School Committee Chair Rich Maronski announced on Tuesday that he will be resigning from the Committee as of May 3 – citing that the frustrations with attendance at the meetings was getting in the way of his family life.
Maronski has been on the Committee for four years, and was appointed at the time. He previously served on the City Council, but said his experience on the School Committee was much more frustrating – leading him to decide it was time to move on.
“I believe the taxpayers aren’t getting their money’s worth and the kids are paying the penalty,” he said. “It needs to change. Our School Committee needs to go back the old way or they need to be appointed. It’s the only job I know where you don’t have to show up, don’t have to call in and don’t get fired. I hope our City leaders take a deep look at this and make some changes.”
Maronski was elected chair this year in his fourth year, and he was accompanied as vice chair by Julio Hernandez, who also resigned last week.
While Hernandez cited family and school complications, he also said he left frustrated by the sparse attendance of some members of the Committee.
“I loved working in the School Committee, but it also made me angry to see some members not show up to meetings, not ask questions, and not have thorough discussions regarding our students’ education,” he said in a statement last week. “…I now believe School Committee Members should be appointed, because our students’ education is no joke.”
Maronski said things started off bad from day one, when he showed up to take his appointed seat but not enough School Committee members showed up to form a quorum and have an official meeting.
“I had to come back another night when there were enough members there to have a meeting,” he said.
He also said he became severely frustrated two years ago when the Committee was faced with voting on a $1.1 million grant that would help save jobs for teachers that had been cut.
The Committee only had to show up in enough numbers for a formality vote that accepted the grant.
“We didn’t have enough members for a quorum and we couldn’t vote on a measure that was going to save teacher jobs,” he said. “There are no phone calls and people just don’t show up…It’s been going on for years.”
More recently, he said the Committee wasn’t able to get enough people to vote on the Superintendent’s Job Description, so the Search Committee had to work for a month with only an unapproved draft until they could get enough members at a meeting to vote.
“My well-being and my family’s well-being come first,” he said. “I was taking this home with me. I’m getting married soon and it wasn’t fair. The reason why I chose to resign is because maybe I could bring light to our City leaders that this situation has to change…We do have some very good School Committee members that give their time, but a lot don’t.”
He said the Committee also plays an important role for supporting the kids in the schools. He said he would love to see a Committee where members are active and involved, supporting the kids at reading events, sporting events and concerts.
“We live in a City where there are a lot of single parent homes and so it’s even more important the School Committee members show up to these kids’ events to support them,” he added.
Maronski said he had all the respect in the world for the Central Office, the principals, the teachers and the buildings/grounds crews.
He also said Supt. Mary Bourque has done a great job in a hard job.
“Mary Bourque has the toughest job in the city,” he said. “We had our differences, but 90 percent of the time we agreed and only 10 percent we didn’t.”