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School board debates positions of need

MARBLEHEAD – The School Department’s library aides are out of a job as of Thursday night.But Interim Superintendent of Schools Philip Devaux told the School Committee Thursday that voting to cut those jobs would give him the chance to hire the aides for other jobs in the school system.The reduction let the School Committee slice an additional $74,000 from its Fiscal 2008 budget, bringing the budget in line with the $25.6 million budget approved by Town Meeting two weeks ago.Committee member Jonathan Lederman opposed the reduction, pointing out that the library aides are a relatively large group of low-paid employees.Lederman proposed combining the positions of athletic director and assistant high school principal. Athletic Director Mike Plansky has served in both positions this spring. He said the athletic director currently has no teaching assignments.Devaux said Plansky has no teacher certification at all, and if the committee tried to implement Lederman’s idea, “All he (Plansky) has to do is enforce his contract and that’s it.”A high school teacher mentioned the discovery of a bullet at the high school and told the committee that reducing the assistant principal job to half-time constituted a safety risk.Vice Chairman James Dearborn, taking the place of newly-re-elected chairman Amy Drinker, noted that Marblehead High Principal John Ziergiebel was not at the meeting to defend the position. He suggested that Lederman confer with Devaux to find alternate budget cuts.Asked for comment about the aides, Glover-Eveleth school Principal Mary Devlin said there would be an educational cost to pulling the aides at her schools.Marblehead Village School Principal Donald LeClerc said, “Any cut at this point is going to be painful.”Devaux pointed out that additional high school teachers may be needed in social studies and foreign languages, triggering a further reduction in the budget.

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