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More Personnel Changes for Nashoba…June 1, 2016

By Ann Needle
The Nashoba School Committee focused on personnel changes at its May 31 meeting, approving both a contract for the incoming superintendent and changes to the job descriptions of some key district personnel. And, Nashoba’s towns can look forward to receiving an outlook on Nashoba’s upcoming budget earlier than in past years.

The SC voted unanimously to accept the contract negotiated for Brooke Clenchy, who takes over as Nashoba’s superintendent as of July 1.  SC Chair Lorraine Romasco of Bolton announced that Clenchy has accepted the District’s offer. The contract will be posted on the SC web site (www.nrsd.net) after Clenchy signs it, which is expected to be June 1.

A former superintendent and currently a senior official at the MA Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education, Clenchy was selected by the Committee after a 3-month search following the resignation last fall of former Superintendent Michael Wood. Interim Superintendent Dr. Curtis Bates’s last day will be June 30.

Meanwhile, job duties will be changing for some other major positions in the district. The SC unanimously approved changes in job descriptions and salary levels for the heads of Human Resources, Facilities, and Special Education, granting 3-year contracts. The SC made the move in light of the recent resignations of Director of Human Resources Monica Visco, Director of Facilities Bill Cleary, and Director of Special Education Tracy Conte.

The changes have roots in a reorganization proposed earlier this year by Curtis Bates. Though Bates assured that all personnel contracts would be honored, given the proposal met with controversy from some parents and staff because of its apparent suddenness, the SC postponed any changes until a permanent superintendent would be in place. All of the new job descriptions are in line with the proposed reorganization.

Replacing Visco will be a manager-level position, which SC Rep. Kathy Codianne explained was the level it was several years ago. With a trimming of some responsibilities from the job description, she noted that the salary offered would be between $90,000 and $110,000. The SPED director’s job will be absorbed into the new position of director of Pupil and Personnel Services, at a pay range of $115,00 to $125,000. Bates commented that the 504 program — currently its own department — will be placed under Pupil and Personnel Services, given incoming Superintendent Clenchy said she feels strongly it should be there. The new director of Facilities will be offered $80,000 – $95,000, a reduction from Clearly’s salary, but comparable to what is offered in similar districts, Codianne said.

All three contracts will run three years.

Budget Schedule Proposed
With Nashoba’s towns always on the watch for any financial information on the schools as soon as it is available, the Finance Sub Committee outlined a new schedule for the district budget process. According to Rep. Mark Jones of Stow, the Finance Sub Committee has proposed having the superintendent and SC discuss a potential budget as early as August, and to offer a preliminary budget by Nov. 1. A detailed draft of the budget would be unveiled around Jan. 18, with final approval by March 1, Jones said. He added that Finance still needs to finalize these and other dates before asking the SC for approval.

In recent years, the superintendent has unveiled the administration’s proposed budget at a late January/early February meeting. But leaders in Stow, Bolton, and Lancaster have protested that, with Town Meeting warrants closing in late March, they often did not have enough time to account for how the proposed school budget could impact their towns’ budgets. Nashoba’s regional agreement calls for the SC to approve each year’s budget by March 15.

More Priorities from MASBO
The School Committee continued its discussion from earlier last month of what priorities it needs to focus on in day-to-day business. Following the release last month of an 89-page analysis of Nashoba’s operations by the MA Association of School Business Officials, the SC began analyzing what should be addressed in the coming year. The top priorities, discussed at the SC’s May 18 meeting, are shoring up district technology and digital learning, Food Services/revolving accounts, and the district budget process/communications with Nashoba’s towns on finances.
At the May 31 meeting, the SC identified the district’s 53 revolving accounts (such as Food Services and Extended Day) as its next priority for discussion. As SC Rep. Neal Darcy of Bolton remarked, several of these accounts are “bleeding money.” The SC also planned to look further into SPED and Human Resources operations.

Along with its regular agenda, the SC announced that it finally has a third Lancaster representative, Susan Reardon, on board. She replaces Cathy Thier, who did not run for re-election after a three-year term.

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