Some members of the discussion group voiced concerns about the propriety of having a consultant who is married to the retiring superintendent. “I feel like they have a lot of connections, and they know people, friends or colleagues …,” one woman said. “I feel like there’s a connection there that shouldn’t be.”
A father of a student said he was concerned about how close the Meluccis are. “It’s inappropriate,” he said.
Ochtera countered that that could be a good thing. “So it’s dinner conversation,” she said. “He talks with his wife, who knows the district better than anyone else?”
School board Secretary Patti Nicoletti said that trustees discussed the issue extensively before making their choice public. “Ultimately, it’s our decision to select a superintendent,” she said. “We felt that, in the end, it’s the board’s job … the weight of that responsibility will rest on our shoulders.”
“When the board looked over the past couple of years that [Roseanne] Melucci had been hiring people,” Ochtera said, “… for the most part, she hired people that moved us in the right direction. Her batting average is relatively pristine.”
Several people said that the Meluccis have a unique knowledge of the school district. “I don’t think they would recommend anyone who wouldn’t be a good fit,” said one woman.
On track with number
After the question-and-answer period at last week’s meeting, Ochtera divided some of the attendees into groups and asked them to make notes on what they would like to see in a superintendent. Some of the suggestions included finding someone who could help raise test scores or provide fiscal stability; someone who has extensive classroom experience or a background in curriculum development or administration; someone who is familiar with the changing landscape of education.