“My hope is that you work with me for the betterment of the Lawrence Public Schools,” Riley said.
“It is my hope that we operate in such a way that if and when the receivership ends, the School Committee will be fully restored,” he said.
At the outset of the meeting, Riley stressed that he was under no obligation to meet with the existing committee, but wanted to run an “inclusive” school system that considers participation from all parties.
“The viability of the School Committee has been called into question by the state and the citizens of Lawrence, he said, referring to a scathing state report released in the fall of 2011 that criticized the previous committee for a lack of leadership that contributed to the school system’s overall problems.
That report, coupled with declining MCAS test scores and five schools being identified as among the state’s poorest performing, prompted the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to declare Lawrence Public Schools as the state’s first “Level 5” district under a 2010 law that enables the state to take over “chronically underperforming” school districts.