Sunday Notes on Saturday December 31st 2016

DESE’s opinion is THERE IS NO State Law that requires School Supt’s to have a contract!

Salah  Khelfaoui Sun Photo Bob Whitaker

Salah Khelfaoui
Sun Photo Bob Whitaker

ON WCAP this past Wednesday December 28th, the Supt. Of Schools stated that School Superintendents in MASSACHUSETTS MUST HAVE A CONTRACT and that the State law required it (the host never followed up to ask what that exact law was) and the Superintendent challenged anyone who doesn’t believe that to contact the State and find out. So I Did!

Listen for yourself at the 34:10 minute mark of the interview when the conversation about his contract starts and at the 38:20 mark where he states that it is required. First he admits that his current MOU is in fact what he calls a simplified contract but then goes on to try to mislead people on a contract being state required.

The following response come from Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 75 Pleasant Street Malden, MA 02148

:From: “Helene H Bettencourt (DOE)”
To: “Gerry”
Sent: Thursday, December 29, 2016 2:35:37 PM
Subject: RE: ESE Web Contact Us Form – Do Supt of School Require a contract

Hi Gerry, Massachusetts law states that the school committee “shall have the power to select and to terminate the superintendent” (Mass. Gen. Laws c. 71, s. 37) and that the school committee “shall employ a superintendent of schools and fix his compensation” (G.L. c. 71, s. 59). The school committee “may award a contract to a superintendent of schools… for periods not exceeding six years which may provide for the salary, fringe benefits, and other conditions of employment, including but not limited to, severance pay, relocation expenses, reimbursement for expenses incurred in the performance of duties or office, liability insurance, and leave for said superintendent…” (Mass. Gen. Laws c. 71, s. 41) Typically, the school committee and superintendent enter into a written employment contract, but state law does not mandate a written contract.


Section 59: Superintendent of schools; appointment; compensation; powers and duties

Section 59. The school committee of a town not in a superintendency union or district shall employ a superintendent of schools and fix his compensation. A superintendent employed under this section or section sixty or sixty-three shall manage the system in a fashion consistent with state law and the policy determinations of that school committee. Upon the recommendation of the superintendent, the school committee may also establish and appoint positions of assistant or associate superintendents, who shall report to the superintendent, and the school committee shall fix the compensation paid to such assistant or associate superintendents. The school committee shall approve or disapprove the hiring of said positions. Such approval by the school committee of the recommendation shall not be unreasonably withheld; provided, however, that upon the request of the superintendent the school committee shall provide an explanation of disapproval.

So is this just another example of the fiscal misunderstanding or overall lack of knowledge about finances this Supt. has? I nor DESE can find a Mass General Law posted anywhere that the School Superintendent IS REQUIRED to HAVE a Contract.

So why is Supt. Khelfoui stating that it is the Law? To justify his switching from agreeing to a MOU to wanting a term defined contract? To try and confuse and convince some School Committee members who aren’t supportive? To state false information to parents and purposely try to mislead the public?

In addition to asking DESE, I have asked the Supt. Office to provide me the State Law that shows a contract is required but have received no response.

Another item mentioned by the SUPT. was that the School Dept. reimburses the LRTA for the discounts given to Lowell students who take the LRTA buses. That is 100% INCORRECT

The School Dept. pays NOTHING to the LRTA for any reimbursement for transporting students. The Supt. states at the 44:44 mark in the interview that cost for the discounts to students comes out of Transportation cost but that is incorrect. Parents or students themselves pay for the card on a monthly basis.

The City of Lowell pays a fee to be part of the LRTA but that isn’t based on student use.

Another mis-statement was that this City Ordinance dealing with Personal (IE City Manager, Police Supt.) which is referencing his MOU compared to a term defined contract didn’t apply to him since it states that it doesn’t include School Dept.

However if you scan the on-line Ordinance document on the City website there is NOTHING that states that it doesn’t apply to school personal nor anything to state it can’t. Again just another attempt on his part to try to get School Committee members to give him a term defined contract?

These mis-statements show the lack of fiscal accuracy and half truths that have been shown repeatedly by this Supt. and his administration and is a HUGE concern with the upcoming budget and with the existing budget.

He mentions in the interview when discussing the recent 9C cuts that the School Dept. ended up with a Surplus last year and turned over $600,00 to the City which the city “promised” to give back but the school dept hasn’t asked for that yet.

However if you recall what the School Dept. actually had was a surplus of Circuit Breaker Money (after using most of the free cash on June Technology purchases) which the School Dept and others were notified of changes in April of 2016 but which this administration either missed or mis-understood. This statement was in a monthly newsletter municipalities (and nosey bloggers) receive from the State.


but because of the inexperience of the current CFO and this Supt. they were still somehow caught off guard and had excess Circuit breaker money that had to go back to the general fund. In the August 21st issue of the SUN in the political column, is was noted that the City Manager stated NOTHING is “guaranteed” when it comes to the $527,000 circuit breaker money.

Based on the comments in the radio interview, how long in this fiscal year will the School Dept. wait to bring forward a request for the additional funds?

I was glad to hear the Supt. state that the current school committee isn’t close to giving him a contract.Especially if according to the Sun column blog the following is true regarding the Administrators grievance over parking.

Committee members also expressed dismay that the issue wasn’t flagged to their attention or resolved before it ended up before the state Department of Labor in the form of a grievance filed Dec. 23. The issue dates back to Aug. 23, when members of the Lowell School Association met with Schools Superintendent Salah Khelfaoui.

Based on his withholding this information you wonder if he did so because the Committee wouldn’t give him a term defined contract? What other information is he not proving and based on this radio interview it’s alarming the amount of information that he is misstating or withholding.

I wouldn’t support a term defined contract either!!

The private sector can no longer afford the public sector!

paul S

Those words by former Sen. Panagiotakos were proven true again this week when it came out that the administrators Union for the School Dept. claimed that a move of their free downtown parking that added 3 minutes to their walk to and from work was a “significant change’ to their work environment and demanded either a move back to the garage 3 minutes closer on an extra hour a week in pay !

The face of this absurdity for the union has been Paul SCHLICHTMAN the Coord- Research & Testing whose been a failed candidate for several Supt. jobs he has applied for (including Lowell, The Greater Lowell Tech and Dracut) His salary in Lowell is $107,947 which based on his 215 day a year work schedule means for that 3 minute a day (ea way) walk he wants $62.75 a week or an additional $2,510 a year.

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