GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

January 23, 2013

Rockport officials eye new positions

By James Niedzinski
Staff Writer

---- — ROCKPORT — School and public works officials are looking to create two new positions they say will help them better serve the community.

But both posts will also add spending, and would ultimately need the blessing of the Finance Committee, the Board of Selectmen, and voters at April’s Annual Town Meeting.

School officials are set to give a job description presentation tonight to the School Committee for a proposed assistant principal for Rockport Elementary School, while officials with the Department of Public Works are also looking to add new software and a new position to their department.

The position, slated for $85,000 in the school’s tentative budget outline, is highly sought after by principal Shawn Maguire, who acknowledged that, while the budget is tight, the position is sorely needed.

The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will have new requirements being put into place next fall, Maguire said, and the new evaluation requirements will “put a huge burden” on evaluation and supervision duties.

The preliminary operating budget for the coming year, however, shows an increase of $720,702 — or an increase of just over 6 percent — for a total of $12,630,038. The spending plan for the current school year is $11,909,336.

While the position will be administrative, Maguire said the ideal candidate will have a strong background in mathematics, in order to better refine and improve the curriculum.

The enrollment at the school is down slightly, from 399 in 2011-12 to 390 this year, but Maguire said generally, the enrollment rate does not change by more than 5-10 children each year. Officials have reduced previous versions of the budget by $364,185 through various cuts, including a custodial position and substitute teachers.

The biggest part of the budget is still the special education amount, just over $530,000 has been allocated toward the transportation and needs of special education students who must be placed out of the district.

In Public Works, officials are looking to add new software and a new position to their department, and the Board of Selectmen were set to hear a job description for a geographical information survey manager last night.

Joe Parisi, director of the DPW, said the position will involve data collection and providing support to other municipal employees. This new position and software will be able to show all of the towns and assets, as well as when they should be replaced.

Parisi said positions such as these are “important to all communities, big or small.”

The position will allow one person to have full concentration of asset control, from showing where park benches are to seeing where sewer systems might need improvement, Parisi said.

The position and software comes with a price tag of $130,000 according to a preliminary budget document.

James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-283-7000, x 3455 or at jniedzinski@gloucestertimes.com.