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School Committee agrees on MASC for superintendent search

Date: 1/14/2016

WILBRAHAM – The Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School Committee agreed to contract the Massachusetts Association of School Committees to assist with its search for a new superintendent.

The School Committee made the commitment based on a recommendation by the Superintendent Search Process Committee, which met with representatives of the MASC and the New England School Development Council (NESDC) on Jan 5.

“We felt Glenn [Koocher, MASC, executive director] gave a much better presentation overall,” William Bontempi, a member of the School Committee and the subcommittee, said, adding the School Committee is already belongs to MASC.

The committee voted unanimously to enter contract negotiations with the firm.

The costs of tapping the MASC would not exceed $9,500, according to School Committee Chair Salerno, who said he already had discussions with MASC representatives, who indicated the exact dollar figure would be dependent upon the scope of the organization’s work.

During in his chairman’s report, Salerno responded to a query during the public comment portion of the meeting as to whether using the services of a search firm was fiscally responsible, saying, “We`re looking to hire someone who is going to be running a budget in excess of $45 million. As a business that is a fairly substantial issue. Any advice we can get from a professional, orchestrated firm, I think we’d find [the money] very well spent.”

Bontempi added the MASC made a promise to repeat the search process free of charge if the first attempt did not yield positive results, something the NESDC did not offer. With the NESDC, the district would be responsible for advertising costs if the process had to be repeated. He also noted the MASC pledged it would identify a superintendent who would stay with the district for at least two years.

Salerno added he felt the Search Process Subcommittee put together a comprehensive approach that would include “diverse input” from a “balanced” Superintendent Search Committee. The district is currently accepting applications from parents interested in participating in the process.

The School Committee also agreed to set the date for its budget roundtable discussion for the fiscal year 2017 (FY17) budget for Feb. 23 at 6 p.m.

Assistant Superintendent for Business Beth Regulbuto originally suggested Feb. 17, but it was pointed out that date fell during the school break.

The district’s budget hearing will take place on March 8, with the preliminary assessments presented to the respective member towns shortly thereafter.