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Belmont School Committee seat to remain vacant until April 2 election

Posted by Evan Allen  January 30, 2013 11:57 AM

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The Belmont School Committee voted Tuesday night on the contract for Interim Superintendent Thomas S. Kingston, and announced that the vacant seat left by Dan Scharfman’s death will not be filled by appointment before the April 2 town election, according to Chairwoman Laurie Graham.

In November, said Graham, the committee voted to extend Kingston’s interim appointment, which started in 2011, by a year; on Tuesday, they approved his contract, which is virtually identical to his previous contract.

Kingston’s annual salary will remain $150,000, said Graham. The contract increases his allotted vacation days from 20 to 25, and increases the time he is allowed during the week to schedule medical appointments or attend to personal needs from three to four hours.

The contract runs until June 30, 2014.

The Committee also announced that it will not appoint an interim school committee member to fill school committee member Dan Scharfman’s seat for the next two months. Scharfman suffered a heart attack and died earlier this month.

“If this had happened earlier in the fall, we might have taken a different step. But at this point, it doesn’t seem like the right move,” said Graham. “We are encouraging people who are interested to talk to any of us about what the expectations are being on the School Committee, and encouraging people to step forward and run.”

To appoint an interim member, said Graham, the committee would need to ask for letters of interest from the community, then interview candidates with the Board of Selectmen. The selectmen and the School Committee would vote on a candidate together, she said.

With the election just around the corner, she said, it didn’t make sense to go through the process.

Anyone thinking of running for a seat on the School Committee, said Graham, should contact individual members directly to talk about what the position would entail.

There are currently two seats open on the School Committee. Scharfman had pulled papers to run again, but as of now, there are currently no candidates for either seat, according to Town Clerk Ellen O’Brien Cushman.

Nomination papers are due by Feb. 12. Potential nominees must collect a minimum of 50 certified signatures, but Cushman said that it is safer to submit at least 60 because some signatures may not be certifiable.

If no one pulls papers for School Committee, said Graham, write-in candidates could win.

Even a single vote, she said, could decide the winners.

Evan Allen can be reached at evan.allen@globe.com

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