Published in the November 25, 2015 edition


NORTH READING — The School Committee expressed its support for Superintendent of Schools Jon Bernard’s request to issue $16,000 in stipends to eight school administrators last week.

Bernard said the stipends will be awarded to the eight administrators for undertaking “special projects.”

“These are responsibilities that go beyond the scope of their normal work,” said Bernard.

According to Bernard, $9,000 out of the $16,000 paid to school administrators pertains to the secondary schools project. High School Principal Anthony J. Loprete will receive a $3,000 stipend for work associated with the school project. Middle School Principal Catherine O’Connell will receive a $3,000 stipend for her involvement with the secondary schools project.

Finance Director Michael Connelly will receive a $1,500 stipend for the secondary schools project and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Patrick Daly will also receive a $1,500 payment.

According to Bernard, Daly will also receive a $1,500 stipend for serving as an administrator mentor to new Digital Learning Coordinator Daniel Downs.

Pupil Personnel Services Director Cynthia Conant will receive a $1,500 stipend for serving as the district’s 504 coordinator. According to the state’s Health and Human Services website, “a 504 Plan helps a child with special health care needs to fully participate in school” and are “used by a general education student who is not eligible for special education services.”

Middle School Assistant Principal Michael Maloney and High School Assistant Principal Michael Downs will each be receiving a $750 stipend for participating in a school safety and security protocols training program.

Additionally, Maloney will be receiving an after school activity coordinator stipend, totaling $1,000. Hood School Principal Glen McKay will be receiving a $1,500 stipend for an after school development program. Bernard said Maloney’s after school activity coordinator stipend and McKay’s after school program development stipend will be “paid from funds raised through those two programs.”

The School Committee came under criticism last year for issuing $19,536.66 in stipends last year.

School Committee Vice Chairman Mel Webster defended the stipends Bernard recommended.

“Let me make it clear, these funds are in the budget and they are in the budget every year,” said Webster. “Stipends are in each administrator’s contract and it’s up to the superintendent to make recommendations as to those stipends are paid and to whom they are paid.”

School Committee member Jerry Venezia noted the school building project is drawing to a close and said the project was incredibly time consuming for school administrators. He said he has “no issue” with the stipends.

“We have some very, very good administrators and I am interested in keeping them here,” said Venezia.