A special board of education meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday with a single agenda item: the proposed five-year contract with Manchester Community College to run the Great Path Academy magnet high school.
Board Chairman Matthew Poland called for the meeting -- and a contract vote -- in a message to board members late Wednesday. A formal meeting notice came at 3:38 p.m. Thursday.
Around 5 p.m., the agenda was revised to include only a discussion.
The board was scheduled to vote on the Great Path agreement earlier this week, but several board members said they had unanswered questions and tabled it until the next regular board meeting on March 20 -- a blow to Superintendent Christina Kishimoto and MCC President Gena Glickman. Poland was one of three members, including Mayor Pedro Segarra, who were against the postponement.
Board member Richard Wareing argued Thursday afternoon that a new vote any sooner than the March meeting would violate Robert's Rules of Order. Corporation Counsel Saundra Kee Borges agreed with him and advised Poland to revise Tuesday's agenda.
Poland said he ordered the special meeting to accelerate the board's Q&A with administrators. "I didn't think we needed to wait for 30 days for more information," he said.
Hartford's contract to manage the grades 10-12 "middle college" school on the Manchester campus would begin in July. About 30 percent of the 247 magnet students are from Hartford.
Kishimoto told the board this week that an approval was needed immediately to transition staff, who currently work for the Capitol Region Education Council. Glickman and other college administrators also spoke in favor of the agreement during a public meeting at Classical Magnet School.
CREC, Great Path's manager since 2004, has battled with MCC. Among the agency's complaints is that Glickman allegedly "orchestrated a biased and inappropriate selection process" in choosing Hartford over CREC for the new contract. CREC contends that Glickman made the decision herself when the process called for a recommendation of Great Path's governing board.
Wareing, a lawyer, pointed to that dispute and said school administrators have yet to convince him that Hartford should take on a management role in Manchester.
"I really am undecided," Wareing said Thursday. "I need to be convinced. Imagine that."
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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