CAMBRIDGE -- The Cambridge school board will not extend the superintendent’s contract, and have asked him to consider what it will take for him to step down.
Superintendent Vince Canini is under contract until June 30, 2014. He’s had the job since 2009, and has received strong support from school employees and community members.
But following a performance evaluation of Canini in May, the board polled its members to learn who would support to extend the contract.
The poll was 3-2 against the extension. Board members Paul Baker-Porazinski and Tom Wolski supported keeping Canini beyond 2014.
The poll was taken during an executive session meeting.
“The board authorized the school attorney to notify the superintendent that his contract would not be extended, and if he was interested in leaving before his contract expires,” said Kerri Brown, president of the board, on Tuesday.
When asked why the contract won’t be extended, Brown said she was told by the lawyer that the evaluation cannot be discussed in public.
Brown said the board has not made an official vote on the extension, but she expects it will happen during the board’s June 11 meeting.
“I’m confident that whatever the board decides, that it will be in the best interest of children,” Brown said.
Canini said he was shocked when the lawyer asked him to think about what it would take for him to leave before his contract ended.
“I was told to think about what I wanted to leave early,” Canini said. “I put together a proposal of what it would take for me to leave early. It was not initiated by me. I have no intention of leaving early. I will fulfill my contract.”
Canini would not share his proposal, but said he emailed it to the board.
If there’s no extension, he will retire when his contract ends, Canini said.
Brown said Canini was never offered a buyout. Instead, the board wanted to know if Canini planned to leave before his contract ended.
Baker-Porazinski said he’s frustrated that the majority of the board wants Canini out.
“We have a board that wants to replace the superintendent, who is doing an excellent job, (with) no reason to offer to the community,” Baker-Porazinski said.
During a May 14th board meeting, Baker-Porazinski said Canini’s final score on his evaluation was between “meets expectations” and “exceeds expectations.” He said he got the OK from Canini to reveal the score at the meeting.
But in doing so, he irked some board members who felt he should not have discussed the evaluation in open.
The meeting occurred in a packed classroom. During public comment, a number of people spoke in support of Canini and expressed frustration over the board’s refusal to explain why the contract won’t be extended.
At that meeting, Donna Phinney, president of the teachers union, said the union has asked the board more than once to keep Canini.
“We want him to stay,” Phinney said during the meeting. “Yet you have slapped your employees in the face by not renewing his contract. We are going to keep fighting until the very last day in support of Vince.”
A year ago, the board voted against extending Canini’s contract. At the time, two board members were set to step down because their terms were ending. Their replacements, Brown and Peggy McLenithan, were elected in May 2012 and set to take office July 1.
At the time, some board members opposed the extension because they wanted the new board to decide on the matter. Then, over the summer of 2012, the new board rejected the extension because they did not want to reverse the decision of the old board.
Brown and McLenithan also wanted time to evaluate Canini.