One down, two to go

Acton Forum has learned that Kristina Rychlik is now a former member of the AB School Committee (SC). Rychlik resigned recently following repeated calls from members of the community and Acton Forum to step down over her role in the removal of Glenn Brand as Superintendent of Schools.

Rychlik served two one-year terms as Chair and wrote a memo labeled "confidential" that had been shared by her with Brand and other SC leaders but apparently not the general public or the other members of the SC until an executive session called by former Chair Mary Brolin to oust Brand. The memo, written in 2016, was recently provided to Acton Forum as part of its document request into all documents related to Brand's performance.

The School has refused to release any documents related to Brand's performance from 2017, claiming that they are not public and involve "personnel" matters. The School's position appears to be that because they aborted Brand's performance review, they are now under no obligation to release any documents related to that review which had begun but had not been completed when Brand was forced to resign. Generally, Superintendent of School reviews and supporting documents are public, according to DESE regulations.

Four current or former School leaders were involved in effectively forcing Brand to resign. The School distributed a memo citing "operational and philosophical differences" on May 18 when Brand's resignation was disclosed to the public, but called the parting mutual and amicable, and later held a meeting on May 24 to "answer questions" from the public but refused to give any further details, citing "legal reasons." They would not explain why a mutual and amicable parting would require paying the outgoing Superintendent his full salary and benefits for not working for the reminder of his contract, which ended in June, 2018.

Acton Forum requested the executive session minutes where these discussions took place, but they were heavily redacted. The school cited Brand's privacy in refusing to release details of the two meetings held April 26 and May 2.

Acton Forum then obtained and published the unredacted secret executive session minutes of two meetings which showed that the story promoted by the Committee and Brand was not true. (See the article here: http://www.actonforum.com/story/unredacted-executive-session-minutes-show-how-former-superintendent-glenn-brand-was-pressured-. Brand decided to resign when it became apparent to him that there was a core group of School Committee leaders who no longer supported his leadership and that his contract would likely not be renewed. This core group of ringleaders used a pretext to hold an executive session which then turned into a de facto job performance review.

The group of four ringleaders tried to force Brand to leave in six months, but his contract ran until June 2018. Since Brand was blameless and there was no cause to terminate him, Brand held firm and the School Committee had to pay Brand for not working until the end of his contract. This cost Acton and Boxborough taxpayers over $200,000. One of the ringleaders, Maria Neyland, was quoted in the minutes as being threatened by Brand's refusal to accept six-months' severance, and voted not to approve the eventual settlement.

Acton Forum repeats it's call for the remaining three "leaders" to resign: current SC members Mary Brolin and Amy Krishnamurthy and former SC member and current Boxborough Selectman Maria Neyland.

Links to the "confidential memo" will be added to this article soon.

UPDATE: Here is the confidential Memo referenced above:http://www.actonforum.com/sites/default/files/Rychlik_05252016_Memo_Brand.pdf Subscribe to the Acton Forum and get our newsletters emailed to you -- FREE! Click Here!

Comments

IF ALL FOUR RESIGN

I continue to commend your hard work and believe you can share in the resignation of Kristina Rychlik. Sadly, having a person resign AFTER the deed has been done is too little too late. If the remaining members were all to resign it will not change much. Until we hold elected officials responsible when they break the law then we are doing little.