I had a hard time writing this letter. I couldn’t decide if I was more upset about being forced to lose an exemplary superintendent or by the poor conduct of the School Committee.
I’ve been involved in MPS as both a parent and a volunteer for over 16 years. From day one, I was impressed with Dr. John Buckey. I was grateful he chose to work in our town. We have a track record of scaring away or choosing wrong when it comes to this position.
Dr. Buckey has proven again and again that he wants what’s best for students. From dunk tanks to dance parties, Buckey has continued to show up for students and teachers. He has led and supported them as a good leader should — all the while not expecting or asking for thanks. He has put his heart and soul into his job and the community but instead of gratitude he’s gotten nothing but opposition and criticism.
I could understand the need to push him out if he was not doing a good job. How can the School Committee argue that when the committee voted to rate him “proficient” on his evaluations? Did he make some decisions people did not agree with? Probably, but we can’t all agree on everything. The purpose of the evaluations is to rate his actions and to determine if he should still work for MPS.
I would ask the committee to please show us the proof of wrongdoing. Please show us why his contract should be terminated immediately. The committee is having private meetings to try and oust him and planning to hold “open meetings” on Zoom that clearly do not allow for open communication. Some of the committee members ran on transparency but are now doing the opposite.
Aside from it being unacceptable behavior as an adult, what does it show our children? We can be bullies as long as it is on video or behind closed doors?
Furthermore, as a district already struggling with money, it does not make sense to spend the limited funds on removing a superintendent and then needing to pay a premium to find a new one. Unless we have hard evidence that he must be let go immediately, it is not fiscally responsible to terminate his contract early. It is going to be very hard to find another person who will be willing to work in this environment without offering a monetary incentive. This is something we do not have the resources to do at this point.
I grew up in this town. I love this town. I’m now embarrassed by this town.
We need to do better because in the end it’s the kids that will pay the price.