No action yet sought against Portsmouth school chairman

Portsmouth School Committee Chairman David Croston Portsmouth School Committee Chairman David Croston

PORTSMOUTH — Anyone expecting fireworks at Tuesday night’s School Committee meeting may have been disappointed. The meeting in the high school library was over in less than an hour, with not a peep of dissension.

Portsmouth School Committee Chairman David Croston

Portsmouth School Committee Chairman David Croston

Last week committee member Frederick Faerber vowed he would attempt to have David Croston removed from the committee — or at least from the chairman’s seat — after the latter’s alleged angry outburst toward a principal during an executive session of the Superintendent Search Committee.

In a letter e-mailed to School Committee members May 20, a group of school administrators also expressed disappointment with the chairman’s treatment of one of their own.

Mr. Faerber said he would seek a committee vote of no confidence against the chairman, although he didn’t specify when.

It didn’t happen Tuesday night, and Mr. Croston said there was nothing new to report on the superintendent search.

The only related action taken Tuesday was the committee’s approval of a charter for the Superintendent Transition Subcommittee, which is being chaired by committee member Emily Copeland.

Other committee members are welcome to participate on the panel, which is intended to help the next superintendent ease into the job after he or she is hired.

Parent groups raise $712,000

In other business Tuesday night, the committee learned that local parent groups that raise funds for athletic, music, art and enrichment programs in the local schools collected more than $700,000 in the last tax year.

“Over $712,000 was raised. We spent over $650,000,” said MaryAnn Raymo, vice president of Portsmouth United, which represents several nonprofit parent groups such as the Hathaway and Melville PTOs, PHS Music Boosters, Portsmouth Enrichment and others. The figures were listed on Portsmouth United’s latest tax return, she said.

The money raised is used for things not otherwise covered in the school budget, such as field trips, some equipment and teacher supplies, language enrichment programs, athletic and music scholarships, buses for band trips and more.

“It’s just interesting to see how much support is going beyond the budget into the schools,” said Mr. Croston.

Ms. Copeland said Portsmouth United deserves thanks. “They really should be commended for all the enrichment activities they provide,” she said.

Post-prom meeting?

The committee agreed to tentatively schedule a meeting on Thursday, June 5, if one is needed.

After the meeting, Mr. Croston explained that the senior prom is on Wednesday, June 4, and the School Committee always schedules a placeholder meeting the following night “in case anything happens at senior prom” — students breaking any rules that could jeopardize their participation in graduation exercises.

A post-prom committee meeting, Mr. Croston said, would give the panel the opportunity to hear any appeals by misbehaving students who want to “walk” on graduation night, which is set for Friday, June 6, starting at 6 p.m.

Teacher retires

Acting Supt. Barbara McGann announced that longtime Hathaway School teacher Sue Mixter is retiring. She and her husband, John, are moving to Virginia, she said.

Ms. Mixter first started in August 1996 at Elmhurst School.  “She’s taught first grade at Hathaway School ever since,” said Ms. McGann.

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