HOLYOKE — Discussions continued on the exiting of state receivership for Holyoke Public Schools during the June 10 Local Control Subcommittee meeting where conversations steered to the process of hiring a new superintendent once receivership is over.

Committee member Yadilette Rivera Colón said the district not only needed to be prepared with a plan for the hiring process of the next superintendent but also trained for it with their eventual regaining of local control.

Holyoke Mayor Joshua Garcia said he believed the school board should be the deciding body on what to do with the superintendent search. He added he personally felt focus should be on the transition in general more than specifics of a search just yet.

Committee member Mildred Lefebvre said it was important to receive clarification and understanding from the state on the exact process needed to follow to properly bring in a new superintendent once current Superintendent and Receiver Anthony Soto leaves once the district officially exits receivership.

Acting Commissioner for the Department of Education and Secondary Education Russell Johnston explained that receivers are all employees of the state and said it was important to be thoughtful about advanced planning for when the time comes.

“We don’t need to decide now. It will be up to the School Committee to have that kind of conversation, but I think it’d be good to begin to get an idea of timing for beginning to have those conversations at the School Committee level,” Johnston said.

He added that months before the officially exiting of receivership a clearer date will be in mind so that a transition process leading up to it can formally begin.

“We want to make sure there’s plenty of time, no pressure on the school committee in terms of having to race to figure out who the superintendent is, we have plenty of opportunity to figure this out. We have plenty of time on our side,” Johnston said.

Johnston said maybe by the fall the School Committee could begin discussing this process further and making sure people can give their input on what they want in a candidate once the search process is ready to begin.

Lefebvre said she was thankful for the clarification and said she felt once a search process is set up and an eventual new superintendent is selected it will snowball into focus for the remaining work in regaining control of the district.

This was the fifth of seven scheduled meetings between April and August between Johnston and the Local Control Subcommittee. The meetings are open to the public in person at Holyoke High School Dean Campus or via Zoom. Each meeting has a different focus as the two parties work out of state receivership.

The remaining meetings are on July 22 and Aug. 19 at 5 p.m. More information is available on the district website. A recording of the meetings can be found on the Holyoke Public Schools YouTube channel.