This week’s School Committee agenda is the rough equivalent of an effort to place School Superintendent Priya Tahiliani on notice that everything about her job and those who she hired is about to change.
In Everett language, this translates into this: the SC agenda is intended to tie Tahiliani’s arms behind her back and to tie her feet together at the ankles. The agenda also provides for stipulations that act like a thick sock stuffed into her mouth.
The agenda is way overboard. Its creators are aware of this but they don’t care.
Attempting to rig the process of forcing Tahiliani to leave is part of the mayor’s plan to control the School Department and to reorganize it the way he wants, to hire whom he wants, and to fire whomever he wishes.
In the case of Tahiliani, the School Committee is attempting to rid itself of a woman of color.
This should be easy to accomplish.
There are 8 votes pledged against Tahiliani and her appointments.
This means that when the votes are taken, the mayor will not have to vote against Tahiliani. He is likely to vote for her to remain to show how fair the process is.
There are no arguments about where the mayor stands when it comes to Superintendent of Schools Priya Tahiliani.
The mayor does not care for her. He dislikes her style of leadership. He is offended by her intelligence and he is especially put off by her independence from him.
The mayor wants a return to yesterday or something like that.
He would prefer a subservient, order taking, wall flower superintendent to Tahiliani.
With the new School Committee coming into power in January, he will be able to do just that.
He has apparently told trusted aids that he is willing to pay-off Tahiliani’s remaining years on her contract just to get rid of her if necessary.
Those who know the mayor best and who understand his mindset understand this – there are many, many jobs for him to hand out and m any, many contributions to his campaign chest to be made by the new appointments the mayor would make if and when he has the chance.
All of this has come to a head of sorts since the mayor was recently made a full voting member of the School Committee.
The Everett High School Class of 2021 made it over the finish line with flying colors last Wednesday in an upbeat ceremony during a traditional graduation.
The pandemic now slipping away behind us in memory allowed for a much more unrestrained celebration Wednesday. Keynote speaker Superintendent of Schools Priya Tahiliani struck just the right note during the graduation with her words.
“You have all gotten here on a very similar road together,” she told the graduates seated in front of her.
“You are a graduating class with integrity and grace that will go down in history.”
Superintendent Priya Tahiliani’s leadership of the School Department does not include the mayor’s imprimatur and his voice, as the mayor sees it.
As a result, the mayor is apparently putting together a slate of candidates who will run for the School Committee in November with the hope of ridding himself of the superintendent’s audacity, according to a variety of people inside and outside of the School Department and the School Committee.
The plan is to pack the School Committee in the November Election, to be followed by a vote to force the superintendent out of her position.
All the present members of the School Committee are apparently aware of the mayor’s effort now underway to pack the School Committee with political allies, instead of independent education-minded voices, according to a wide variety of sources familiar with the effort.
“The public will make its own decisions (about packing the School Committee). The mayor hasn’t had a good track record of getting others elected. As for the superintendent, I voted for her. She was my pick. I’m going to make sure she succeeds,” said School Committeeman Frank Parker.
The mayor repeatedly asked Superintendent of Schools Priya Tahiliani if she was going to be needing an extra $1 million over the School Department budget allotment at Monday night’s School Committee meeting.
“We are asking for what the schools are owed,” she shot back to the mayor.
What she said, in other words, is that the School Department is looking for the money “stolen” from its account by the mayor – which he has told her he would give back.
“Do you know what you need above budget?” the mayor asked Tahiliani again and again.
Again, and again, she rebuffed the mayor in an attempt to set him straight about who owes the School Department what.
“We are asking for reimbursements for planned spending. We are not overspending our budget,” she added.
Since the mayor removed $471,000 from the School Department budget without informing her, the School Department has been trying to have the money refunded, along with $581,000 for rent for the Devens School the mayor is withholding.
“I think you’re confused,” the mayor said to Tahiliani.
Unperturbed, she shot back, “I think you are confused.”