Superintendent of Schools Pleads With Council About Space Needs for 2022-23

By Josh Resnek

School Superintendent Priya Tahiliani said a new high school will take 5-7 years during a presentation that was an eye opener for the city council Monday night.

‘We need more space, as much space as we can get for next year – and whatever space it is, it will need an expenditure of money to prepare for school use,” she said.

She said the new high school is not yet a guarantee for approval and funding.

Her appearance at the city council dove tailed an appearance before the school committee last week where she detailed the space difficulties the schools are facing.

Assistant Superintendent Charlie Obremski indicated that the former Everett High School is the most likely spot for more space to be developed in a short amount of time.

As many as 13-20 classrooms might be made available at the former high school.

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Surveillance Equipment Discovery A Rude Awakening for City Employees

Does FBI Want to Speak with Kevin Dorgan, the City’s IT?

By Josh Resnek

When the FBI removed two pieces of electronic surveillance equipment from the office ceiling of Superintendent of Schools Priya Tahiliani two weeks ago, the event set in motion a confluence of events in Everett, and in law enforcement circles.

“The FBI has either subpoenaed or directly asked for all archival video footage that would show those entering and leaving the Vine Street School Administration building, and would reveal who exactly entered the superintendent’s office in the hope that whomever placed

the video equipment could be identified,” said a source close to the investigation who wished to remain unnamed for fear of retaliation.

American Alarm, the Arlington firm that manages and maintains the school department’s video machinery, has allegedly been asked directly by the FBI to provide whatever it has with regard to Vine Street video footage.

“The FBI has either subpoenaed the video from American Alarm or requested it. American Alarm is apparently cooperating with the FBI,” added the source.

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City sued for discrimination

Former acting EPS superintendent Gauthier claims age, race bias conspiracy prevented her from interviewing

By JOSH RESNEK

Former acting superintendent Janice Gauthier has filed suit in Middlesex Superior Court against the city and the school committee alleging she was overlooked deliberately and eliminated from the competition to ascend to the superintendent’s position because of her age, and because she is a Caucasian.

In the lawsuit, she alleges a conspiracy based on her age and her color – she was 70 when she resigned in disgust in 2019 after not being allowed to interview for the job now held by Superintendent Priya Tahiliani, and for not being allowed to resume employment in her former position, Director of Curriculum.

Gauthier is white.

The new superintendent is a woman of color. She is asking for judgments on a number of items in the lawsuit.

However, no one in a position of responsibility knows how much she is asking for, which is the chief question being asked around the city among those who are discussing the matter.

No one in a position of responsibility in Everett was willing to speak on the record about the lawsuit or its iterations.

Several who spoke to the Leader Herald on the condition of anonymity said that the mayor very likely put Gauthier up to the lawsuit and that the mayor released news of it privately, before Gauthier’s attorney had the chance to make it public.

No one in the mayor’s office would comment on the matter.

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Priya Tahiliani takes center stage

Everett is not an easy city to win over by acclimation – but the new Superintendent of Schools Priya Tahiliani is doing just that, according to a variety of school department officials and employees interviewed for this piece.

“If you have a kid in the Everett public schools at this time it is a good thing, she’s in charge,” said a longtime school official. “She is not using plays from the old time playbook. She is making decisions. She is owning them. Most important to note, she isn’t complaining,” said the source.

Tahiliani announced last week she is cutting the budget by 5% just to be safe to start, and that it might, in a worst case scenario, have to be cut another 5% – 10%.

In years past during the past two decades, the school department almost annually would announce deep cuts being made- as if crying fire in a crowded theater, only to rescind the cuts and rehire back nearly everyone that was set to be let go before the new school year began.

No such tactic is being used by Tahiliani, who understands better than most the exigencies of the new normal brought on by the profound effects of the Coronavirus.

“She is trying to do layoffs strategically. It isn’t about who you are with her. It is about what you are doing,” said a source.

“She is sane and fair in negotiations. She is trying to make arrangements for the coming school year without knowing for certain what bumps there will be along the road,” said a member of the School Committee. “She is very smart. She understands how things work. She has a ton of integrity,” added the School Committee member.

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New assistant approved for new superintendent

By Josh Resnek

A request for an assistant to the superintendent from the new superintendent Priya Tahiliani was approved unanimously by the School Committee during Monday night’s meeting.

The job does not need to be advertised.

Tahiliani will be choosing her assistant without interference from the School Committee.

A salary for the new employee was not publicly discussed but will likely come up for discussion.

Whether or not the new assistant will receive a  contract is another matter, although it is likely the School Committee must interview Tahiliani’s choice and then vote to hire her and to create a contract.

This new hire slightly complicates Tahiliani’s official March 1 starting date.

First of all, acting superintendent Janice Gauthier has announced she is not leaving until school ends in June.

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