Borough school board to discuss contract extensions

The Board of Education will discuss extending the contract of Superintendent of Schools John Tindall-Gibson, above, and Business Manager Wayne McAllister Thursday night. FILE PHOTO

NAUGATUCK — The Board of Education will consider a one-year extension of the contracts of Superintendent of Schools John Tindall-Gibson and Business Manager Wayne McAllister at its meeting Thursday night.

“These extensions are being considered based upon the skills and expertise of both men and based upon their ability to work together to improve all aspects of the Board of Education’s operations,” read a statement issued by board Chair David Heller.

Tindall-Gibson has said that he planned to retire when his contract expires June 30. If the board acts favorably on the extension, Tindall-Gibson’s retirement plans may be put on the shelf until 2013.

Tindall-Gibson was hired in July 2006. In 2009, Tindall-Gibson came under heavy criticism when the borough school system faced a projected $2 million budget deficit. Municipal leaders called for him to resign, and the teachers union and borough board held nearly unanimous votes of no-confidence.

Mayor Robert Mezzo was one of those voices calling for the resignation of Tindall-Gibson and then board Chair Kathleen Donovan. In a post on his blog, Mezzo said he fully supports an extension for Tindall-Gibson.

“Throughout the time that I have served as Mayor, I have never questioned the experience or knowledge of Dr. Tindall-Gibson regarding educational matters. Dr. Tindall-Gibson has always impressed me during our conversations with his understanding of the changes rapidly occurring in the field of education, particularly with regard to technology,” Mezzo wrote. “There is no doubt he is a learned man committed to positioning the Naugatuck School System for future success.”

This past school year the school district made Adequate Yearly Progress under No Child Left Behind for the second time since the program began in 2001, and the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now recognized three Naugatuck schools for being among the top ten schools in the state for progress in student achievement, according to Heller’s statement.

With the borough set to begin the Naugatuck High School renovation project, the feeling among officials is that Tindall-Gibson’s work on and knowledge of the project would be an asset moving forward. Also, as President-elect of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents, Tindall-Gibson would be in a “unique position” to help with reimbursement issues on the project.

“At this point in time, he has the experience and resources to help the Board of Education plan and create a state of the art high school and to continue to improve academic achievement through our school district,” the statement said.

According to Mezzo’s blog, Tindall-Gibson has agreed to stay on for another year, if approved by the board, at his current salary of roughly $147,500.

“I’d welcome an opportunity work another year here in Naugatuck,” Tindall-Gibson said.

Tindall-Gibson said there are a lot of good things happening in the school district and he’s excited about the high school renovation project. He said he’d like to see what he can do to help with the plans for the project.

The talk of extending Tindall-Gibson’s contract is a long way from the calls for his resignation that were voiced just two years ago.

Tindall-Gibson said he really enjoys working with the current board and he enjoys the relationships he’s developed with town officials, school staff, and parents.

“Things are working very well right now it seems in Naugatuck,” Tindall-Gibson said.

For the past 18 months, McAllister has been serving as the borough’s controller and the board’s business manager.

McAllister was named the board’s business manager during the budget problems of 2009. He has been credited with helping to turn the projected $2 million deficit into a small surplus and with helping to reorganize the board’s business office.

McAllister’s contract with the board is set to expire at the end of the year.

“The board greatly values the need for continuity. Furthermore, the board realizes the importance of the proven ability of the superintendent and business manager to work collaboratively to manage the High School renovation project and the School Board’s continuing efforts to consolidate services and personnel in order to reduce expenses and at the same time best provide for the continued educational improvement and achievement of the students of Naugatuck,” Heller’s statement read.

The board is scheduled to meet Thursday at Hillside School beginning at 7 p.m.

Read Mezzo’s full blog post and Heller’s full statement here.