NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

January 31, 2013

Mulqueen seeking ways to bridge Pentucket budget gap

(Continued)

The superintendent said he held an additional meeting with these parents at which he was able to better clarify his plan. He is now working on a job description for the new position. “And we’ll go from there,” he said.

Parent Joan Reynolds said yesterday that after meeting with Mulqueen, she felt reassured that he understands her concerns and is “actively gathering information from all sources” as he creates this new post. She anticipates that parents whose children are most likely to be affected by the change will be able to give Mulqueen additional input once he has the job description is in place.

“He came from a much larger school system where he made similar changes that were very successful,” Reynolds said, adding, “His goal is for the administration to work together as peers with teachers and have trust and respect for each other.”

Mulqueen told the school board he believes “the stage is set for the next step” in the budget process — figuring out how to close the remaining shortfall. He urged the committee to be creative in coming up with possible solutions. “It won’t be any one item that allows us to close that gap” while still addressing the goal of establishing “world-class priorities,” said the superintendent.

“The $500.000 shortfall is going to be tough,” said Page after the meeting. Although Mulqueen and Bergeron have been working on ways to bridge the gap, Page said his committee hasn’t yet scheduled a meeting to discuss it. A public hearing on the budget is slated for Feb. 5.

When it comes to upgrading some of the athletic facilities at the high school and middle school, there won’t be any “quick fix,” Mulqueen told the committee. At a meeting held at the Merrimac Public Library last week, a subcommittee charged with finding a way to improve the track, tennis courts and exterior bleachers met with officials from Groveland, Merrimac and West Newbury to review three possible solutions offered by consultants, Gale Associates.

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