It’s interesting that as we write this on Wednesday, the Ethics Commission has just released its findings in its case against Harvard School Superintendent Thomas Jefferson and former School Committee member Paul Wormser.
The two have been found guilty on all counts.
“… The Commission found that Jefferson and Wormser circumvented established procedures, enabling Wormser to receive $30,000 from the Harvard public schools as reimbursement for the costs of his child’s private school tuition. The Commission also found that both Jefferson and Wormser failed to make required disclosures. Both were assessed civil penalties of $4,000.” The decision goes on for 16 pages (see it at nashobapub.com).
We raise this issue because next week Harvard will hold its annual town election. Among candidates on the ballot are School Committee member Stu Sklar and challenger Kirsten Wright.
We endorse Kirsten Wright. She’s a parent and a teacher who understands the needs Harvard schools should seek to fulfill. She understands the committee’s responsibility to act as liaison between the schools and the community. And she’s worked hard to earn election to this important position.
Stu Sklar, on the other hand, exhibits an attitude that is neither constructive nor respectful when it comes to the School Committee. Politics seem to be his priority.
In his commentary describing the role of the committee, he said, “Our role is clearly defined by Massachusetts law and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education regulations: hiring and evaluating the superintendent…”
Yet despite very serious charges against the superintendent, and censure by his own community, Sklar’s evaluation was that the superintendent’s contract should be extended, that his performance review should be a glowing one.
Did he not see or did he not care that $30,000 in precious special education funds were spent unethically, behind closed doors, “circumventing established procedures.”
In either case, it’s time to clean house.
The Ethics Commission decision itself restores some faith for those who watch town politics and expect their officials to act according to law.
Whistle-blowers take a lot of heat for taking a stand, insisting that those who represent us abide by the rules. In this case, anyway, their diligence paid off.
We’ll see what happens now.