The planned consolidation of the town and school system IT departments passed unanimously at Monday night’s Town Meeting after a brief discussion. The departments, which have been temporarily combined since the departure of senior town IT staff, will officially merge under unified leadership and report to school Superintendent Daniel Gutekanst. School Committee Vice Chair Mike O’Brien and Finance Committee member John Connelly presented the plan to Town Meeting, urging members to support it. 

A handful of Town Meeting members asked questions about the plan, including whether having the School Department take the lead has been tried elsewhere, to which the answer was yes. 

Jeanne McKnight of Precinct F asked whether the school IT staff would move out of the former Hillside School building, where they have been working since the administration’s temporary move out of the Emery Grover Building, raising the question about the prospects for that property. For now, O’Brien said, the department will remain at Hillside, though the leadership will move back to its headquarters on Highland Avenue when the renovation is complete. Gutekanst said IT staff will be there for the foreseeable future.

“We are working through a variety of logistical and personnel issues now,” said Gutekanst about implementing the consolidation. “We are in the process of hiring some folks to fill key positions; entering into agreements with consultants to help us plan the workflow; and sitting down with key employees to discuss how we move forward and to negotiate changes to certain collective bargaining agreements. For the next fiscal year or so we have interim leadership positions filled until we finalize a plan for the leadership and management structure.”

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