Superintendent resigns two weeks before school ends

Superintendent resigns two weeks before school ends

Unused sick time, compensation listed in Smith’s letter of resignation

NORTH PROVIDENCE – North Providence school Supt. Melinda Smith announced her resignation just weeks before her contract was set to expire at the end of the school year.

Incoming Supt. Bridget Morisseau, who had been serving as assistant superintendent of Smithfield public schools, has taken over early.

Smith, who served as the School Department’s leader for more than four years, confirmed that she resigned from her role last week, but would not comment as to what led to her decision to step down.

Originally, Smith had planned to continue working in the district until July 1, when she was set to take over as superintendent of Thompson Public Schools in Connecticut, as previously reported by The Breeze.

School Committee Chairman Anthony Marciano told The Breeze that Smith sent him a letter on May 23 announcing that she would take her remaining nine vacation days from June 20 through June 30, the last day of her contract.

“I expect to be compensated for my remaining unused sick days at the contract rate of $50 per day,” the letter read.

Smith’s letter also read that she would return her keys and electronics that belonged to the district on June 19, upon receipt of her final paycheck.

The letter continued, “It has been a pleasure serving the community of North Providence.”

Then, on May 30, the School Committee held an executive session meeting that later opened up for a public meeting. Marciano, who spoke highly of Smith’s dedication to the district, said the School Committee took action based on contract details.

“Whatever she’s entitled to by contract, she will get,” he said.

Marciano said the school board’s decisions that evening reflected her contract, and that the items would be further discussed with the policy subcommittee.

The chairman said he had a “good working relationship” with Smith, and called her a “tireless worker” who established several programs in the district for students.

He explained that Morisseau, who was appointed to take over Smith’s role July 1, had been coming in on a part-time basis to settle into her new role. When Smith resigned, Marciano said, central administration was already beginning a transition phase.

Last Friday, Smith confirmed that she had sent out another letter that was meant for teachers only regarding her decision to step down, but did not comment on the content of the letter.

According to a WJAR TV report, Smith’s letter sent to teachers said that, “actions taken by the members of the School Committee at their last special meeting restricted my ability (to) fulfill my role as superintendent of schools. As a result, I requested to part ways at this time.”

Comments

Well folks, I know Superintendent Smith as a dedicated and productive leader that took over a broken school district, which she basically turned around.
Doesn't it seem strange and highly unlikely that someone that has done such a good job would just leave?
The School Committee, thats the ongoing problem, pretty much the same as before she got here that had the district in a mess, they are still here. They let the best Superintendent we have ever had go because the SC can't manage the HR part of the business. We are in a competitive world and there is an ongoing challenge to hire and keep the best and brightest, I question our SC as being able to do that job.

Let me ask my fellow residents of North Providence: Who benefits from these "professional contracts"... certainly not the tax payer! Poorly negotiated deals that sweeten the pot with such budget busters as sick time buy back... unused vacation time ,etc. Try getting those perks in your dreaded private sector employment! As Howie Carr once said, "It's on thing to feed at the trough, it's another thing to lick the plate clean"..

Time to tighten the financial belts and make these contracts payer-friendly.