SOUTH KINGSTOWN – Vice-chairman of the South Kingstown School Committee, Dr. Anthony Mega, has announced his resignation from his elected position starting July 1.
In a May 2 email to Town Manager Stephen Alfred and School Committee Chair Maureen Cotter, Mega stated, “I have been rewarded with the opportunity to represent this outstanding school district and the gracious citizens of our town. Simply stated, it is now the right time for my departure. Thank you for your commitment to excellence and trusted guidance through my tenure. I wish you the best.”
Mega, who has served on the school committee since 2004, will finish his duties on July 1.
At that time, the South Kingstown Town Council will decide whether to appoint an interim member to finish off the year or to allow the seven-member school committee to operate with six members until the November elections.
Town Council President Ella Whaley indicated that the town charter stipulates the council shall appoint a new member.
“It’s important we appoint someone or it will be a 3-3 vote,” Whaley said.
The council will discuss the issue at the next meeting on Monday, May 14.
Mega’s main reason for his departure is time constraints. Mega works as an oncology physician at The Miriam Hospital in Providence, where he also researches prostate cancer.
“In the context of being very busy as a physician and looking at a time where the school committee work will remain intense, at this point after seven and half years, I don’t think I can continue meeting the commitment that is necessary,” said Mega in a phone interview Monday afternoon.
Mega explained that he is not disenchanted with the committee and that he hopes to continue work in the school district in some capacity.
“Tony gave a lot of time during the eight years,” stated Maureen Cotter, School Committee Chair. “He was a good listener and had a leadership style I enjoyed. He had a stage approach with thoughtful deliberations.”
Over the past eight years, Mega has been a strong voice on the committee. During his four year tenure as chair from 2006 to 2010, he handled the transition of superintendents from Dr. Hicks to Dr. Kristen Stringfellow. He also led the committee during its discussions to close the South Road School and its debate to close the Wakefield School. After much public pressure, the committee opted to keep the Wakefield School open.
Mega’s decision follows fellow school committee member, Richard Angeli Jr’s, public acknowledgement that he will not seek reelection either this year.
The news tops a difficult two years for the school committee. Last year, the school committee crossed fire with National Education Association-South Kingstown during contract negotiations when the teacher’s union argued that three new state polices should be negotiated. Recently, the two sides reopened the three year collective bargaining agreement they adopted last summer. They will not state publicly yet what changes, if any, the negotiations may bring.
During public hearings earlier this year concerns were raised regarding the school committee’s lack of communication after it decided to move the pre-school from the Hazard School to South Road. It is a decision many saw as a surprise after the committee earlier approved a recommendation by an ad-hoc committee, the Reconfiguration Action Committee, to redistrict students to the Peace Dale Elementary School.
The committee also felt public backlash after they voted to hire two new $200,000 administrative positions following the firing of three special education teachers.
In November, the seats of members Stephen Mueller, Liz Morris, Angeli and Mega are up for reelection.
“It will be a new school committee. It will evolve into a school committee that operates well. I know everyone will miss Tony,” Cotter said.