From The Republician-American: Changes urged to Region 1 superintendent job agreement Reply

From today’s republican-American

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An attorney hired by Falls Village has recommended some modifications to a joint employment agreement being proposed for the Region 1 school superintendent.

The All Board Chairmen Committee has been told by its attorney, Gary Brochu, that the regional school district must enact a joint written agreement to comply with state statutes. Five town boards approved Brochu’s draft, but Falls Village town and school board officials declined because of some of the wording. The All Board Chairmen Committee members agreed to see what Falls Village’s attorney had to say even though some wanted to go ahead without that town’s participation. A meeting is scheduled for noon today.

Falls Village officials hired Frederick Dorsey of Kainen Escalera and McHale in Hartford, who specializes in education and employment law. Dorsey wrote that the agreement has some legal and practical problems that must be modified saying that under state law, the agreement must spell out: the superintendent’s term of office; how the costs will be split among the towns; how the superintendent will be evaluated; the duties, membership and voting requirements of the committee that administers the agreement; and how the joint agreement would be terminated.
Dorsey said Brochu’s agreement does not addresses its termination. He said additional provisions must be included to meet all the requirements under state law.

He said the ABC Committee’s duties should be defined to make it clear that it is an advisory group rather than a governing body, which he said would be unconstitutional.

He also wants to clarify a voting number, which in some places is defined as two-thirds. That could result in a fraction that might be either a simple or a super majority, depending on whether it is figured from the majority of boards or the majority of members present and voting. He said specifying a number would eliminate that uncertainty.

Another issue Dorsey addressed is how the superintendent’s pay will be apportioned among the participating towns. Since the region’s inception in 1939, all expenditures have been divided up proportionately based on student population.

The ABC Committee and Region 1 Board of Education have approved a change effective beginning with the 2016-17 school year that would divide the superintendent’s pay equally among the seven boards on the assumption that the superintendent serves each district equally. The change was proposed by officials of Canaan, which has the largest student population and pays the largest share. Under this change, larger towns such as Canaan and Salisbury would pay less and smaller towns such as Falls Village and Cornwall would pay more.

Dorsey wrote that he could see no reason to allocate the superintendent’s pay differently than other expenses shared by the boards, and that doing so might be unconstitutional. He recommended staying with the original allocation based on population.

He wrote that his revised proposal addresses these issues and “with minor modification … can result in a mutually agreeable process for the joint employment of a superintendent.”

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