Hartford School Board delays search for new superintendent

Published: 02-23-2024 5:04 PM

HARTFORD — The Hartford School Board voted on Monday to suspend its search for a new superintendent until next year. The decision comes amid budget woes and pushback against the decision to a replacement a full year early, incurring the cost of two superintendent-level salaries during a “transitional” year.

Current superintendent, Tom DeBalsi, plans to retire at the end of the 2024-25 school year. The School Board in January signed a $16,375 contract with executive search firm MacPherson & Jacobson to conduct a search for a candidate to serve as superintendent during DeBalsi’s final year. DeBalsi would then have worked on special projects during the final year of his contract and helped with the new superintendent’s transition as needed.

At Monday night’s meeting, School Board Chairman Kevin Christie recommended suspending the search and removing the position’s $218,000 salary and benefits package from the budget, which the board also rescinded at Monday’s meeting, according to the meeting minutes. The budget vote will not take place on March 5 as previously warned.

The early search had drawn criticism from the Hartford School District’s teachers’ union, its administrative council and members of the public. On Feb. 14, a group of Hartford school administrators submitted a letter to the School Board objecting to the expense of paying two high-level administrative salaries and criticizing the lack of transparency in the search process.

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