For those of you who are new to town or may have forgotten, former School Superintendent Thomas Jefferson and a School Committee member who no longer lives in town were each charged with violating state ethics laws. The charges involved the authorization of special education funds that permitted the daughter of the former School Committee member to attend a private academy not on the list approved by the state for special education.
Many in the community were upset by this betrayal of the public trust and by the failure of a previous School Committee to deal with the matter.
At special Town Meeting on Oct. 10, 2007, the School Committee was censured by an overwhelming vote. The censure cited extending Jefferson's contract by a year while two years into his three-year contract, and giving Mr. Jefferson a positive job review while the ethics violations were under investigation by state and federal agencies. On April 28, 2010, the Massachusetts Ethics Commission found Jefferson guilty of violating the conflict-of-interest laws and levied the maximum fine. This finding was upheld by the State Superior Courts on appeal by Jefferson.
Stu Sklar, both as a member and Chairman of the School Committee at the time, stood firmly behind the disgraced former superintendant throughout the unfortunate saga. He exercised extremely poor judgement. He failed to speak out against the betrayal of public trust which occured on his watch. Everyone makes mistakes and has the opportunity to learn from them. Stu needs to acknowledge his mistakes and to apologize for them. He must put this matter behind him before he can be considered for yet higher elected office.