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School Commitee to discuss superintendent's resignation Tuesday

Posted by Megan McKee  August 19, 2010 02:45 PM

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Waltham’s mayor has scheduled a School Committee meeting for next Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. to discuss the departure of Superintendent Peter Azar just weeks before the start of school.

Mayor Jeannette McCarthy said the city’s lawyer is handling questions about Azar's contractual obligations and whether he’ll be paid. She said that Azar’s contract requires him to give 120 days notice.

Azar resigned from his position effective immediately at an Aug. 11 School Committee meeting, telling the committee he was planning to retire.

Azar, who passed out copies of his four-line resignation letter at the meeting, could not be reached for comment. He has been superintendent since 2008.

School Committee member Lisa Limonciello said she was surprised by the timing of Azar’s resignation. She knew he had planned to retired at the end of his three-year contract in June 2011—Azar announced this in March—but didn’t expect that he’d resign when he did.

Limonciello said she didn’t know of any incident that sparked the sudden move, but said Azar and the School Committee “had somewhat of a strained relationship.” She said there wasn’t any one area that caused friction.

McCarthy, who is also chair of the School Committee, provided the Globe with a copy of Azar's resignation letter.

In the letter, Azar writes that, “I am resigning effective immediately for the purposes of retirement.'' He said he was "willing to be available within the next 120 days" to support any transition efforts. The rest of the letter was redacted by city officials because it contains confidential personnel information, said McCarthy.

Azar’s March announcement came about a month after the school district received criticism for its handling of a bullying situation at an elementary school, though he said at the time that his plans weren’t a result of the criticism.

Azar’s contract with the city states that if the superintendent wishes to resign he “may do so by giving at least 120 days written notice of his intention to the [School] Committee.”

Waltham recently underwent change with the assistant superintendent, as well. Last month, Azar announced that the head of Framingham High School’s Math Department, Paul Maiorano, had been chosen for the position.

But Maiorano still hasn’t signed a contract with the city, said Limonciello. McCarthy said she hopes negotiations will conclude shortly, and Maiorano didn’t immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

The School Committee will meet in the Waltham High School's Cannon Lecture Hall at 617 Lexington Street.

Megan McKee can be reached at megan.mckee@gmail.com.

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