winter student attendance.”

Chairperson School Committee Member O’Connell Novick recognized School Committee Member Mailman, who spoke concerning the item.

Chairperson School Committee Member O’Connell Novick recognized School Committee Member Kamara, who discussed requests concerning protective mechanisms for sidewalks on Sunderland Rd. in the vicinity of Roosevelt Elementary School.

Chairperson School Committee Member O’Connell Novick recognized the Chief Financial Officer of WPS, who discussed the policy concerning students’ eligibility for transportation and the areas with most complaints concerning lack of sidewalks with the Chief Financial Officer of WPS.

Chairperson Councilor Nguyen recognized the Commissioner of Public Works and Parks, who discussed the challenges concerning snow clearing/removal on sidewalks and the intent and plans concerning the pilot municipal sidewalk cleaning program with Chairperson School Committee Member O’Connell Novick.

Chairperson Councilor Nguyen recognized Councilor Colorio, who discussed the needs for information concerning cost-analysis for the pilot program, how many snow-clearing violations were on sidewalks in the vicinity of schools and who is liable for sidewalk-related injuries with the Commissioner of Public Works and Parks.

Chairperson Councilor Nguyen recognized Councilor Toomey, who discussed the importance of determining the specifics concerning the pilot program, including identifying areas of concerns and ensuring snow-clearing at school bus stop locations.

Chairperson Councilor Nguyen recognized the following speaker:
1. Karin Valentin Goins, Worcester resident, spoke in favor of the item

Chairperson Councilor Nguyen recognized Councilor Toomey, who discussed concerns relative to the lack of sidewalks on Sunderland Rd. and Roosevelt Middle School, traffic on Grafton St. and safety of students and parents during school drop-offs with the Chairperson School Committee Member O’Connell Novick and Commissioner of Public Works and Parks.

Chairperson Councilor Nguyen recognized the Director of Transportation and Mobility, who discussed taking a comprehensive look at the city’s transportation network to develop plans concerning future reconstruction and resurfacing projects, including creation of inventory of sidewalks in the city to identify gaps and sidewalk issues and conditions, expanding the scope of Worcester Now Next plan to have a more detailed transportation element, whether these projects are being informed by foot traffic data to the schools and how the School Department can provide communication concerning said data to the DTM with Chairperson School Committee Member O’Connell Novick.

Chairperson School Committee Member O’Connell Novick recognized School Committee Member Mailman, who discussed cost-analysis for sidewalk plowing.

Chairperson Councilor Nguyen recognized Councilor Russell, who discussed the sidewalk installation process and the needs to increase the budget for sidewalk installation.

Chairperson Councilor Nguyen recognized Councilor Toomey, who discussed the needs to identify the routes most in need of improvements.

Chairperson Councilor Nguyen brought forth the following Chairman’s Orders: 1) Request City Manager request Commissioner of Public Works and Parks provide City Council with report concerning the streets that are most in need of street and sidewalk improvements; 2) Request City Manager request Commissioner of Public Works and Parks provide City Council with report concerning the streets where students often walk to and from schools or have school bus stops without sidewalks, as well as streets that have become dangerous and inaccessible due to the weather such as snow; 3) Request City Manager request Commissioner of Public Works and Parks provide City Council with report concerning the feasibility of piloting a municipal sidewalk snow clearing program in the interest of student and pedestrian safety, as well as to ensure winter student attendance as, per the School Committee; 4) Request City Manager request Commissioner of Public Works and Parks provide City Council with report concerning a cost-analysis of piloting a municipal sidewalk snow clearing program; and 5) Request City Manager request City Solicitor provide City Council with report concerning who would maintain liability of sidewalk-related injuries if the city were to create a municipal sidewalk snow clearing pilot program.

Chairperson School Committee Member O’Connell Novick read the following two (2) items: 1) “To consider both one time and recurring building needs,” and 2) “To consider a communication from City Councilor George Russell.”

Chairperson Councilor Nguyen recognized Councilor Russell, who discussed the current condition of East Middle School building, whether the whole building is qualified for State ARPA grants with the Chief Financial Officer of WPS.

Chairperson School Committee Member O’Connell Novick then discussed the needs to restore the MSBA Accelerated Repair Program with the Chief Financial Officer of WPS.

Chairman's Orders

Request City Manager request Commissioner of Public Works and Parks provide City Council with report concerning the streets that are most in need of street and sidewalk improvements.

Request City Manager request Commissioner of Public Works and Parks provide City Council with report concerning the streets where students often walk to and from schools or have school bus stops without sidewalks, as well as streets that have become dangerous and inaccessible due to the weather such as snow.

Request City Manager request Commissioner of Public Works and Parks provide City Council with report concerning the feasibility of piloting a municipal sidewalk snow clearing program in the interest of student and pedestrian safety, as well as to ensure attendance of students during winter storm events.

Request City Manager request Commissioner of Public Works and Parks provide City Council with report concerning a cost-analysis of piloting a municipal sidewalk snow clearing program.

Request City Manager request City Solicitor provide City Council with report concerning who would maintain liability of sidewalk-related injuries if the city were to create a municipal sidewalk snow clearing pilot program.

Request City Manager work with the State Legislature to address funding support for general repairs and windows at city schools.

Request City Manager work with State Representative Daniel Donahue and State Senator Michael Moore to explore the feasibility of participating in the Local Bottleneck Reduction Program as well as the MRS Grant Program for Street Safety.

Request City Manager work with the Superintendent of Public Schools to provide City Council with report concerning the feasibility of increasing funding to the Worcester Public Schools capital budget.

3b.

See below for continued discussion of Item #3a.

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor Nguyen recognized Councilor Toomey, who discussed feasible alternatives for the issues concerning the windows at East Middle School building.

Chairperson Councilor Nguyen brought forth the following Chairman’s Order: Request City Manager work with the State Legislature to address funding support for general repairs and windows at city schools.

Chairperson School Committee Member O’Connell Novick recognized School Committee Member Kamara, who discussed the language concerning the Chairman’s Order brought forth concerning funding for school building repairs.

Chairperson Councilor Nguyen recognized Councilor Russell, who discussed traffic issues concerning Roosevelt Elementary School that occur because of the afterschool pick-up process and lack of maintenance and usage of the lot of land abutting the school, as well as the feasibility of using said lot of land to alleviate traffic on Grafton St. during afterschool pick-up time.

Chairperson School Committee Member O’Connell Novick recognized Chief Financial Officer of WPS, who discussed the challenges concerning addressing the East Middle School windows and Roosevelt Middle School traffic issues due to capital funding.

Chairperson School Committee Member O’Connell Novick recognized the Facilities Director of WPS, who discussed details concerning the disbursement of Capital Improvement Plan funding.

Chairperson Councilor Nguyen recognized the Chief Financial Officer, who discussed the approach to the creation of the Capital Budget for each fiscal year, funding for MSBA projects and the limitations of capital spending for schools with the Chairperson School Committee Member O’Connell Novick.

Chairperson Councilor Nguyen then discussed how long the school capital budget has been static and how the capital budget amount was determined with the Chief Financial Officer and the Chief Financial Officer of WPS.

Chairperson Councilor Nguyen recognized Councilor Toomey, who discussed working with State Representative Daniel Donahue to determine the feasibility of participating in the Local Bottleneck Reduction Program as well as the MRS Grant Program for Street Safety.

Chairperson Councilor Nguyen recognized Councilor Russell, who discussed the Burncoat Middle School building repairs with Chairperson School Committee Member O’Connell Novick and the Chief Financial Officer of WPS.

Chairperson School Committee Member O’Connell Novick recognized School Committee Member Mailman, who discussed interim solutions to address traffic issues relative to Roosevelt Elementary School.

Chairperson School Committee Member O’Connell Novick recognized School Committee Member Kamara, who discussed the feasibility of working with Representative Dan Donahue relative to grant funding and how the School Committee can support the City Council initiatives with Chairperson Councilor Nguyen and Councilor Toomey.

Chairperson Councilor Nguyen brought forth the following two (2) Chairman’s Orders to read as follows: 1) Request City Manager work with State Representative Daniel Donahue and State Senator Michael Moore to explore the feasibility of participating in the Local Bottleneck Reduction Program as well as the MRS Grant Program for Street Safety; and 2) Request City Manager work with the Superintendent of Public Schools to provide City Council with report concerning the feasibility of increasing funding to the Worcester Public Schools capital budget.

Chairperson Councilor Nguyen moved for a roll call vote to recommend the item be held.

Recommend Hold on a roll call vote of 3 Yeas and 0 Nays