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Sharing superintendent may save 3 teaching jobs.

Byline: Craig S. Semon

TOWNSEND - The North Middlesex Regional School District hopes to save three teachers' jobs by sharing its school superintendent and executive secretary with the Quabbin Regional School District.

In a 6-2 vote, the North Middlesex school committee voted Monday night to authorize negotiations for a shared services arrangement.

Under the arrangement, North Middlesex would be paid $100,000 in exchange for sharing the services of School Superintendent Maureen M. Marshall and Executive Secretary Nancy Landry. There also could be other shared arrangements, such as for professional development.

The $100,000 would be applied to the rehiring of three teachers.

"Three teachers are going to have a more significant impact in the short term than Dr. Marshall is going to have in the central office," Mr. Brown said.

Mr. Brown said the shared services agreement with Quabbin will have an "exit strategy" for North Middlesex if it doesn't' work.

"What will we do if it doesn't work?" Mr. Brown said. "Obviously, we'll look at this in the perspective that we're going to be able to extract us quickly if we so desire."

School Committee Chairman Arnold Silva Jr. said it would be an 11-month agreement with no automatic renewal. He said there is no agreement yet and no structure set for the agreement.

As reflected in the minutes of its June 11 meeting, the Quabbin Regional School District School Committee voted "to accept the proposal of the North Middlesex Regional School District Committee voted June 8, 2009, to share the professional services and compensation" of the superintendent with Quabbin. However, Ms. Marshall, who wasn't at the June 11 meeting, has said the North Middlesex committee did not vote on any such proposal on June 8.

Ms. Marshall, who is also the president of the Massachusetts Association of Regional Schools, resigned in August 2006 as superintendent of Quabbin to become the superintendent of North Middlesex.

Sue M. Gee stepped down as Quabbin Regional School District superintendent on April 28, at which time Cheryl A. Duval, the district's director of finance and business, was named the acting school superintendent.

Addressing the concerns of some that the district is going to get half a superintendent, Mr. Brown said the principals have said they are going to get 100 percent of what they need from Mrs. Marshall, while Mr. Silva said she is going to be working double.

"To understand the structure that we have in the district, those administrators are more integral to the day-to-day operations of our school than Dr. Marshall," Mr. Brown said.

"For me, it's not part-time," Mr. Silva said. "This is taking on two full-time jobs and that's how I feel about it."

Trying to quash any rumors that she wants to go back to her old district and work in her hometown, Mrs. Marshall said, "If I wanted to choose Quabbin over this district, all I have to do is say post the job and I'm gone."

"I have been a superintendent for more than half my professional career, more than half. That's a long time to be superintendent," Mrs. Marshall said. "But, in the end, I know something that no one else can. I know me. I know my capacity. I know my abilities. I know what I can and can't do ... I have the capacity to do this and I know it. I can do this job."
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Jul 29, 2009
Words:563
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