Does School Superintendent understand and respect the Role of the School Committee?

We found out in yesterday’s newspaper, that the Superintendent of Schools thinks School Committee people should know their roles.

Khelfaoui could be heard saying that the committee members needed to understand their roles as well, and come to him privately first if they had questions or concerns.

Earlier in the meeting, several committee members had criticized him for the quality of the reports his staff had prepared, in particular one on class sizes.

This is the same Superintendent that stated in a Lowell Sun interview when talking about the School committee

“I’m not an easy person to work with — if you look into my background I don’t allow School Committees to interfere with my work,” he said. “The beauty of me in all of this is you can go ahead and fire me any time you want. I’m ready to retire, so I don’t really care about any of the politics.”

The same Superintendent who has not responded to motions or has taken months to respond. The same Superintendent who for two straight years has ignored the Committee’s request to have the budget done when they have requested it and the same Superintendent who according to this School Committee didn’t inform them about a situation with administrators that has led to an April 2018 court date for an unfair Labor Practice. This Superintendent doesn’t like to be asked questions that make him look bad in public yet has no qualms about disrespecting the School Committee members.

Knowing your role and being treated with respect is a two way street and based on his actions and in many cases non action, I don’t believe he respects the role of a School Committee member. There is no rule that states a School Committee member cannot criticize the Superintendent and if he truly advocates transparency why should a School Committee member contact him privately? Especially when it has been shown he doesn’t always respond to their motions passed at public meetings.

I found the following guidelines in an article written by a new School Committee member who was talking about issues people ask him about and how he was trying to understand his role.

These guidelines he found are from The Massachusetts Association of School Committees and how they defines their roles and responsibilities in their “Charting the Course” offering.

Maybe since the Superintendent claims he doesn’t read my blog, someone should send this to him.

This organization has defined the following areas of responsibility for a School Committee member: Policy, Finance, Staffing, Collective bargaining, Performance Standards, Professional development, School Councils, Advocacy, Curriculum, Governance, and Communication. Here is what they say about their roles in these areas….BOLD mine

Policy: The school committee establishes and periodically reviews educational goals and policies for the schools in the district. consistent with the requirements of law and the statewide goals and standards. This is the primary role of the school committee.

Finance: The school committee reviews and approves a budget for education in the district according to a process and timeline developed with the superintendent; works to ensure that necessary funds are appropriated for the district. oversees the operation of the annual school budget.

Staffing: Appoints the superintendent; Hires legal counsel. Sets compensation for the superintendent. Prescribes additional qualifications for educator positions beyond basic certification.; Disciplines or terminates employment of the superintendent in accordance with the terms of the contract of employment.

Collective Bargaining: Acts as employer of the school employees for collective bargaining; designates negotiator or negotiating team and receives advice about educational consequences of bargaining positions.

Performance Standards: Establishes, upon the recommendation of the superintendent, the performance standards for teachers and other employees of the ; evaluates the performance of the superintendent; conducts self-evaluation of the committee’s effectiveness in meeting its stated goals and performing its role in public school governance

Professional Development: Adopts a professional development plan for all principals, teachers and other professional staff; provides and encourages resources for school committee professional development programs.

School Councils: Reviews and approves an annual school improvement plan for each school in the district; provides and encourages resources for school council professional development programs.

Advocacy: Engages in advocacy on behalf of students and their schools; works closely with other governmental agencies and bodies.

Curriculum: Approves major adoption or revision of curriculum and textbooks upon recommendation of the superintendent.

Governance: Establishes educational goals and policies for schools in the district; delegates to the superintendent the responsibilities for all administrative functions; acts only as a body as prescribed by law and not as individual members.

Communication: Supports the development and promotion of vision, mission, goals and strategies of the school system; consults and confers with the superintendent of on all matters as they arise that concern the school system and on which the school committee may take action; Maintains open communication between community and the schools by scheduling public meetings on a regular basis; supports the superintendent in all matters that conform to committee policy.


Published by Lowell School Committeeman Gerry Nutter

I've been interested in Schools since I worked at the Greater Lowell Tech and substitute taught in Dracut. I've followed the finances and issues with the Lowell School for the past 8 years while blogging and contributing to Saturday Morning Live! Currently serving my 1st term.

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