The Board of Education voted 6-1 on Thursday to not renew Superintendent Nicholas Fischer’s employment contract, which is set to expire in 2014.
The board also voted 4-3 to direct Fischer to hire for the assistant superintendent position on an interim basis. This position will become vacant once Assistant Superintendent Christine Carver’s resignation becomes effective on Tuesday.
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Both Fischer and Carver’s contracts have an “evergreen clause,” with the board voting each April on whether to roll over the three-year contract to a new year. , the board voted 6-1 to renew Fischer’s contract so that it ends on June 30, 2014 and 5-2 to renew Carver’s contract to end on the same day.
Board member Margaret Curtin, who made the proposal to not renew the contract, asked that Fischer be given official legal notice of the decision by Tuesday. Secretary Jason Catala, who said last year that he was , asked that the board take a position against evergreen clauses. President Bill Morse, the sole vote in favor of renewing Fischer’s contract, said this was a separate issue that can be discussed in the future.
Mayor Daryl Finizio, who has an ex-officio seat on the Board of Education, said he supported the non-renewal until a full assessment of the school district can be made.
Fischer has been superintendent of the since July of 2009. He defended his record in a prepared statement, saying the board has given him high marks in prior evaluations. Fischer said that during his tenure, the schools have , stronger teacher evaluations, , and the for students.
“This board vote says that I have been doing my job well. It is a badge of honor,” said Fischer. “It is a recognition that some people are uncomfortable with our asking them to have high expectations, to improve their performance and to increase expectations of adults and students. I want to thank the many staff who have stepped up to significantly improve student achievement.”
Fischer’s last approved contract includes a $151,470 annual salary, 25 vacation days, payment of 84 percent of health and dental premiums by the district, a $6,000 expense account for travel and other business expenses, and a $500 automobile stipend. Carver’s contract has a $140,776 annual salary, 22 vacation days, coverage of 84 percent of health and dental premiums by the Board of Education, and a $250 automobile stipend.
Carver has to take a job as the associate superintendent of schools and chief of staff in the Office of Human Capital Development in the Newington Public Schools.
Board member Margaret Curtin motioned for Carver’s position to be filled on an interim basis. This passed 4-3 as an amendment and main motion.
Catala, who has requested that the district , asked that the position be filled on an interim basis only through July 1 to conclude the current fiscal year. The request failed due to a lack of a second.