Marblehead School Committee Meets On Superintendent's Future

MARBLEHEAD, MA — The Marblehead School Committee met in a closed executive session Monday morning to talk about the future of John Buckey as superintendent in the district but did not provide any updates on the discussions or his status after the meeting.

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The meeting began at 9:30 a.m. with the agenda listing: “Conduct strategy sessions in preparation for negotiation with non-union members (Superintendent).”

Fox responded to an email from Patch seeking comment on the session and any updates for the public around noon, saying she would “be in contact as soon as I have a statement to share.”

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The School Committee was to discuss and possibly vote on an “early termination clause” in Buckey’s contract during an open meeting last Wednesday before Fox said “a last-minute communication with counsel” advised her to immediately adjourn the meeting one minute after it began.

The executive session — which is not open to the public — was then scheduled on Thursday for Monday morning.

Find out what's happening in Marbleheadwith free, real-time updates from Patch.

That came as Marblehead Police Chief Dennis King reported the discovery of a “suspicious” balloon with markings on it tied to the home of a Marblehead School Committee member’s house during the day of last week’s meeting. King said the balloon had two eyes and a mustache drawn on it.

“Some people have inferred the residence was a target as the result of the meeting,” King said. “We have nothing at this time to confirm or deny that. However, we have made contact with the School Committee member, and they were encouraged to report any additional suspicious behavior they observe.”

School Committee members have yet to publicly address why they are apparently proceeding with a process that could lead to Buckey’s dismissal as the district’s administrative leader after three years and two failed tax override campaigns.

Buckey was graded as “proficient” during his most recent evaluation days before a general tax override to restore 33 district positions failed a townwide vote. He appeared to clash
with some committee members in the wake of the latest failed override vote when he said the district should not look for other means to restore positions that were said to be on the chopping block should the override not pass.

The night that his evaluation was publicly approved unanimously, Buckey also read a statement saying that his salary should be frozen for the next year given the town’s financial predicament but gave no indication that he was considering a resignation or expected to be relieved of his duties should the override fail to pass.

(Scott Souza is a Patch field editor covering Beverly, Danvers, Marblehead, Peabody, Salem and Swampscott. He can be reached at Scott.Souza@Patch.com. Twitter: @Scott_Souza.)

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