Supt. Jean Franco knew that there was no way that this School Committee would approve this motion tonight.
Steve Gendron: Request the School Committee extend the contract of Jean Franco by one year through June of 2016.
At best, they would refer this to a sub-committee after saying nice things about the Superintendent in public but in private her fate was sealed when the committee as a whole, backed out of the 2 year contract she agreed on and only offered and signed her to the one (1) year deal.
Supt. Franco saved the Committee from themselves and from having to start the whispering campaign of why it was time for her to go, despite getting a good review and the improvements the school system has seen under her leadership. She saved them the embarrassment of entering into contract discussion then dragging them on and on until she announced she was moving, just like they did with Supt. Chris Scott.
Tom Byrne used to say that he was amazed that every School Committee member all of a sudden became Horace Mann after being elected to the school board and knew better how to run a system than the people who are actually qualified and experienced to do so. That is the problem with this school committee, they are worried about supposed nepotism, performance based budgeting and wasting time on reports than they are letting the educators educate.
Supt. Franco had until the end of December to make her intentions known but Steve Gendron who I think supports her 100% pushed the envelope to make her decide sooner. The committee needs as much time as possible to get a new Supt. elected by February so that he or she can have at least some impute into next’s years budget. They also want the search done before Election Season kicks off in earnest this spring.
The Whispering that you will hear is that Supt. Franco didn’t communicate enough, that she was slow to respond to the over abundance of motions,reports and request that this committee submits, that she hasn’t implemented Project based budgeting, dragged her feet on the stupid nepotism issue and that the proposed cuts of $1.5 million were to much for this committee.
Mostly the message you will hear is that they didn’t “feel comfortable that we were getting all the correct information we needed”.(where have I heard that before?)
The exercise / motion to propose $1.5 Million in cuts was (in my opinion) a waste of her and her staffs time and energy (and she let them know it IMHO ) by submitting the cuts that she did.
It was sort of a Stop Wasting Our Time response to a stupid and yes it was a stupid motion because everyone including this blogger knew, the city and the State in an election year, wasn’t cutting funding to schools.
In my mind, that move by Franco, though 100% correct was a very public slap to the face to certain members and it sealed her fate. You can’t rebuke your bosses in public and not expect them to respond.
She again chose to be the better person and announce her retirement so that they committee didn’t have to go through the motions of saying we want her when most of us who follow the School Committee knew her fate was sealed with that 1 year contract. The “negotiation” process with Supt. Franco would have ended the same way Supt. Scott’s did, Supt. Franco would have been jerked around until she announced she was leaving. Doing it now saves the committee time and Supt. Franco didn’t waste any of her’s.
Jean Franco will in all likelihood, make as much money in semi-retirement and not have to deal with the BS of Lowell politics. She can teach, be a consultant etc and has a lot to offer the education community.
It will be interesting to watch the process of selecting a new Superintendent. Will any members of this board support Mayor Elliott when he ask’s that a contract not be offered (I’m betting Dave Conway will support) and how do any of the candidates interviewed respond to his question, Will you work without a contract?
Finally I wonder if Dave Conway, Connie Martin, Kim Scott and other members remember how John Leahy,Jim Milinazzo , Alison Laraba and Jacki Doherty faired the last time a Supt. was forced out / retired / changed.
Leahy failed to make the jump to Council, Mayor Jim M. lost his Council seat and Doherty and Laraba lost their SC seats.
Let the show begin…