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Principal Offers To Give Up His Own Job Rather Than Fire Teachers

June 28, 1989

RICHMOND, Mass. (AP) _ A principal has offered to sacrifice his own job so that teachers won’t have to be fired from their financially pressed elementary school of 200 students.

Principal Norman Najimy told the Richmond School Committee on Tuesday it could help balance the books ″with the least damage to the children″ by firing him and applying his pay of $43,000 a year toward teachers’ salaries. He said the committee could pay a teacher an extra $3,000 to run the school.

″This kind of catastrophic financial situation forces a man to creatively destroy his school system,″ George St. Pierre, regional superintendent for Richmond and several other small districts, said Wednesday. ″That’s what Norm is doing.″

Najimy, who was not in his office Wednesday, also submitted a list of 22 other possible moves, ranging from cutbacks in phsyical education programs to boosting the price of school lunches in order to trim $150,000 from the school’s proposed $1.2 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

He argued against laying off any teachers.

″Building faculty is the hardest thing to do,″ Najimy told the committee. ″If we lose our teachers, we will never get them back.″

St. Pierre said the school has the equivalent of 14 full-time teachers, including some part-time instructors teaching subjects such as art and music.

″He’s a very sincere person and I sincerely believe that Norm wants to do what he thinks is best for the kids,″ St. Pierre said.

″It’s a small school in a small town with limited financial resources and the severe financial problems are due to things we have no control over,″ St. Pierre said.

The school committee is scheduled to consider the cuts at its July 13 meeting. Richmond is a town of 1,600 in the Berkshire Hills in western Massachusetts.

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