Superintendent Review Timeline Updated

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Reading, MA — By a vote of 5-0, the School Committee adjusted the timeframe by which Superintendent of Schools Thomas Milsachewski will receive his formal review. Prior to this, summative reviews of the superintendent have occurred annually, with a formative review in the middle of the school year. Following the vote on Thursday, August 10, Milaschewski will have a summative review every two years with a formative review at the one-year mark between summative reviews.

School Committee chair Thomas Wise shared that the Massachusetts Association of School Committees provides guidance stating that a two-year review method is acceptable for superintendents who have completed their first three years and who have long-term contracts with their districts. Milaschewski agreed to a six-year contract extension in May, which was accepted by the School Committee by a 5-0 vote at their May 8 meeting, the term of which began on July 1.

School Committee member Shawn Brandt initially urged the committee to maintain the current system for at least the next year. He argued that the coming year is a “high leverage year,” citing upcoming union negotiations as well as the continuing Killam Elementary School building project. Brandt also noted that if a two-year review were adopted, some elements of Milaschewski’s contract, which are dependent upon annual review, would need to be updated. Member Sarah McLoughlin expressed similar concerns, though she stated that she could support a two-year cycle, provided that Milachewski continued to provide regular updates on his progress. Wise indicated that his default is for an annual review but stated that the inclusion of the formative reviews, along with the continual assignment of annual goals for the superintendent, made him comfortable with the two-year cycle.

Member Carla Nazzaro clearly stated that she would only vote in favor of a two-year review cycle. She reminded the committee that Milaschewski has consistently asked for and responded to feedback from committee members. She indicated that the expectations of the committee are clear and that annual review takes time away from other tasks. “We know where we are headed,” Nazzaro prompted. “We need to give [Milaschewski] time to be able to get there.”

Milaschewski will receive a formative review in May or June 2024, to be followed by a formal summative review in the same timeframe in 2025.

The School Committee voted 5-0 to approve amendments to eight policies dealing with personnel and financial issues. It also voted 5-0 to revoke a policy regarding vendors that Wise referred to as “unnecessary.”

The committee also had a first reading of a new policy, DBDA, relating to the newly established Special Education Reserve Fund, which was approved by Town Meeting this past spring. The policy gives guidelines for the use of the fund, in accordance with Massachusetts General Law, as well as how the committee will determine its level of annual contribution to the fund. The committee will hold a second reading and review of the policy before a final vote, which is expected in September.

The School Committee adjourned to executive session at 8:20 pm.

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