The Sudbury Public Schools Committee faced an intense line of questioning at its Wednesday night meeting at Loring Elementary School from resident Scott Nassa, a frequent critic of the Committee, in regards to a recent decision at a previous meeting to extend Superintendent Anne Wilson's contract and offer her a 3 percent raise.
"This Superintendent was the subject of a No Confidence petition signed by 200 people. That's a lot. That's 200 people who are parents, who are taxpayers," said Nassa, who questioned why the School Committee seemed quick to extend Wilson's contract before it was even due to expire.
"Have you ever seen a petition of No Confidence before?" Nassa inquired of Chair Richard Robison, who has been a member of the School Committee in various capacities for some 15 years.
"I don't know that I have," Robison said.
He said the figure of 3 percent for Wilson's raise was chosen for its consistency with the 3 percent raise offered to other employees.
"Just for a point of clarification, it wasn't 200 people, and it wasn't all residents," Committee Vice Chair Lisa Gutch said about the recent No Confidence petition against Wilson, who came under fire following a series of personnel controversies, including the abrupt dismissal last spring of well-known first-grade teacher Janice Donahue, which many parents said was unjustified.
"But let's not get into that right now," Robison commented about Gutch's point about the No Confidence petition.
Wilson listened quietly to Nassa's line of questioning about her contract and offered no comment.
In other news from Wednesday night's meeting, the Committee approved a new contract with the custodians who maintain the school buildings. The contract was previously negotiated in private executive session and had already been ratified by employees when Committee members voted to finalize the deal.
Wilson said the contract includes a 3 percent raise in Fiscal Year 2013, a 2.5 percent raise in FY14 and a 2 percent raise in FY15. Fiscal Year 2015 will also include an additional half percent raise for custodians in the top tier. Health benefits were maintained, with a $500 stipend for employees who worked during Fiscal Year 2012 as compensation for a recent change to a different health benefit system.
Wilson said the contract also includes more flexibility in the scheduling of vacations. She said custodians will be able to use vacation days throughout the year, a change she said will benefit both employee and employer, by not having too many vacations scheduled for the same time during the summer months.
The School Committee vote to finalize the custodian contract was unanimous.