According to today’s Sun Info request creates static at GL Tech story by Sarah Favot there is rift between Supt. Mary Jo Santoro and new Lowell School Committeeman Erik Gitschier over some information Mr. Gitschier requested at a meeting. According to the story:
Erik Gitschier wanted to find out how many students at the school are eligible for co-op placements versus the number of students who are enrolled in co-op placements in each shop. He filed a motion for March’s School Committee meeting requesting the school provide the board this information. At the meeting, the motion failed, with members saying he could easily get the information from administration without a motion. About an hour after the meeting, Gitschier sent Superintendent Mary Jo Santoro an email asking for the information. Santoro denied his request, saying, “Due to the fact that the direction I have been given, by the committee as a whole, is not to act on this request I am unable to send this information at this time,” according to emails sent to The Sun.
Supt. Mary Jo Santoro is 100% WRONG to withhold information from any school committee member that request it. The Supt. needs to stay above the political infighting on the board and like it or not respect and respond to all school committee members. She has to respect the fact that he has a right to get this information especially after being told it was available and she needs to STOP playing politics. She has done this in the past and it is one issue that has hurt her.
It is especially hard for her I am sure because Mr. Gitschier in my opinion and much to my own personal dismay has made his agenda clear since joining the school committee. Embarrass and attack the Supt. and her family whenever possible and disrespect his fellow members who appointed her.
On several occasions he has made it known that ‘he attended classes” and made statements that imply other committee members who have served a long time don’t know the rules and don’t know what they are doing. He has attacked the Supt. and her family (niece) at the behest of angry administrators and union members who worked to get him elected and has come across at meetings like the new smart kid in class who can’t wait to show you how smart he is and how dumb you are.
It isn’t professional and he has just opened a bigger divide between Mr. Bahou and himself with occasional support from Mr. O’Neil against Mr. O’Hare, Lenzi, Olson and Tully who all seem to work together well. Mr. Morin tries to stay in the middle and respect all sides.
If Mr. Gitschier is the “young professional” than he needs to show his elders some respect and realize that change can come but it takes time, patience and cooperation. Last I checked you still need 5 votes for a motion to pass.
Both Both Supt. Santoro and Gitschier are wrong in their behavior and both need to stop the bickering and find a way to work together for the students.
Here’s some reading that BOTH the Supt. and Mr, Gitschier should do and learn from.
Chapter 71: Section 37 Powers and duties Section 37. The school committee in each city and town and each regional school district shall have the power to select and to terminate the superintendent, shall review and approve budgets for public education in the district, and shall establish educational goals and policies for the schools in the district consistent with the requirements of law and statewide goals and standards established by the board of education.
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES FOR SCHOOL COMMITTEES AND SUPERINTENDENTS
Those who govern and administer the Commonwealth’s public schools must share a vision, a clear purpose, and the ability and courage to lead.
Communication is the centerpiece of effective school committee-superintendent relationships and is the foundation that will nurture a climate conducive to growth. When roles are clear and relationships are sound, communities feel a sense of confidence in their school leadership which in turn enhances the education of all students in the community.
Strong collaborative leadership from school committees and superintendents must be a driving force in dealing with the direct and indirect challenges facing our society and our schools. A superintendent must display excellence as an educational leader, be politically sophisticated, aware of and active in legislative developments, possess an extensive knowledge of federal and state laws, and personify effective communication.
A school committee must be responsive to its constituencies in governance, sensitive to the diverse needs of all learners, an advocate for students and learning before the people of the community and, as such, a vigorous ambassador for public education before all citizens.
Procedures, determined locally in each school system, should be reviewed annually to assure compliance with current policy.
Harmonious and productive relationships between school committees and superintendents will flourish if two-way communication is established and maintained. Such teamwork will work to enhance and improve the Commonwealth’s schools, enriching the lives of all Massachusetts students.
SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEMBER ETHICS
A school committee member in his relations with his community should:
Recognize that his basic function is to be policy making and not administrative
Accept the office of a committee member as a means of unselfish service with no intent to “play politics”, in any sense of the word,
A school committee member in his relations with his school administration should:
Recognize and support the administrative chain of command and refuse to act on complaints as an individual outside the administration.
Refer all complaints to the administrative staff for solution and only discuss them at committee meetings if such solutions fail