Head of High School Important Position but School Committee has minimal say in decision

There is no doubt that the Head of School for LHS is an important position.

Whoever follows Brian Martin has some big shoes to fill and above the day-to-day duties of running the High School will be facing the challenge of coordinating either a move in a few years or dealing with renovations and construction.

While candidates highlight the importance of this position they also need to remind everyone that

A) The position should be filled BEFORE the next School Year begins (months before an election)

and most importantly

B) Under the Education reform act, it is the Superintendent who decides and the School Committee can vote to approve or with valid reasons not approve of that selection.

It is NOT the duties or the responsibility of a School Committee member to advocate or recommend a person for that position or any position.

The DESE (Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education) Website shows things very clearly. (Bold Mine)

III. Staffing

A. Hiring authority for particular positions

1.Superintendent, assistant/associate superintendents, school business administrator, administrator of special education, school physicians and registered nurses, legal counsel, supervisors of attendance

State law: The school committee is responsible for appointing personnel to the following positions:

Superintendent: The school committee has the power to select and terminate the superintendent, and to establish his or her compensation. (G.L. c. 71, [[section]] 37)

Assistant or associate superintendents: On the recommendation of the superintendent, the committee may establish the positions of and appoint assistant or associate superintendents, who shall report to the superintendent. The superintendent recommends to the school committee candidates for appointment to the position of assistant or associate superintendent. The committee shall approve or disapprove the appointment, but shall not unreasonably withhold its approval. If the superintendent requests, the committee shall explain its disapproval of a recommended candidate. The committee sets the compensation of the superintendent and the assistant or associate superintendents. (G.L. c. 71, [[section]] 59)

School business administrator; administrator of special education; school physicians and registered nurses; supervisors of attendance; legal counsel:The Education Reform Act did not change several pre-existing statutes that refer to the school committee appointing certain personnel. G.L. c. 71, [[section]] 41 states that “a school committee may award a contract to … a school business administrator for a period not exceeding six years… .” G.L. c. 71B, [[section]] 3A states that “a school committee … shall appoint a person to be its administrator of special education.” G.L. c. 71, [[section]] 53 says, “The school committee shall appoint one or more school physicians and registered nurses… .” G.L. c. 76, [[section]] 19 says, “Every school committee shall appoint, make regulations governing and fix the compensation of one or more supervisors of attendance.”

Three sections of the General Laws authorize the school committee to engage legal counsel: G.L. c. 71, [[section]] 16 (j) (powers of regional district school committees); G.L. c. 71, [[section]] 37E (authorizing the school committee to employ legal counsel in connection with collective bargaining); and G.L. c. 71, [[section]] 37F (authorizing the school committee to employ legal counsel for the general purposes of the committee).

Administrators, principals, staff not assigned to particular schools, athletic coaches

State law: The superintendent appoints principals for each public school in the district. (Two or more elementary schools may share a principal, and teaching principals are also permitted in elementary schools.) The superintendent also appoints administrators and other personnel not assigned to particular schools. All such appointments are made at levels of compensation determined in accordance with school committee policies. (G.L. c. 71, [[section]] 59B) The superintendent appoints athletic coaches. (G.L. c. 71, [[section]] 47A)

Department of Elementary and Secondary Education recommendations: The shifting of decisions on most school district personnel actions from the school committee to the superintendent and principals is a major change brought about by the Education Reform Act. For the most part, this has brought positive results: school committees are relieved of personnel matters and can concentrate their time and energy on policy issues, while superintendents and principals have authority commensurate with accountability for the staff they manage.

Consistent with the need for open communication between superintendents and school committees, it is good management practice for the superintendent to keep the school committee informed about appointments and other personnel decisions. Regardless of who makes the actual appointment, the hiring authority should consult with other key parties in the process. For example, the school principal plays a critical role in selecting the athletic coach(es) for the school, even though the superintendent makes the appointment. It is also good practice for superintendents and principals to involve broad-based screening committees (particularly school councils, which represent teachers, parents and community members) in the hiring process whenever possible.

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