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School Committee gives superintendent a vote of confidence

Posted by Brock Parker  March 29, 2011 11:08 AM

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At a closed-door meeting Monday to discuss possible disciplinary action against Arlington Superintendent of Schools Kathleen Bodie, the School Committee instead gave the administrator a vote of confidence.

By a 6-0 vote, with one abstention, the Committee voted to express its confidence in Bodie’s continued leadership, said School Committee Chairman Joseph Curro.

The vote was taken in an executive session scheduled by the Committee to discuss possible disciplinary action against Bodie after a $1.5 million deficit in last year’s school budget was reported to school and town officials in August--well after the conclusion of the fiscal year.

The deficit lead to multiple audits and a review by the Middlesex County District Attorney’s office. The reviews found that no money had been taken for personal use, but several recommendations were made to improve the school district’s financial practices.

Bodie has said the deficit was caused by several factors, including rising special education costs and a reduction in grant funding.

In an emailed statement, Curro said the Committee “acknowledges the extended length of time” that elapsed before the deficit was discussed in an open session with the School Committee, but the Committee also acknowledged the number of steps the district has taken to “prevent similar incidents in the future.”

The Committee’s vote also expressed confidence in changes the district has made to its financial operations, including the addition of monthly revenue and expenditure tracking reports and regular budget reconciliation meetings with municipal financial authorities, according to Curro.

School Committee member Joseph Curran, who called for the meeting to discuss disciplining Bodie, abstained from the vote.

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