Mayor Sullivan looks to tie hands of new Mayor to bring real change to schools
Mayor Sullivan announced this week that he is forming a committee to select a new School Superintendent by January 2010 when he leaves office. Traditionally, school officials who retire leave at the end of the school year; therefore, if the new Superintendent is starts prior to Mr. Carballo's departure, our cash strapped school dept. will be forced to pay two salaries during the interim.
I am also disappointed that Mayor Sullivan is seeking to make this major appointment on his way out the door and tie the hands of the new mayor from determing the head of the schools. It is the new mayor who will have to work side by side with this new person to turn the schools around.
Let us not forget that it was Mayor Sullivan that brought Mr. Carballo to lead the schools and the new Mayor should have the opportunity to bring real change to the school's leadership. After his recent pay raise, Mr. Carballo is now receiving the highest pay ever paid a Superintendent at $151,000 per year while the schools are suffering their greatest financial crisis in a generation.
The new mayor should not have to be tied to the Sullivan-Carballo approach to education. So why would we, as a city, want a lame-duck mayor picking the Superintendent and then having him or her trained by Mr. Carballo? That is not a new approach: that is same old, same old.
The Republican had a recent article on this issue, here it is below if you have not seen it already:
Holyoke school chief to retire in 2010
By JEANETTE DeFORGE email@example.com HOLYOKE - Superintendent Eduardo B. Carballo has announced he will be retiring in 2010, mostly to give the School Committee plenty of time to fine his replacement. Carballo has told committee members on several occasions he plans to retire in about 18 months. This week he repeated his plans to officials from the State Department of Elementary and Secondary Education who were visiting the city. At that time he will be 62 and will be ready to give up his job, which pays about $151,000 a year.
Carballo took over as Holyoke superintendent in 2002, he said. Carballo said he announced his retirement so far in advance to give city officials plenty of time to find a replacement to head up the challenging school district, which is underperforming and one of the poorest in the state.
"The mayor has already put together a working committee, I told him I will be there and help in any way I can," Carballo said. A committee of School Committee members, teachers and the City Council president has already started meeting to talk about ways to find a new superintendent, said Mayor Michael J. Sullivan, who serves as School Committee chairman.
He said it is important to begin the process now because he would like to have a new superintendent selected by January 2010 so the new candidate can work with Carballo before taking over. "I appointed an ad-hoc committee to create a succession plan," he said.
The committee, which includes teachers, parents and politicians, was asked to develop ideas on how Holyoke can best find a superintendent. It may write a search plan proposal, but it was not a requirement, Sullivan said.
"I can say there was a lot of public input in the last process, I hope any committee is open to input from all facets of the community," he said. The School Committee will make the final decision on who is hired as the next superintendent, but it can also name search committees that can include teachers, parents and other residents, Sullivan said.
Officials from the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education said they are also interested in participating, Sullivan said. "I think that is fair because they are so heavily invested in the city of Holyoke," he said. Since the schools were declared underperforming the state has spent about $4.5 million on efforts to improve student scores.