Friday, January 30, 2009
RSC discusses superintendency union
Concord-Carlisle Regional School Committee (RSC) member Peter Fischelis announced at the RSC on January 27 that there have been preliminary discussions with Carlisle about a superintendency union (see article at left). “We are at the early stages of looking at this,” said Fischelis. “The fiscal issues of the state are driving this. The state is asking communities how they can share resources…We have been asked by the Carlisle School Committee if we would be in favor of a superintendency union…It makes sense to explore the possibility…It is exactly, except for a few legalities, what we have in place between CPS [Concord Public Schools] and the RSD [Concord-Carlisle Regional School District]. We are familiar with it and we do it well.”
He continued, “We are just beginning to discuss this. We don’t know if it makes sense. It’s time to start a public discussion. We’ll need data to make an informed decision.”
Carlisle School Committee Chair Chad Koski said, “We need to gather a lot of data.” Dale Ryder, one of the two Carlisle members of the RSC, explained that budget issues led them down this path. “We are trying not to cut teachers.” Fischelis said, “I’m open to anything we can do to make the system more efficient.”
Ryder said there are school districts across the state looking at this and Fischelis agreed, “The state is pushing this. We will see more of it.” Salemy said the Dover-Sherborn school district, which has a superintendency union, reports that the structure worked for them. Fischelis explained that if the plan were adopted, the Concord School Committee, the Carlisle School Committee and the Regional School Committee would still remain the same. Another committee would be formed to make decisions on the superintendent, but would otherwise remain in the background.
Koski suggested that a group could be formed to figure out a workable structure. “We will be having several discussions with the community and parents.” Salemy added that he wanted to see that the superintendency union would be good for the whole system.
RSC Chair Jerry Wedge recommended that Carlisle hire an outside source or consultant to verify the numbers. “This would add credibility with the public and it would protect us if there are issues in two years.” He also said that the RSC will need to see the numbers to see if it makes sense financially.
Full regionalization off the table for now
Fischelis brought up the subject of full regionalization, which he thought might take up to four or five years to implement. Ryder felt that Carlisle parents would be adverse to full regionalization. “There is no support for that and I’m not sure there’s a lot of support for that in the Carlisle School Committee.” Louis Salemy, Carlisle’s second representative on the RSC, pointed out that the superintendency union is a baby step towards regionalization. “I am not advocating regionalization. We can see how it looks down the road.”
Fischelis pointed out that regional transportation costs are reimbursed by the state, but added this was a much bigger discussion and “we won’t go there.”
When asked about a time frame, Koski replied, “We owe it to our own administration to get to the bottom of it as quickly as possible. Not in the next week or two. The Carlisle School administration is in limbo. I’d like to see it as soon as practically possible.”
A presentation will be given at next week’s Carlisle School Committee meeting, on Wednesday, February 4, where Ryder hopes to discuss the numbers and get feedback from the community.
“I think this [superintendency union] will be a long conversation over the next few months. We will want input from the Concord community,” said Wedge, noting, “We will need to integrate your process with ours.”
Ryder concluded, “This is a delicate balance, but fiscally, we need to move very quickly. We need to move forward the best we can, as prudently as we can.” ∆
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