Brunswick School Board delays action on 6 contracts
BRUNSWICK — Superintendent of Schools Paul Perzanoski said he was disappointed Wednesday after the School Board tabled a decision on contract extensions for six administrators.
Perszanoski said he would let the board know if state law requires it to act sooner than the end of the month. If so, he said, the board may have to hold a special meeting next week.
The board also unanimously approved a new classroom observation policy that has been opposed by some vocal parents.
Board Chairman Jim Grant and Janet Connors dissented in the 6-2 vote on the administrators' contracts. Vice Chairwoman Michele Joyce was not present.
"There are specific things that have to be carried out," Perzanoski said at the meeting. "I don't have (the statute) in front of me. It's back at the office. I don't have it memorized."
The administrators with contracts expiring at the end of the school year include the assistant superintendent, athletic director, director of technology integration, principal and assistant principal at Brunswick Junior High School and principal at Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary School.
The vote to extend the contracts was originally part of the School Board's consent agenda, which means the extensions could have been acted on without any discussion.
But the vote was removed from the consent agenda because board member William Thompson said he wanted to have a "fuller discussion about the review process" and include feedback from constituents.
"I will say I'm a little disappointed that I'm learning about this now," Perzanoski said. "You've had opportunities to be able to talk to me about this. I've heard one inkling to me (about) some concerns, but to hold up the contracts of six people – their livelihood – I think it's just not right."
Board member Joy Prescott abstained from voting on the observation policy, which passed 7-0. She said her concern is that "there is not a distinction between what is a visit to the classroom and what is a formal observation policy."
Under the new policy, classroom observations must be arranged 48 hours in advance and "will be limited to one time per month for no more than 60 minutes per visit."
In addition, a school principal "reserves the right to decline any request," although the superintendent can override the decision.
Thompson, who sits on the policy committee, said "if there's a huge uproar with the policy, then we can come back and revisit it."
Melodie Huston, a parent of a third-grade student at Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary School, said the policy "unfairly target parents in the special needs community."
"In some ways it's a non-issue," Huston said after the meeting. "They made this policy because they lead you to believe like they've been inundated with (classroom observation) requests."