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School board debates teacher hiring policy

— Board member Lisa Lounsbury said some district prefer young teachers to older ones. Woodworth agreed and said that some districts see younger teachers as easier to “mold.”

Baldwin said he just did not understand the thought of hiring a person with little or no experience over someone with years of experience, and he believes the board’s personnel committee should review all new hire applicants the way it reviews all candidates for tenure.

Dubik, who appeared frustrated by the suggestion of board intervention in new hires, repeated his faith in the hiring committee and its processes, and said, “There’s so much more to this, so many variables. It’s not an exact science.”

“I think you’re going down a slippery slope,” Vogel said to Baldwin.

“I agree,” said Woodworth.

The board agreed to discuss the issue more at its October meeting.

The board voted 5-2 to approve the proposed personnel approvals, with Baldwin voting no and Marris abstaining.

Also at the meeting, the board:

—Heard from Len Carrissimon, the district’s external auditor, that the district had a clean audit with no financial issues, no disagreements between the auditor and “no major issues.” Carrissimon did say — in a statement that echoed what assistant superintendent for business and finance Bill Furlong has been telling the board for months — that the district has seen a “significant decline” in its fund balance as a result of a yearly practice of using reserve funding to plug gaps in the overall budget. He said the district is not making irresponsible spending choices but is seeing the effects of increased costs and reduced state and federal aid. Carrissimon said, and Furling agreed, that the reserve funds are going to run out in one to two years if circumstances do not change.

“Our goal is to watch the spending and see where the budget takes us next year,” said board President Pat Vogl in response to the audit report.

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