LETTER: Students, teachers, staff need stability to be successful

To the editor:

This letter was emailed to the School Committee on July 26 to be submitted for public record.

Dear Members of the Marblehead School Committee,

To be placed in public record, I am writing to you in regards to the agenda item, “Superintendent Contract — Early Termination Clause” for tonight’s, Wednesday, July 26, school meeting.

I am a parent of a 2021 MHS graduate and also parent to a rising senior at the high school. As a volunteer for the past 13 years, I have been and am currently very involved in our schools and am committed to their success.

I am greatly concerned about tonight’s discussion regarding the early termination of Dr. John Buckey’s contract. It is also very worrisome that this agenda item tonight has not been well communicated to our community. A discussion of this importance requires significant and thoughtful input from faculty, staff, parents and other stakeholders.

Add to this concern, to have this discussion during the summer while vacations are common and when people are not as “tuned in” as during the school year is very poor timing.

Early termination of our superintendent’s contract is a major decision, one with widespread implications. In our current environment, when our budget is greatly challenged, when many in school administrative leadership positions are new to their posts, and with a newly configured School Committee, stability is paramount. We need continuity of thought, we need experience and cohesive decision-making. Even the executive director of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents has put out a message that we need to get our act together.

In the July 2023 superintendent’s review, Dr. Buckey was given “Proficient” and “Needs Improvement” rankings, but nothing has been communicated that suggests a reason that warrants early contract termination. Taking privacy laws into consideration, our community has the right to understand the issues at hand, realizing the lasting consequences such a decision will have.

As a side issue, one has to wonder how the School Committee plans to fund the $94,000 payout that accompanies an early, without-cause contract termination.

Echoing the MASS executive director’s sentiments, I believe we can do better than continuing our history of having a revolving door in our superintendent’s office. The superintendent’s role is often a thankless and difficult position; no one can expect to agree with all decisions from this office.

I do think we can all agree that our students and teachers/staff need stability to be successful.

Julie Duggan

Dodge Road

Letter to the editor

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