Its governing board had just been replaced through a process in essence mandated by the state government, and several of the new members had already resigned. Its two founding school leaders had publicly parted ways with the school, the temporary school leader was under increasing public scrutiny — as were the school’s finances. Disagreements over the causes of the problems sharply divided parents, and monthly board meetings were balancing acts between simmering tensions and open acrimony.
Reflecting the atmosphere of uncertainty, Bartlett was appointed school CEO last year with “interim” very publicly affixed to his title, and board members promised another search for a permanent successor. Against that background, then, the same board’s decision Monday night to make Bartlett the permanent CEO with a more-than-20 percent salary increase — and applause from parents who had been some of the school’s sharpest critics — was all the more striking.