EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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December 2, 2012

School boss questioned on secret meeting

(Continued)

Two School Committee members, Mark Graziano and Deborah Quinn, were not invited to the meeting. Scannell said she invited only some of the School Committee members, those “who had questions and were curious.”

“I had never been notified about that meeting, so I don’t know what happened,” Graziano said. “I heard it was a little contentious.”

Zanni and Scannell said the meeting falls under the emergency meeting exemption and notice was not required to be posted. The mayor said in an interview Friday the meeting was needed to address comments from parents.

The Eagle-Tribune has filed an open meeting law complaint with the city and the School Department, seeking as remedy a copy of a complete transcript of the meeting signed by all attending members of the School Committee that is provided to the newspaper and posted prominently on the School Department’s webpage, and that the School Committee end the practice of meeting without the legally required 48-hour posting.

Fountain said he got several phone calls and e-mails the week of Thanksgiving from Rangerland parents complaining that their attempts to reach their School Committee members and the school administration about the sudden closing or rearranging of the program were met with silence. Fountain passed along those calls to Zanni.

“(School officials) think the council overstepped their bounds. Nothing had happened on the part of the council. I called the mayor twice about it and asked if he could look into it,” Fountain said.

Parents of preschoolers and high school students involved in Rangerland were upset two weeks ago over changes announced in two Nov. 14 letters, which Scannell said were not worded properly and led to confusion about the future of the program.

She said she was frustrated by the miscommunication – at least one of the letters said, “... we must close the Rangerland Pre-School Program...” and gave the impression the program was ending altogether – and held several meetings to clarify what the program’s future will be this year.

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