Five years, three schools, nine principals

Mascenic parents look for answers, input on staff turnover

  • Top: Carolyn Cormier and Natalie Breen discuss their issues with the Mascenic School District during a community meeting on Friday night. Above: Parents attend the community meeting. Staff photoS by Ashley Saari

  • Natalie Breen, Tricia Matson and Corrine Joly sit in a small group discussion during a community meeting on Friday. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Community members offer possible solutions to percieved issues within the district. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, May 09, 2016 6:51PM

Five years, three schools, nine principals.

The turnover of staff in the Mascenic District, particularly those in leadership positions, has a group of parents asking why.

More than 30 parents and school staff attended a community meeting in New Ipswich, hosted by Julie Lampinen.

They are most frustrated, she said, with the turnover rate of staff in the district.

“This type of turnover is a red flag for our community,” said former Highbridge Hill teacher Carolyn Cormier. “What qualified professional would be willing to come work in our district, knowing our recent history?”

A number of calls to Superintendent Ruthann Goguen in the past week were not returned by press time Monday.

Lampinen, who has requested information related to staff turnover from the district through a Right-to-Know request, cited 83 cases of turnover in the last three years, including 42 resignations, nine reductions in force, 10 retirements, 21 nonrenewals, and 1 termination. In the past five years, there have been nine new principals at the district’s three schools. While some turnover is to be expected, the number seemed excessive to most of the parents present.

A core group of organizers was particularly concerned about the recent non-renewal of Mascenic Principal Tom Marshall. They agreed to continue collecting signatures for a community petition asking for reconsideration of the decision by the School Board, to accompany a student petition carrying 109 signatures already submitted to the board.

Among other concerns that made the list were a percieved lack of transparency and communication between the School Board and parents and a shortage of staff at Highbridge Hill Elementary School, particularly during lunch and recess.

The group put together suggestions for the school board, one of which was a survey of the current staff to determine if there was a cause of the turnover.

The group also asks for the reinstatement of student representatives to the school board and urges the board to change its policy regarding receiving public comment at board meetings.

They also ask that board meetings be recorded and those recordings be made available on the district website.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.