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April 4, 2014

A year after Marblehead school board controversy, Lederman running again

(Continued)

A lifelong Marbleheader and the father of seven children, six of them in the public schools, Lederman says his love of the town and concern for his children moved him to run again.

The election is scheduled for Tuesday, May 13, with Lederman facing sitting member William Ackerman, who was appointed to the board last summer to fill Chun’s vacant seat until this spring’s election. Ackerman was away this week and unavailable for comment.

Schools Superintendent MaryAnn Perry reacted sharply to Lederman’s characterizations.

“Our finances are solid,” she said, adding that she expects the town to provide additional teachers at the high school along with capital improvements.

She also dismissed Lederman’s criticism of the science program, explaining that it is a work in progress that will involve teacher input as decisions are made in the coming months. While she denies the existence of a morale problem at Marblehead High School, Perry concedes the school is undergoing a transition with a principal hired less than a year ago.

School Committee chairwoman Kathy Leonardson backs up Perry, saying that the system finances are strong. “The budget is online. People can look at it,” she said. She pointed to favorable dealings with the town’s finance committee. “We’re doing well by working with others.”

Selectman Harry Christensen opposes Lederman’s return to the board, citing the ugly scenes following the Maas resignation. “The majority of that school committee, in my opinion, caused a great deal of turmoil,” he said, “and our children suffered as a result.”

He noted that Lederman later applied to fill one of the vacant positions on the board but failed to gain any support from the selectmen.

Thus far the five sitting selectmen will be on the ballot with no opposition.

In addition to the one-year School Committee seat that Lederman and Ackerman are seeking, there are two three-year School Committee terms on the ballot. Three candidates have returned to papers to run: incumbents Tom Connolly and Michael Murphy and challenger Susanna Pratt.

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