GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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October 11, 2012

Blackman's deal has 3 months' severance

The separation agreement negotiated between Tony Blackman and the trustees of the Gloucester Community Arts Charter School call for the outgoing executive director to receive three months’ severance pay at his $110,000 salary, while the school will cover his present benefits, including health insurance, until Jan. 31, 2013.

According to his separation agreement, obtained by the Times through a public records request, Blackman leaves the school on Oct. 20, with the school’s Board of Trustees and Director of Education Beth Delforge set to handle Blackman’s duties for the rest of the year. But, before he goes, the agreement states, he has several projects to finish.

He’s required to finish preparations for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s site visit, slated for next Tuesday. The agreement also requires him to prepare the administrative team to take over after he leaves, and continue fundraising efforts. He’ll also remain on the school’s Board of Trustees until April.

Blackman and the charter’s Board of Trustees announced his resignation in late September. The agreement states that the board had agreed, in principal, to a multi-year renewal of Blackman’s contract. But when the school’s student enrollment came in well below budget expectations, Blackman proposed cutting his own position to keep the school’s staffing and educational program intact. He resigns after running the charter school for two years.

Since the charter school’s budget is based on a per-pupil allocation, the school faced a nearly $600,000 budget cut when enrollment came in at 124 students as of Oct. 1, down 56 from a budget, based on 180 enrolled students, and down by 78 students from the pre-enrollment count of 212.

By cutting his own position, which saves $80,000, and by making other adjustments and pursuing donations, Blackman had said the school can close the gap.

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