LETTER: As past mistake is repeated, voter feels ‘duped, angry’

To the editor:

(This statement was prepared for public comment to Marblehead School Committee at the July 26 meeting, which was cancelled abruptly.)

Because public comment period occurs at the beginning of the meeting, I am forced to guess at the purpose of an agenda item that says “Superintendent Contract — Early Termination Clause.” Did something egregious happen between the superintendent’s May 15 evaluation where he was rated “proficient” (unanimously voted by all five school committee members) and this July 26, 2023 School Committee meeting?  

Or does this committee believe that removal of a superintendent on a whim, without a basis in performance, is just fine? (Something I would characterize as a $90,000 whim that the town/district will have to pay?)

Several members of this current committee were part of the search that brought the superintendent to Marblehead. It is the job of the School Committee to support the superintendent, the district’s educational professional, to make sure he/she is successful. If you are unable to do this as a School Committee member, that is on you (i.e., your personal shortcoming), and you should step back or resign.

Moreover, to those newly elected to the School Committee, I assert that you should have publicly stated your goal in running for office was to remove the superintendent and/or that you had lodged a complaint against him. None of this was revealed to the public at Candidates’ Night and speaking for myself as an engaged voter, I feel duped and angry. Where is that “transparency,” “accountability” and “collaboration” you touted at Candidates’ Night when it applies to your own interaction with the public?

I don’t know what you intended for this evening, but I ask that you delay a vote until the public is fully aware of your reasoning and allowed to weigh in. The School Committee owes the public an explanation, without hiding behind lawyers.

Marblehead has been through this scenario before, in 2013, when the district lost Superintendent Greg Maass due to actions of three members of the School Committee. Alas, apparently the lessons of that massive debacle have not been learned, and we are doomed to repeat these failures, at great cost to us all.

Kathleen Leonardson

Cloutmans Lane

Letter to the editor
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