The school committee soon meets to decide whether to bring in an outside firm or handle the preliminary schools superintendent search in- house. There are three strong reasons the local board must implement the preliminary search along with the final decision making.

1. School committee member Chris Cotter is correct. No one knows the price tag search committees will charge to find the next Dr. Durkin. You can bet they aren’t cheap. School funds are tighter than a vice grip and becoming more scarce as more hurricane victims inhabit the schools. By saving precious dollars on an executive search team, more funds can be allocated to purchase depleting school supplies.

2. Voters elect School Committees to make tough decisions. For better or worse, voters and residents hold them accountable. The New Bedford School Committee is a mixed salad comprising military veterans, an attorney, past school workers and scholarly types. Each is qualified, competent and eager to select the city’s next school chief.

3. Prior to Dr. Pia Durkin announcing her resignation, School Committee members Colleen Dawicki, Josh Amaral, John Oliveira and Chris Cotter publicly stated they first want the people to tell them what kind of schools they demand before choosing the next superintendent. How many public meetings would an outside group host to get these answers? Outside search committees may ask all the right questions to formulate their plan, but at the end of the day, they must adhere to the state’s job description.

If you want to regain local control of the schools, your superintendent search is an inspiring first step. If the school committee follows my three solid reasons for conducting the superintendent search, they can begin claiming, they’re ready to take back the schools.

Editor’s Note:   Brian Thomas is the host of Brian’s Beat on 1420 WBSM New Bedford.  He can be heard weekdays from 10am-Noon and Saturdays from 6am-9am.  The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.


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