After four sometimes-contentious years together, School Superintendent Matthew Malone and the Brockton School Committee have decided not to make it five, agreeing instead to end their $1 million contract a year early.
In a joint statement sent to School Department staff Wednesday, Malone and committee vice chairman Thomas Minichiello said the relationship will end “amicably” June 30.
“This decision was arrived at with much consideration and mutual understanding,’’ it said.
The announcement was made after the seven-member committee gave Malone a composite review score of 2.77 out of 5 for his third year at the helm of the state’s fourth-largest public school system.
Also, it is well in advance of the Jan. 1 deadline for the board to let Malone know whether it plans to extend his contract when it expires in 18 months.
“It is sad, but the time has come,’’ Malone said Thursday. “But it’s not personal, it’s business.”
It has been clear, though, that the superintendent, once characterized as a “rock star” by the enthusiastic committee that hired him in 2009, had lost favor and was not able to regain it.
Malone, 42, has maintained that he served the 22-school system’s 16,000-plus students well with a primary focus on teaching and learning.
Student performance has improved at the high school and middle school levels during his tenure, but lagging elementary school MCAS test scores have been an ongoing concern that the School Committee noted sharply in its review this past summer.
Committee members also criticized what they said was Malone’s lack of communication skills. They said he was incapable of maintaining a “harmonious” relationship with them, does not treat everyone the same, and failed to follow through with the goal of not criticizing them publicly.
There is no buyout or severance package for Malone, just an agreement that enough is enough.
“Both parties feel we are at the end of the path,’’ Minichiello said Thursday. “We are in agreement that we want a smooth transition for the school and the kids.”
Minichiello said he will recommend that a consultant be retained to help in the process of hiring the next superintendent. “That was not done the last time,’’ he said.
Malone, who formerly led the Swampscott public schools, said nothing will significantly change over the next six months: “I will work as hard on my last day as I did on my first,’’ he said.
Over three fiscal years, Malone has had to cut a total of $12 million from school spending and lay off almost 150 people.
He managed to avoid further cuts to staff by assembling his budgets from the ground up, he said, and was innovative in bringing changes in learning, infrastructure, crisis management and in stronger relationships with unions and community groups.
“I did a good job, and I leave with no ill will,’’ he said. “The district is better than it was when I got here. Now, we are going our separate ways and will do so with honor.”
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