The Board of Education is scheduled to conduct a special meeting Tuesday at 5:30 to discuss “filling interim superintendent vacancy” of Fran Rabinowitz who announced she’s leaving at the end of the year following a clash with school board member Maria Pereira. The board has assembled selectively in special meetings called by Chair Dennis Bradley who announced a boycott of meetings in an imbroglio with Pereira.
Board members Pereira, Howard Gardner, Sauda Baraka and Ben Walker have urged Bradley to end the boycott. Joe Larcheveque, Annette Negron and Rafael Fonseca, who initially announced he would attend regularly scheduled board meetings, have joined the boycott except for special meetings set by Bradley.
Some education observers believe Rabinowitz resigned to gain the attention of the state Education Department to intercede in local board matters. So far the state is taking a wait and see attitude. The board is operating with eight members following the resignation of Republican Kevin McSpirit. The board did not fill the vacancy within 30 days of the resignation so that could allow Mayor Joe Ganim to fill it. One of the leading candidates is John Weldon who has been interested in a school board seat for years.
The school board will conduct an organizational meeting of officers the first week of December.
In 2017 five school board seats are up for grabs: Baraka, Gardner, Joe Larcheveque and Negron who’s filling out the term of Dave Hennessey and Fonseca who recently filled the term of Andre Baker.
Next year is also a City Council election cycle. In 2013, all Democratic endorsed candidates for school board and City Council were defeated in primaries when Bill Finch was mayor, so next year could be a test of strength for Ganim and Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa.