Well, looks like the board did not come to a decision last night. They are holding another non-public meeting on August 22 .
I cannot urge you strongly enough to watch the presentations by the three candidates being broadcast on cable. The choice doesn’t look all that difficult to me, but perhaps the board is checking references and coming to grips with contract terms having left the previous contract hanging out there without any public qualification so that any candidate would reasonably think that contract is a good baseline from which to negotiate. As I’ve said before, the objectionable aspect of Mr. LaSalle’s contract was not the salary but the terms.
Here’s why I worry. The contract will be finalized in non-public and the vote to offer the contract to the candidate will likely be taken in non-public. If the contract is another gold-plated give away, we, the voters, will have no way of knowing who supported the contract and who opposed it. I’d have less anxiety if there were some accountability about the nature of the contract. We must hope, too, that the board exercises some independent thought from the consultant’s contract advice.
The consulting firm, NESDEC, listed five SAUs in their references to the board. Those same five SAUs (in addition to a few others) were included in the contract committee’s spreadsheet comparison of superintendent contracts. No surprise that all five contracts had an awful lot in common. This means, of course, that the contract committee is using a comparison baseline that has been heavily influenced by the consultant they have hired who is himself a retired superintendent.
I would heartily like to see fresh thinking and leadership at the SAU with the hiring of an outside candidate. The superintendent’s contract must clearly define how we can decline to renew a contract without costly penalties, and renewals must be contingent on objective measures of job performance. The superintendent has to be all about academic accountability, and every provision in that contract should show how serious we are about that value.