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June 14, 2013

Fratto takes parting shot at Methuen school district

Heads to a higher paying job at Lincoln-Sudbury

METHUEN — Schools business administrator Glenn Fratto reportedly took a parting shot at the Methuen’s education funding and its commitment to its schools as he heads to a higher paying job with the Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School.

Fratto, who is negotiating with Lincoln-Sudbury to become the school’s new finance director, told the Framingham-based MetroWest Daily News last week he was happy to be moving to a district that spends more money on its schools. Methuen Superintendent Judith Scannell said Fratto explained his words were taken out of context.

“I currently work in a district that doesn’t appear to value education as much as L-S,” the paper reported Fratto as saying in its June 8 edition. “I’m looking forward to working with two communities that put their money where there (sic) mouth is.”

The comment annoyed local officials, who said Methuen and Lincoln-Sudbury are very different communities with different needs and abilities to pay for education. Mayor Stephen Zanni said the comment was “unwarranted.”

“I’m upset about the parting shot he took at the school system,” Zanni said.

Evan Chaisson, the Methuen School Committee vice chairman, said comparing Methuen to wealthy suburban towns like Lincoln and Sudbury was “comparing apples to oranges.”

“My initial reaction was, it took me by shock, especially since we just gave Glenn a three-year contract extension,” Chaisson said. “But it’s tough to compare Methuen to Lincoln-Sudbury. Methuen has always been a level-funded school. Lincoln-Sudbury has money to spend. We have to pinch to the penny.”

Methuen typically funds its schools at the minimum level required by the state. This year, Scannell proposed an $80.8 million budget that came in about $3 million above the state minimum and drew an immediate push back from the mayor and several committee members. The extra funding was for enrichment, foreign language and math and reading coaches.

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