NASHUA — Despite concerns from some board members, school officials have adopted the district’s new five-year strategic plan that calls for the hiring of staff to fill more than 50 new positions.
The Board of Education recently voted 7-2 to accept the 2019-2024 strategic plan and implement its action steps.
“I am very proud of this and I am excited about what is going to happen for our students once we implement this,” said Susan Porter, school board member.
The plan calls for the hiring of about 56 new personnel at a cost of nearly $3 million throughout the next several years. It includes five primary goals aimed to help the school district become a model of excellence in public education.
According to Superintendent Jahmal Mosley, the district reduced its staff by 61 employees from 2010 to 2015. This strategic plan, he said, advocates for those positions, and helps provide support for students and faculty.
“There are changing demographics within our district,” said Mosley, explaining the Hispanic and Asian-American student population has increased throughout the past 10 years, from about 14 percent in city schools to 26 percent, he said.
A decade ago, there were 74 percent Caucasian students in the district compared to the 50 percent that are now enrolled, said the superintendent.
Although the number of students within the district has decreased, the needs of Nashua students have increased, he said.
“There has been chaos at the higher level with the administration and with the board, and we have to acknowledge that. What this plan is advocating for is to cease that,” added Mosley.
Dotty Oden, board member, said the district has a great human capital need that must be addressed, explaining there are more special education students and English Language Learner students than ever before.
“We have to do what is best for these kids,” said Oden, who supported the new strategic plan.
Howard Coffman, board member, said the plan does not include any current or historical analysis of the district’s enrollment data, which he said is necessary to have an honest discussion.
“This report is an example of writing a report and then justifying its conclusion,” said Coffman, maintaining the document has no reference to the budget or spending analysis.
Doris Hohensee, member of the Board of Education, said she is disappointed with the process that led to the final plan.
“You have to get through the buzz words and start looking at the details of this package,” said Hohensee. She said that although the district has had a 6 percent decrease in staff over the past few years, it now has 1,000 students less — a 9 percent decrease.