STATE HOUSE — House Bill 6084 SUB A, placing hiring authority solely in the hands of superintendents, eliminating school board’s authority to approve hiring decisions, passed the House Wednesday, which School Committee member Nathan Cornell would block a routine exercise of the board’s authority.
“One thing to note is that currently, the [original] statute gives the superintendent the power of appointing administrators and all school department personnel with the consent of the school committee,” Cornell wrote in a Facebook post about the bill.
“Because the section, “with the consent of the school committee,” is stricken from the bill; it gives the superintendent the power to hire anyone or extend any contract he wants without the School Committee’s approval,” Cornell wrote.
In a recent Capitol TV interview, the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Gregg Amore, (D-Dist. 65) said his intent is to prevent school boards from “second guessing” superintendent’s and hiring committees’ decisions on hiring personnel.
“In essence, the School Committee is removed from the hiring process,” Amore said. “They approve the position, they budget for the position, but, the school with the opening would interview and would choose the replacement, or the candidate for that open position, without interference from either the superintendent or the school committee,” he said.
A hiring team within each school would make the hiring decision instead, Amore said.
“It’s really important to have a community in the school that feels like they’re all involved in the process,” Amore said in the interview.
But that’s not true, Cornell said.
“Also, in the section about principals and the school improvement teams on page 7, it only gives these individuals the power to recommend who is to be hired; the superintendent would still have the final say, not the school committee anymore,” Cornell said.
Section 16-2-11.1 of the bill does put the final hiring authority with the superintendent.
“In consultation with the school improvement team, to recommend the hiring of all teachers, athletic coaches, instructional or administrative aides, and other personnel assigned to the school, consistent with district personnel policies, collective bargaining agreements, and budgetary restrictions, and subject to the approval of the superintendent,” the bill reads.
At the moment, Cornell wrote, principals conduct interviews and make recommendations on hiring. Then it goes to the superintendent for a final recommendation before the School Committee must approve it.
“This bill would completely take the School Committee out of the equation and make it that the Superintendent would have final say on all personnel matters,” Cornell said.
The bill has not yet been placed on the Senate calendar. The final day of the General Assembly’s 2019 Session is Sunday, June 30.