South Burlington High School

A new Assistant Superintendent? An additional kindergarten teacher at Rick Marcotte Central School? Superintendent David Young hoped that the School Board’s July 20th meeting would result in positive answers to both of those questions. It was not to be. Instead, the Board postponed consideration of hiring Winton Goodrich to be Assistant Superintendent and rejected hiring the candidate for Central School’s additional kindergarten teacher position.

Board members emphasized that qualifications were not at issue in either matter. In Goodrich’s case, Board members underscored the “key administrative role” that Goodrich would play; they felt that they had not received sufficient information in timely fashion to approve someone for the District’s “second-in-command” administrative position. The Board moved to postpone consideration of Goodrich’s hiring until their August 3rd meeting or to hold a special meeting if necessary.

Goodrich did not attend the July 20th meeting; Superintendent David Young said that Goodrich was visiting family in California. Goodrich’s proposed salary is $115,000, pro-rated to $103,501 for an August start date.

In Central School’s proposed kindergarten teacher hiring, the Board expressed concern about the $63,559 salary that candidate Heather Bates was scheduled to receive for a position not contemplated when the current budget had been approved. After the budget had been passed, former Superintendent John Everitt informed the Board that the expected Central School kindergarten population might require an extra teacher. The Board gave Everitt approval to explore the hiring of an additional teacher without restricting the hiring to a certain number of hours or dollars.

School District Policy 2.4.6 prohibits the Superintendent from making a “commitment of greater than $25,000,” and a couple of Board members highlighted the fiscally conservative nature of that provision. Although Board members recognized the “critical importance” of kindergarten education, and did not question Bates’s credentials in any way, they voiced discomfort with the “level of investment” they had been asked to make without having more complete information, such as how her proposed salary compared with current District teachers’ salaries. Board members generally agreed that they had not been as clear as they could have been regarding salary considerations.

After extensive discussion, Board members Bugbee and LaLonde voted in favor of hiring Bates, but Fitzgerald and Beatty were opposed. Since the Board vote was tied at 2 to 2, Board Chair Cassidy voted. His vote was against the hiring “with reluctance,” thus resulting in the rejection by a 3 to 2 vote.

Superintendent Young said that he did not know what effect the Board’s vote would have on the process to obtain an additional kindergarten teacher for Central School in time for the school year, but that he would seek better communication between the Board and the administration in the future.

SOURCE: Bill Wargo, Correspondent

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