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Report Blasts School Tri-Board in Easton-Redding

When the newly hired superintendent of schools decided to retire only eight months into his tenure, the Easton-Redding school system sought a consultant to find out – "Was it me?"

The tri-district formed the Structure and Ways of Working Committee to "review the Tri-District ways of working together as it relates to the quality of life for administrators and the ability of the school districts to fulfill their missions." The report will be presented at the Monday meeting of the Easton/Redding/Region 9 school boards.

The biggest challenge for the superintendent may be to find ways to communicate with all three boards. This issue and the K-12 alignment and "unpleasant behavior exhibited by several board members" were found to be factors in the resignation of Superintendent Michael Cicchetti after only eight months, Evan Pitkoff of Cooperate Educational Services wrote in the report. Cicchetti announced in November he was retiring effective June 30. He will be replaced by Bernard Josefsberg.

"There were reports of a perceived lack of civility by some Region 9 Board members toward the administration. The three boards did not seem to get along as evidenced by heated interactions at several recent Tri-Board meetings," the report says. It suggests the Tri-Board consider a merger to become one K-12 district and cut the number of evening meetings.

Pitkoff detailed the strengths of the system, including community support, "terrific kids" and the strength and quality of teaching staff and administrators. A weakness was found in the alignment of the two towns in areas of K-12 resources such as the financing for SMART Boards and mathematical materials, as well as in teacher schedules, salaries and professional days.

The current structure consists of three separate budgets, policy manuals, by-laws and nine separate bargaining units with different formats.

"It was felt that there were too many committees and too many evening meetings, thus draining the stamina of the central office administrative staff," the report states.

Do you agree that it's time to change the structure of the Tri-Board school board? Leave your comments below.

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