This site aims to inform and mobilize Beverly parents to take an active role in all issues related to the funding and operation of the city's schools. It was launched in the spring of 2008, when the city saw its first-ever override attempt fail, followed by the closure of a nearly-new elementary school. Subsequent years have seen further cuts that have led to larger class sizes across the district. While the opening of an impressive new high school and plans to replace the city's aging middle school give us reason to be optimistic, the school community must be ever vigilant in demanding appropriate school funding by city and state governments, and better community communications from the district and School Committee.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Galinski May be Heading Out as Superintendent

Today's Salem News reports that Superintendent Marie Galinski is one of three finalist for the Superintendent job in a central Massachusetts school district.  Galinski has held the top job in Beverly since July of 2010, and was Beverly's Assistant Superintendent for 6 years before that.

According to the News:
Galinski was named one of three finalists for superintendent of the Groton-Dunstable Regional School District on Wednesday night. She is scheduled to be interviewed by the district’s School Committee on Tuesday.

Beverly School Committee President Maria Decker said she was “surprised” when Galinski informed the School Committee before the holiday break that she was an applicant for the job in Groton.

The School Committee gave Galinski a $6,000 raise last June, boosting her salary to $151,000. Decker said Galinski then asked for a contract extension over the summer, and the committee agreed to a one-year extension to June 2014.
The current superintendent in Groton-Dunstable oversees just over half as many students as Beverly (2,600 compared to Beverly's 4,600), and his salary is $157,000 ($6,000 more than Galinski is currently paid).

Whether the salary was part of Galinski's decision is speculation, but administrative salaries in Beverly have been raised as an issue in the past. A chart in the Salem News last Spring listed Galinski's salary dead last among Superintendents' salaries on the north shore, and lower than the state average. Even with her recent increase she would rank last. (Danvers, the one lower than Galinski in the list raised the salary of their Superintendent to $157,000 in October.)

Galinski's tenure has been somewhat smoother than that of her predessesor, James Hayes, who oversaw the closing of two schools, and the threatened closure of two others.  She oversaw the opening of the new high school, and the community seems to be much more content with the state of the schools than it was during Hayes' tenure.

School Committee President Maria Decker said of Galinski's announcement:
“She’s been here nine years, and she’s done a lot of good in the city and the school district,” Decker said. “We’ve got some wonderful building superintendents and administrators, and we can continue all the great things we’re doing should she be selected. We’ve got 4,600 children in the Beverly public schools that are always in the forefront of my mind and the rest of the School Committee’s minds. The superintendent is doing what’s best for her, and we have to respect that.”
Galinski says that if she doesn't get the position in Groton, she would stay in Beverly at least until the end of her contract in 2014.

1/22 UPDATE: Saturday's Salem News reports that Galinski has withdrawn from the running for the Groton-Dunstable job, but the whole episode doesn't seem to be sitting well with some members of the School Committee, which had recently extended her contract, and upped her salary.

School Committee president Maria Decker, told the News that "dozens of administrators, teachers, parents and students from the Beverly public schools spent time last week with members of the Groton-Dunstable search committee who came to Beverly for a day to inquire about Galinski":
“It’s unfortunate given that lots of people made an investment on her behalf that she did not see this process through to completion,” Decker said.
Further details on what went wrong were reported in Saturday's Lowell Sun, which also reported that not just Galinski, but one of the other two finalists had withdrawn:
[Groton-Dunstable] School Committee Chairman Allison Manugian told committee members that Bradshaw and Galinski had asked that their names be withdrawn. When pressed, Manugian said that the specific reason given was too frank discussion among School Committee members at a meeting Wednesday at which members indicated that there was a general lack of enthusiasm for any of the finalists, despite a search process that had yielded 26 applications. 
In the Salem News report, Decker stated that "Galinski will remain superintendent until her contract expires in June 2014," but it seems that this episode has begun the public conversation of what Beverly wants in its next school leader.