It seems incredible to me that responsible members of the School Committee would propose not accepting Mr Pandiscio's resignation. Clearly, the adminsitration of the school district is in financial turmoil and much of that has to be laid at the doorstep of the management team. While Mr Pandiscio did not create the double books that are the latest issue, he absolutely was responsible for daily management of the budget execution - if he didn't know the finances as well as the CFO- then he was not doing his job. Either way the responsibility is at his doorstep and losing his job is exactly what should happen to this $200,000/year employee. Fianlly- for the School Committee to act as though it's employee is "the indispensable man" is to willingly turn over it's authority to him. Anyone with experience in managing people and organizations understands exactly what the pitfalls of this approach are. If you are so terrified of losing the Superintendent when you have this kind of justification- you will no longer have any authority over your own employee.
The question really needs to be- how does the WRSD move foreward? There currently seems to be very little detailed oversight of the resourcing of the school district by the School Committee, and the budget proposals at the town meetings seem to be predicated on a rubber stamp theory with no alternatives between full approval and utter catastrophe. Voters are not presented with credible alternatives, and from I have observed the School committee doesn't have the detailed knowledge to provide those alternatives. They essentially take what the Superintendent submits and pass it along. This clearly is not a method of doing business that works in an era of constrained funding. I fear that until we get both a new Superintendent and a hands on School Committee we will continue to have more of the same.
This is manipulation in a big way and it shows a rather interesting lack of responsibility on the part of the man. Mr Pandiscio wants us to feel like he is taking heat for something that someone else did- but in reality this happened on his watch and was his responsibility. As the Superintendent he is the CEO of this venture- that business manager worked for him and he approved his numbers and methodology. What was he doing that somehow the numbers presented by his management team were off by $2 million dollars on $80 million? They lost track of 2.5% of their resources and he didn't notice?
The politics involved here are largely of Mr Pandiscio's own making and were aided by a complacent school committee that did not exercie due diligence in its fiscal oversight responsibilities. He clearly manipulated budget requests with predictions of doom unless certain funding levels were approved, then changed the song repeatedly as the circumstances changed. (Last weeks decision in Holden is a perfect example: 14 teachers/8 from Holden to be let go to. After the committee meeting at which the town expressed its strong objections - that decision was miraculously reversed for 13 of those teachers.) Bluntly -Tax payers and voters had no confidence in what was being put before them. Mr Pandiscio fostered an ugly, fundamentally untrustworthy environment and is paying the price now with his job- as he should. One hopes that the takeaway is that the School Committee becomes a hands on manager of our school district, so that the voters get their confidence restored in the integrtiy of the process and are given some intelligent options to vote for rather than up or down votes with promises of catastrophe if we vote against the budget. Good leadership can clear a lot of the cloud of mistrust that hovers over the school district- but that requires someone with open and honest management skills and unquestioned personal integrity. View Comment