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Nashua;71.0;http://forecast.weather.gov/images/wtf/small/nbkn.png;2014-07-31 21:40:57
Wednesday, July 16, 2014

With start of school year looming, Nashua school board decides to hire staff to fill open positions

NASHUA – The school district will begin hiring staff to reopen the Brentwood School in Merrimack, a small alternative school for intensive needs students.

School board members on Monday unanimously approved a move to reopen and run the school located in a small red house outside Merrimack High School. The school district will lease the building and hire staff to educate as many as 16 students at the program. ...

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NASHUA – The school district will begin hiring staff to reopen the Brentwood School in Merrimack, a small alternative school for intensive needs students.

School board members on Monday unanimously approved a move to reopen and run the school located in a small red house outside Merrimack High School. The school district will lease the building and hire staff to educate as many as 16 students at the program.

Besides Brentwood, another option would be an out-of-district placement. The average tuition rate for out-of-district placements would be about $42,250 per student, according to Superintendent Mark Conrad. The placements would all be in Massachusetts. Conrad said no fall openings at self-contained programs within other public schools could be found.

Parents of Brentwood students preferred placements at Brentwood as long as it remains a similar program as before the closure, Conrad said.

The board will have further discussion on developing the Brentwood program at a special meeting July 21.

Before the board’s meeting, the Budget Committee voted to fill seven open positions for the coming school year. The positions had been held open as a buffer to potential budget cuts.

The positions include a school counselor at Fairgrounds Middle School, a new career/ELO counselor to support Career Pathways, a middle school teacher for either Fairgrounds or Pennichuck, two new elementary teacher positions at locations to be determined and two high school teachers, one for each high school.

Although the aldermen haven’t rendered a final decision on the education budget, member Robert Hollowell said they must proceed with the hiring to run the district properly.

Hallowell said filling these positions would still maintain Mayor Donnalee Lozeau’s proposed education budget.

“We’re getting close (to new school year), and we don’t want to leave positions open that will impact our students’ educations,” school board member Kimberly Muise said.

“Our concern is both timeliness at being able to make a decision … and having access to a strong applicant pool,” Conrad said. He said the posting process would still take a couple of weeks.

“We’re looking at going past Aug. 1, potentially,” Conrad said.

The committee and board also approved hiring an assistant principal position at the high school level that had previously been proposed as a cut.

“The people that wrote to me and spoke to me were very concerned about the harm that could be done if we cut that position … Absolutely the assistant principal position at the high school is needed,” said member Dorothy Oden.

One internal candidate, a math teacher, has come forward. If the candidate is hired for the assistant principal position, the board approved filling the potential open math teacher position as well.

Members also voted to hold open a data analyst position open to mitigate the cost of hiring the assistant principal position, thereby keeping to the mayor’s proposed budget.

The school board approved two contracts with Clearway High School: one for 15 special education students at a cost of $290,547, and another for 50 students at $292,171.

Tina Forbes can be reached at 594-6402 or tforbes@nashua
telegraph.com. Also, follow Forbes on Twitter (@Telegraph_TinaF).