Brunswick school officials know a lot more than they’re saying about Art Abelmann.
School board chairman Jim Grant says he had “no knowledge” of what was discussed during Wednesday night’s executive session, when Abelmann, Brunswick’s top in-school administrator, was given a graceful out — and perhaps upwards of $100,000 for agreeing not to show up for work anymore — just weeks before graduation.
School board member Corinne Perreault, who helped usher in the Abelmann Era in Brunswick despite a hasty exit under cloudy circumstances from his most recent post, wouldn’t return our calls.
Paul Perzanoski, he was out of town.
That’s accountability for you.
So what exactly did our elected public officials know about Art Abelmann before they selected him from a pool of what had to be dozens of applicants last year?
It wasn’t that long ago, Mrs. Perreault. We’re sure you remember.
Did you ask questions like, have you ever been asked to resign from a position?
Have you ever taken a settlement and been barred from discussing your past job performance?
Ever been accused of a crime?
How about a criminal or financial background check?
Those types of things.
In fact, the more we think about it, the less we know about Mr. Abelmann. We tried calling him Thursday; his phone number was unlisted and the school office declined to give it out. He routinely blew us off for interviews over the course of several months.
Does he even live in Brunswick? Our last published address for him was in Laconia, N.H.
We are sure there’s more.
An internal investigation into Mr. Abelmann’s conduct was conducted this winter, and we are in the process of finding out — or, confirming — what that was all about.
Folks, there’s principals, and then there are principles.
Here’s one principle: You find out as much as you can about a guy to whom you’re going to be entrusting the future of your children, before you let him in the building.
Before you pay $96,000 a year to a guy who left his last job on a rail, call a few of his superiors and colleagues and ask some questions.
Simple stuff, really.
Despite what Abelmann may or may not have done to earn his latest payout (Aspen paid $30,000 to be rid of him), school officials must have had a dozen better candidates than him.
But no, this guy is the best Brunswick could do. Really.
Forget what school officials say — or, don’t say — about Art Abelmann. They have no credibility on the matter — or, really, any other matter — with us for the time being.
And fear whomever they select as his replacement. Because here’s one certainty: We won’t know what we need to know about him or her before they arrive.
A refresher course for Brunswick school officials: Maine state law requires the superintendent and his colleagues be held responsible for the effective administration and supervision of the schools.
Is Brunswick High School being supervised effectively? Obviously, it is not.
Brunswick, we stand in disgust of your woefully poor performance in selecting school administrators.
Mrs. Perreault, Mr. Grant, Mr. Perzanoski, for the sake of our children whose future we entrust to you, and to re-establish the trust of your community, it’s time to come clean about what you knew about Art Abelmann — and when.
Otherwise, you are all free to apply for other work. Maybe there are some school districts out there with vetting procedures as miserably poor as yours.