Divided New London school board decides to fill assistant superintendent's job, for now

New London — The Board of Education voted 4-3 on Thursday to fill the assistant superintendent's position on an interim basis.

Opposed were board members Jason Catala, Delanna Muse and Liz Garcia Gonzalez.

After 12 years, Assistant Superintendent of Schools Christine Carver is leaving the school district. She will begin May 1 in Newington as associate superintendent of schools and chief of staff in the office of human capital development.

Before the school board's regular meeting on Thursday, the three-member Personnel and Legal Committee met to discuss the responsibilities of the assistant superintendent and the impact of dispersing her duties to other administrators.

The committee voted unanimously to hire an interim assistant superintendent for the remaining part of the school year and the summer.

Committee Chairman William Morse said that the vote "buys the board time" to decide whether it will fill the position at the start of next school year. He said there will be another Personnel and Legal Committee meeting later in the year to discuss filling the position and that of a human resources director.

The committee's almost hour long-discussion began with Carver outlining her responsibilities.

She said her major responsibilities are human resources, special education, grants, summer school and magnet school and curriculum and instruction. Other duties include Connecticut Mastery Test and Connecticut Academic Performance Test implementation and overseeing the district improvement plans.

Around five years ago, there were positions responsible for carrying out those tasks, but due to consolidation, Carver has taken them all on.

"I'm tired just listening to you say all that you do," school board member Barbara Major said. "I think it's absolutely insane to have the assistant superintendent monitoring crossing guards."

Carver's salary, according to the school board's budget, is $140,776.

Some of the committee members questioned why her duties could not be distributed to other administrators.

"I know the perception is otherwise, but there's nobody to delegate it to," Carver said. "Everyone else is working just as hard as I am, and if you do delegate my responsibilities to other people then something has to go."

Carver recommended that if board members voted to eliminate her position, then they should hire a director of human resources, a director of special education and a director of curriculum and grants. Superintendent of Schools Nicholas A. Fischer said that it would cost about $120,000 per position per year plus benefits.

He said the Central Office has been in "limbo" waiting for a decision from the board.

"There are two ways of dealing with this," he said. "One is to load it on and acknowledge that it will take away time, or pay someone more to work through the summer or pay them for additional responsibilities. We can't do it all."

j.hanckel@theday.com

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