March 15. 2013 5:06PM

Embattled Goffstown principal resigns with Dunbarton poised to vote on withdrawing its students

By Kathy Remillard
Union Leader Correspondent

GOFFSTOWN – Mountain View Middle School Principal Jim Hunt, openly criticized last fall for a lack of academic rigor and poor culture and climate in the regional middle school that houses about 890 students from Goffstown, New Boston and Dunbarton, has resigned effective today.

His resignation comes a day before Dunbarton School District's annual meeting on Saturday when residents will vote on whether to take steps to remove Dunbarton's students from Goffstown and send them to Bow instead. Such a move would cost Goffstown an estimated $2 million in annual revenue.

After school board members and parents from sending towns, including Dunbarton, complained about the middle school, the school district commissioned a study to identify and fix the problems. They hired Learning Innovations at West Ed of Woburn, Mass., at a cost of $35,500. Despite the expense, Hunt did not participate in the study.

SAU 19 Superintendent Stacy Buckley, who is also leaving for a new job in another school district, confirmed Hunt's resignation and said an interim principal will be put in place for the remainder of the school year, and that plans for Hunt's permanent replacement will begin immediately.

In a statement, Hunt, who did not participate in the West Ed study, said he was proud of his accomplishments at MVMS, notably the implementation of increased math rigor and the NEASC Accreditation in 2009.

School Board Chairman Philip Pancoast wished Hunt well. "We appreciated all that Mr. Hunt has done over the past seven years, and we wish him the best in his future," he said.

School Board member Keith Allard spoke on his own behalf regarding Hunt's departure.

"This is going to usher in an opportunity for change," he said.