AYER/SHIRLEY -- Among items brought up by School Committee Chairman Joyce Reischutz at the recent meeting was the need for more bicycle racks at the schools, having a paid staff person take over the local Safe Routes to School program, building more actual physical movement breaks into classroom time and ensuring that students are allowed to talk with their peers during meals.

In a Special Town Meeting update, member Pat Kelly said that at the recommendation of the school committee, both Ayer and Shirley turned down the assessments presented to them at their respective town meetings.

"Ayer is not appropriating any particular amount, but is just defeating the budget figure we gave them," he said. "And a positive Shirley meeting last Monday went with the FinCom recommended number, not with the $550,000, but the $350,000."

The Ayer Board of Selectmen set Ayer's Special Town Meeting for Monday, June 24 at 7 p.m. Shirley Town Clerk Amy McDougall requested that Shirley's STM not be set for Tuesday, June 25, the same date as the vote for U.S. Senate and three local override questions.

"A double election is very busy and challenging," she said.

Kelly replied that there is no requirement that the two STM's be on the same night.

The deadline for the two towns to hold a meeting to act upon the appropriation of the recertified budget is June 28. McDougall said that she would check to see if June 24, 26 or 27 would work and get back to the committee.


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Calendar of Events

Kelly reported that the communications subcommittee, which has met twice, has been focusing on getting events from the different schools on the district website and individual school calendars.

"Now, each school has a color so you can identify from which school the event comes, and each school has its own calendar. So now the calendar is completely unified on the website thanks to school staff, (IT Director) Mike Thibeau, and the committee," he said.

High school graduation will take place tonight at 6 p.m. on the Harold G. Norton Memorial Field.

-- Dina Samfield