Extended Day update: NSBORO releases decision process overview; School Committee vote on Wednesday

Above: NSBORO’s administration responded to a public campaign to reverse its recommendation to replace the longtime runner of Southborough elementary schools’ extended day program.

On Friday, I shared news that the Northborough-Southborough Public Schools administration is planning to replace the longtime non-profit that runs its before and after school program with a for-profit company. Since then, NSBORO Superintendent Gregory Martineau issued an email to parents about the decision process.

Martineua’s Friday night email explains the RFP process, plus how proposals were evaluated and by who. What isn’t included in all of the information is why Kidsborough’s proposal was found superior to the proposal from the Southborough Extended Day Program (SEDP).

That may be explained in a School Committee Meeting this Wednesday night.

According to Martineau’s email, the School Committee will be convening on the topic. The agenda for the 6:30 pm meeting on June 23rd includes Presentation of the Before-and After-School Extended Day Program Selection Process and Recommendation and Audience Sharing prior to the School Committee’s vote.

(Click here for the agenda with the webinar link.)

Although the pending vote means the decision isn’t final, Martineau’s message indicates he believes it is a fait compli:

This decision impacts many Southborough families and community members. For that reason, the procurement process was conducted in an attentive and thorough manner. M.G.L. Chapter 30B requires that local governments follow a prescribed procedure for procuring goods and services. It also requires that the contract be awarded to the bidder submitting the most advantageous proposal, taking into consideration the proposals’ relative merits and prices. Today, June 18, 2021, we reviewed the process with legal counsel and the Massachusetts Office of the Inspector General to ensure the process was completed with integrity.

Based on the outcome of the Wednesday, June 23, 2021, Southborough School Committee Special Meeting, we will begin the transition process from SEDP to Kidsborough. Information will be sent to families regarding the program, including rates and dates of operation.

Petitioners seeking to “Save” SEDP are clearly hoping the vote won’t ratify the recommendation. They are asking those who signed the petition to register to attend the virtual meeting.

As for what Martineau’s message does clarify, it explains that the school was required to use a legal procurement process, and:

The District determined that a RFP process was preferable to issuing an Invitation for Bids (IFB). The RFP process allows the District to evaluate organizations based on the quality requirements and evaluative criteria outlined in the RFP document. This process is different from most procurement because the determination is not solely based on price.

Between the message and a linked document, the RFP process is described in detail. Proposals were judged by the proposed provider’s experience, Program Plans, and Staffing Plans. Program Plans needed to show accessibility for all children and families. Staffing plans should have encompassed “Staffing, Training and Program Quality”. 

The RFP included the following questions to applicants:

  • How will you accommodate children and families from different cultural and language backgrounds?
  • How will you accommodate children with special needs, including children with behavioral issues?
  • How will your program contribute to and enhance the mission of the Southborough Public Schools?
  • What are the required qualifications for each staff member involved with the program?
  • What staffing ratios will be employed?
  • What kind of training program do you have in place for staff members – both initial and ongoing?
  • What type of internal quality monitoring program do you have in place?

Martineau’s message also assured that the proposals were evaluated for those “non-price” criteria before price proposals for the annual rental fee were opened.

The review committee was comprised of four high level NSBORO staff members: Marie Alan, Director of Student Support Services; Keith Lavoie, Asst. Superintendent of Operations (and former Trottier Middle School Principal); Steven Mucci, Principal, Woodward School; and Rebecca Pellegrino, Director of Finance. They evaluated proposal from four vendors: AlphaBEST, Champions, Kidsborough, and SEDP.

But among all of the details and descriptions, Martineau didn’t include links to the proposals submitted by Kidsborough and SEDP. He also didn’t include a synopsis of the scores and comments from the review committee.

(On Friday, I had asked if I could get the proposals and an explanation for why Kidsborough was selected. The response I received pointed me to look for the public statement later that day.)

For the overview of the process and evaluation criteria, click here. Click the following links for the issued RFP and addendum(The addendum included updates to the RFP and answers to potential applicants’ questions.)

For the petition with over 950 signatures as of this morning, click here.

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