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Hiring the superintendent as interim principal creates playground possibility

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I like to say “when opportunity knocks, answer!”

It’s advice that the School Committee needs to hear from you today! The principal at Hildreth Elementary School is leaving effective July 1. While this is great for her, the timing couldn’t be worse for us. The best time to hire teachers and school administrators is winter through spring, in order to get the best people.

The superintendent has put forth a proposal where he would be the acting interim principal at Hildreth Elementary School. The school board barely discussed this proposal, instead opting to hire an interim principal for a year. During the school board meeting on June 14, the chair said this was a well thought- out decision and it is final.

This was decided at an off-cycle, nontelevised meeting held at 9 a.m. I believe they spent five minutes on the superintendent’s proposal.

An interim principal will not be invested in the long run. Usually interim positions are for a preset length of time, needlessly limiting our options to act when the right candidate comes along. Why waste $90,000 for someone to take up time and space when we have so many good uses for the money?

The school board is working as a priority to replace the playground at Hildreth Elementary School. Knock, knock, here is the funding. With the superintendent acting as an interim principal/superintendent, we would save $7,500 a month. That’s the difference between the superintendent’s stipend and the salary of an interim person. If we hire a new principal for May 2011 or later, we save $75,000 or more. The school board can write a check from the Shaw Trust for $65,000 and Hildreth Elementary School can have a new playground in time for the new school year in September 2010. It could really be this easy.

I urge all citizens concerned with running a first-class school system to let the school board know that it’s time to answer the door and replace a dangerous playground at Hildreth Elementary School.

The contact information for the SC can be found here: http://www.psharvard.org/schoolcommittee/index.html.

STU SKLAR

Harvard