Lowell School Committee “playing Chicken” with Supt. Franco’s Contract

Lowell-Supt-Jean-Franco-with-young-learners

The game of chicken, is a conflict game for players. The principle of the game is that each player prefers not to yield to the other, the worst possible outcome occurs when both players do not yield.

Last night the majority of the Lowell School Committee acted like immature adolescents instead of adults and decided to act in a disrespectful, unprofessional and childish way and blindsided the Superintendent by failing to vote on a contract they had already agreed too.

It appears this was a pure case of tit-for-tat after the committee felt blindsided by the Superintendent who suggested cutting some teaching positions in her budget presentation Monday Night.

Tuesday member Connie Martin was quoted in the Sun stating “When I looked at this Tier 2 list, I felt it was an exercise that was like a game of chicken, ‘I dare you to make these cuts,’ which I thought was disingenuous and problematic when we’re dealing with budget concerns.

So how does Ms. Martin react? According to today’s Sun, member Connie Martin made a surprise motion to table the item until the next meeting.Although Martin would not go into detail after the meeting on the reason behind her motion, she said, “There’s no one specific thing. I want the committee to have an opportunity to talk.”

When asked if Franco knew ahead of time that Martin wanted to postpone the vote, Martin said, “I don’t know what she’s aware of.”

I realize that under Education Reform, the School Committee has limited power in the real running of the school system, however one of their main roles is to hire a Superintendent.

If you look at the unprofessional way they treated former Supt. Scott during her final negotiations and now in the final stages after agreeing with Supt. Franco on a contract to postpone it the way they did, shows this committee to be childish, unprofessional and disrespectful to someone they are supposed to be able to work with in running the city schools.

It is even more surprising that a majority of these Committee members agreed to go along with this stunt. Shame on Jim Leary, especially. Is this the type of action we can expect from you has a State Rep? Agree to pass or present a bill for the city and at the last-minute say Never Mind let’s wait?

Steve Gendron appears to be the only member who understands the importance of treating people in a respectful and professional way , was the only member who voted against postponing.

This move was nothing but petty, spiteful immature tit-for-tat and the School Committee has a whole should be embarrassed. It is a terrible message that they are sending to the Lowell Teachers union. How can the Union trust that after agreeing to a contract with them, they couldn’t pull the same stunt and at the last-minute, back out or stall because they were upset over something that occurred the day or two before voting on it?

Now, like when they were negotiating with Supt. Scott, will we start to hear that Supt. Franco didn’t provide information requested. That she didn’t communicate well?

Then why did you agree to a contract and at the final moment when you posted to vote for it in a public meeting, postpone? Did you ever really want to extend this Supt. tenure? Are you now going to claim you didn’t get this or that and now at the 9th hour backing out and publicly embarrassing this Supt. to force her out?

Playing “Chicken” should be left to immature adolescents, not adults elected to run a school system. Are they ready for this Superintendent to announce her retirement when her contract runs out June 30th?

I urge Jean Franco to do exactly that if this Committee doesn’t honor their word and sign this contract that they agreed to before June 30th. If Connie Martin wants to play chicken and jeopardize starting the next School year without a Superintendent in place, then I hope Jean Franco calls her on it and announced she will retire.

Many parents (like myself) value this Superintendent and what she has done for this school system and to see her get treated in such a petty, juvenile fashion by this School Committee sends us a message that apparently most members think they are more important and valuable than the Superintendent.

They need to grow up and stop acting like immature adolescents and instead act in a professional way and sign this contract that they already agreed to before June 30th.

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2 thoughts on “Lowell School Committee “playing Chicken” with Supt. Franco’s Contract

  1. Michael Hayden

    I sure hope the voters in the Highlands and Acre are watching the actions of Jim Leary who wants them to vote him in as our next state rep. If he is acting like this on the School Committee how bad will he be down on Beacon Hill Think about it

    Reply
  2. Pingback: RichardHowe.com | Lowell Week in Review: June 21, 2014

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