Region 12 superintendent to step down in 2012
Dr. Bruce Storm, superintendent of Region 12 schools, has resigned effective June 30, 2012.
In a tense special meeting Thursday, June 23 of the Board of Education, Dr. Storm withdrew his contract proposal to extend his revolving contract one year through June 30, 2013, and to receive a salary increase.
Instead, he asked the board to act on his letter of resignation, dated June 21, and to rescind a board vote regarding his contract proposal taken at the board's June 20 meeting.
Minutes from that meeting have not yet been released.
"The board accepts Dr. Storm' s resignation for the reasons stated," said Board of Education Chairman James Hirschfield. "The board feels that great strides have been made in the field of education since he's been here."
Dr. Storm started in the region in 2007. His three-year contract was extended as of July 1, 2008, to continue through June 30, 2012.
A contract proposal by Dr. Storm in 2010 to have his contract extended through June 30, 2013, was denied by the board in an 8 to 3 vote.
He was, however, given a $5,309 raise at that time, bringing his annual compensation to $182,300.
At the time, board member Valerie Andersen was "appalled" by the situation and said of Dr. Storm's performance, "(he) has done an excellent job in extremely trying times."
"The budget passed," she added. "We had a longstanding principal leave and an excellent replacement brought in."
Dr. Storm took the board's decision in 2010 philosophically, saying he was "gratified" the board recognized his level of commitment to the students by giving him the raise.
This week, he tendered his letter of resignation with some reluctance.
"I have worked in education at one level or another since 1967," Dr. Storm wrote in his resignation letter, "over 40 years of commitment to the learning of students in three states. With this in mind, I have reached (this) decision. Making this choice is not an easy one for me."
"It is the time in my life to move on," he said at the conclusion of Thursday's meeting.
On Thursday, in a 7 to 1 vote, with two board members abstaining, the board rescinded its vote of June 20 on Dr. Storm's recent contract proposal.
The one member voting in opposition Thursday, Fran Caco of Washington, was outraged.
"I can understand Dr. Storm's desire to save face," Mrs. Caco said after the meeting, "but our vote of June 20 shows that we see a different path for our region than we are currently following. It should stand."
"It is important that the parents of this district realize we heard them," she said.
With a declining student population and rising education costs, the district has been struggling with how to consolidate the student population and defray spending.
A plan by Dr. Storm and Anne Stuhlman, the districts director of curriculum and instruction, to combine grades four and five at the elementary schools in Roxbury and Bridgewater met with an angry response by parents and was withdrawn this spring.
Cuts in staffing and some movement of elementary grade students into combined classes between these two schools is being considered to begin in the 2012-13 school year.
Dr. Storm wrote in his letter of resignation that having the board "endorse this transition plan" would make it "possible for me to maintain a level of confidence among the staff in the days ahead."
"They will know," he wrote, "that we (the board and I) are working in concert to insure that there are no negative consequences that could affect the children of the region."