GROTON — Along with a memorandum of understanding (MOU) covering the new football program, the School Committee also considered a second MOU, this time covering a request by a private group called GDSTEM Inc. (Groton-Dunstable Science Technology Engineering Math) that aims to promote the sciences among students in all grades.
Established last year by a partnership between parents and teachers, GDSTEM is a group run by a board of directors and volunteers and plans an ambitious agenda of lectures, activities and science fairs all aimed at promoting interest in the sciences.
At a previous meeting, the committee had asked Gary Hoglund, the group’s representative, to prepare a memorandum of understanding between GDSTEM and the district outlining the exact relationship that would exist between the two. But a glitch developed when Hoglund reappeared before the committee last week and it was noticed that the MOU included language indicating there might be direct cash reimbursements to teachers.
Hoglund was told that although giving gifts such as equipment or books directly to teachers was permitted, the handing over of cash was not. Instead, committee members recommended that either the group buy the needed item first and present it to a teacher, or deposit the funds in a special account with the district that would allow items to be paid for or have teachers reimbursed from there.
With a decision by the committee to postpone a vote on the MOU, Hoglund planned to take members’ concerns back to the GDSTEM group for discussion and subsequent changes made in the language of the document covering the handling of cash to teachers. — Pierre Comtois