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School Committee delays decision on superintendent search

Westborough – Marianne O’Connor will have to wait until Jan. 6 to find out if the process involved for her to become the next superintendent of schools in Westborough will continue.

At its Dec. 16 meeting the School Committee decided it would delay a decision about going forward with the interview process with O’Connor, currently the assistant superintendent of schools, who is the only internal candidate for the position.

The committee had originally hoped to announce at the Dec. 16 meeting, or add a meeting Dec. 23 to announce, if the committee would continue the interview process with O’Connor or open up its search to external candidates.

O’Connor interviewed for the superintendent of schools position for about an hour with the School Committee Dec. 10 and met with faculty, staff and parents in a series of interviews Dec. 14.

Making a decision at the Dec. 16 meeting wasn’t an option because committee member Craig Harris wasn’t able to attend the meeting as he was out of town tending to a business matter. A meeting Dec. 23, or any day that week for that matter, proved too difficul t t o accomplish.

“The Dec. 16 meeting didn’t work because Craig couldn’t’ be there and the entire committee needs to vote on this,” School Committee Chairman Karen Henderson said, “and adding a meeting the following week, even on the 23rd, just wasn’t possible with everyone’s schedules at this busy time of year.”

Whoever is hired for the position, be it O’Connor or an as yet to-be-determined candidate, they will be replacing Anne Towle, who is retiring from the position June 30 after five years in the post.

In other news, the School Committee, at the recommendation of the administration, voted to begin the day at Fales Elementary School five minutes early from the end of January to the end of the school year to make up the time lost earlier in the year when the school had to close due to a water main break.

Also at the Dec. 16 meeting, the School Committee discussed the implementation of budget focus groups at each school in the district.

These budget focus groups will include a school committee member and an administrator and will attend school council, staff and parent group meetings to collect data and information about programs or initiatives the groups believe can be implemented to make savings and/or improve instruction during these difficult financial times.

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