The Mansfield Board of Education (BOE) greeted newly-hired faculty, approved the district's quarterly financial report and listened to several residents argue against a to not refill the public library director's position and instead make the school district librarian responsible for the Town library and all four school libraries.
The announced their opposition to the proposal, which was first discussed by the Town Council at its July 25 meeting.
The friends of the public library said they oppose the measure because they believe it would be impossible for one director to maintain the same level of quality at the schools – and the library, and that frequently used programs will ultimately suffer.
The residents who spoke at the meeting felt the same.
“Programs at night are designed for all ages and interest. It is a job that requires extraordinary skills and training and dealing with the general public,” said Rita Pollack, who described herself as a regular library user.
“The two library positions are very different and require different skills and training,” Rita continued. “Both libraries would suffer as a consequence.”
The board and Superintendent Frederick Baruzzi did not advocate for or against the proposal, but only said they would thoughtfully consider it and respect the Town Council's decision.
Baruzzi said combining the two positions could potentially benefit the school by allowing students greater access to the Town library's resources.
BOE Chairman Mark LaPlaca said that he respects the Town Council and Hart for coming up with new ideas to help buffer the Town against impending tough fiscal times. He criticized some of the proposals more vitriolic opponents, saying that the worst situation would be if the Town and its officials hesitated to present new ideas for fear of inciting public outrage.
After the public comment section, the board called on the newly hired staff members to introduce themselves.
Dr. James Palmer, the principal at , introduced Courtney Gile, a Mansfield resident and new preschool teacher at Vinton.
“There are a couple of times in a principal's life when you know you've got it exactly right,” Giles said.
Gile, who taught preschool in East Hampton for the last five years, said that her family moved to Mansfield because of the schools.
“This is a dream for me,” Giles said.
This year, three new faculty members will be teaching at , one at and one at Vinton.
Five new non-certified staff, including a new instructional assistant at Goodwin and a new school nurse at , will also be starting in the district this school year.
In her final quarterly report of the year, Finance Director Cherie Trahan said that the board of education finished the 2010-11 fiscal year $537 under its $20,588,160 budget, excluding $1,436,733 in expenditures that were part of an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant.
The board ended the public section of the meeting by voting to enter executive session to discuss a personnel matter.
The next BOE Meeting will be held on Oct. 13 at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Audrey P. Beck Municipal Building.