Every tax is a pay cut.  Every tax cut is a pay raise.
Citizens for Limited Taxation

I have three remarks to make here.

Each candidate comes from a town/district that has lower SAT scores than Framingham (1064 in 2002).

Wilma Bonner's students, from Washington DC, scored a whopping 820 on their SAT scores. This makes Dr. Mark Smith's mediocrity look absolutely stellar.

Our assistant Superintendent of Schools, Walter McClennan (salary of $113,000) either did not want the job or was found not qualified. In either case, he does seem to be one expensive albatross around our necks.  He could also be viewed as a sacred cow grazing the lush green ($$) pastures of town government. We can't afford this cow. I say we shoot the sacred cow by getting rid of him.

Five who would be school's top boss Saturday, February 1, 2003
Charlie Breitrose Metrowest Daily News
FRAMINGHAM - The final five candidates for the superintendent job come from small towns and big cities, and have a range of experience, but School Committee Chairman Phil Dinsky said all have qualities needed to run town schools.

Two of the semifinalists - Arthur Tate from Haverhill and Magdalene Giffune of Uxbridge - are sitting superintendents, and Andre Ravanelle recently became Barnstable's interim leader after serving as assistant superintendent.

The two out-of-state candidates - Wilma Bonner from Washington, D.C., and Penelope Lattimer from New Brunswick, N.J. - do not lead their respective districts, but Dinsky said either could run Framingham.

"In Washington (Bonner) works in a very large district," Dinsky said.  "The person in New Jersey (Lattimer), her role I liken to the chief operating officer in a company.

"The (Superintendent Search) Committee felt comfortable that they had the skill sets to get to the next level."

Bonner is the top administrator for D.C.'s high schools.  The city has 10 high schools with more than 7,800 students.

With an enrollment of 5,698 students, the New Brunswick school district is about two-thirds the size of Framingham, which has 8,557 students.  Lattimer is in charge of curriculum and instruction for the district.

The city has 10 elementary schools, some of which go through eighth grade, and two high schools.  One of the high schools focuses on health and technology and there is also an alternative high school.  The Brunswick area also has a charter school.

Uxbridge's Giffune runs the smallest district among the semifinalists, with 2,373 students.  The town has two elementary schools, one middle school and a high school.  She has applied unsuccessfully for superintendent openings in other towns, including Sudbury.

Barnstable has 6,310 students who attend nine elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school.  Ravanelle worked as assistant superintendent for nine years before being named the interim head.

Towns on the Cape, including Barnstable, have joined with Framingham parents and educators in their effort to change the state's Chapter 70 school funding formula.

Haverhill's student population - 8,565 - is nearly identical to Framingham's.  Tate runs 13 elementary schools, four middle schools and a high school.

Barnstable and Uxbridge have similar results on the 2000 MCAS, according to the Department of Education Web site, and both fared better than Haverhill.  Barnstable's average SAT score in 2000, a combined average of 1,024, was slightly higher than Uxbridge - 981.  Haverhill's average on the SAT was 979 and Washington's average score was 822.

New Brunswick's SAT scores were not posted on the state or district Web sites.  Framingham's average in 2000 was 1,044.

All five semifinalists will be in town on Feb. 8 when they will be interviewed by the School Committee during an public meeting at the King Building, 454 Water St.  Three finalists will be selected by the committee on Feb. 11.

Dinsky said the committee will stick to the salary guideline of $140,000 to $160,000 set earlier this year.  Retiring Superintendent Mark Smith makes $147,000.

"We put salary on the high end (compared to other towns) to be competitive - Framingham is a rather complicated district," Dinsky said.  "I wouldn't expect to go near the high end of the limit."

Send comments to: hjw2001@gmail.com