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NBSU Super Retiring at End of 3-Year Contract
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
05:42AM / Thursday, December 21, 2023
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CLARKSBURG, Mass. — John Franzoni will stay superintendent of the Northern Berkshire School Union for the next three years. 
The union's School Committee agreed on Monday to a contract that will see the Franzoni through June 30, 2027, when he plans to retire. 
He was hired by the school union in 2018 to replace the retiring Jon Lev. Franzoni was principal of Brayton Elementary School in North Adams, and had been an administrator at both Greylock and the former Sullivan schools and athletic director at Drury High School.
Franzoni requested a 3 percent raise in each of the next three years, the same as his current contract, along with a four-week vacation and five extra working days. His prior contract also included a clause for a $5,000 payout after 10 years but he asked if the payout could be spread over the next three years instead so it was pensionable.
"We've been through a lot over the last six years, a lot of unexpected challenges that we got through them together," Franzoni said. "We've worked well with our towns. We had our kids in school when COVID happened, upgraded our technology, our special education. We got through a transition for our office a couple of years ago and now we're back in a good team again, our office is working well together."
He also noted that his evaluations had been exemplary. His current salary is $140,786.
"It doesn't cost the districts anything extra, it's just as paying it out in a different way," he said. "And it just helps towards my retirement, and that would be much appreciated. I would appreciate your consideration.
Judy Oleson of Florida, a former chair of the committee, confirmed that a similar payout had been approved for the former superintendent at nine years.
"You guys need to decide if we want to put it into his three-year salary contract," she said. "I think that would be fair, because that makes him a little more compatible with some of the other superintendents. Not a lot, but a little."
Chair Arleigh Cooper noted that adding the $1,666 each year would carry on the percentage and asked what the cost would actually be. 
Franzoni said he was fine with adding it before or after the percentage. 
"I think the only problem is if it's put in after, it's considered a bonus, then it doesn't count for your retirement," said Oleson. "It needs to be a part of your salary in order for it to count."
Business Administrator Lisa Blackmer noted that 3 percent of $1,666 is $50. Tara Barnes, assistant superintendent of student services/curriculum, thought spreading the cost out over three years would be easier to budget than a larger payout three years from now. 
"I just wanted it to be clear so that when we have our minutes, it's black and white. That's all," said Cooper, adding, "I'm sad that this is going to be your last contract but also we're very fortunate to have had you and will continue to have you for such a strong leader."
His salary will be $146,727 for 2024-25. 
The committee also approved a two-year contract with Blackmer at five weeks vacation and a 2.5 percent raise each year. It also agreed to add her $1,000 travel pay into her salary to make it pensionable.
She had initially asked for 3 percent, which Oleson supported, but Cooper wasn't as comfortable with that number because there were a couple areas that needed improvement on her evaluation. She thought they could potentially look at 3 percent on the next contract. 
"We do appreciate how you've survived through the situations our town to put you in and we would certainly like to see you continue helping our towns and justly reward you after two years," said Oleson. 
In other business, the committee ratified the school union assessment percentages presented by Blackmer. Based on enrollment figures as of Oct. 1: Clarksburg is at 51 percent, up 2 points; Florida is down one point to 19 percent; Rowe from 18 percent to 15; Savoy from 10 to 12 percent and Monroe stayed the same at 3 percent.
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