In a split decision, the Arlington School Committee voted Tuesday to begin looking for a permanent principal for the Peirce School.
In a 4-3 vote, the board voted to begin the search in hopes of having a principal for the elementary school next year.
Interim Principal Karen Hartley has been filling in the top spot at the school since former Principal Robert Penta retired after the 2008-2009 school year.
The vote Tuesday overrode objections by School Committee members Joseph Curro Jr., Denise Burns and Joseph Curran, who argued that the job description for the Peirce School principal should be expanded before the search for a replacement begins.
Because school officials are expecting a deep deficit and cuts to staff in the upcoming school year, Burns said it might be a good idea for the school district to see if a new principal at the Peirce School could take on additional duties. The Peirce School has fewer teachers than other schools in the district, and Burns said overseeing a smaller school might enable the Peirce principal to take on other tasks, such as being a curriculum leader.
But Superintendent of Schools Kathleen Bodie said she was not sure if she would want to change the job description for the school principal before beginning the search, and School Committee member Ronald Spangler said the district needs to think of the long-term benefit of the school and move ahead with finding a principal.
Spangler voted in favor of beginning the search along with committee members Jeff Thielman, Cindy Sparks and Leba Heigham.
Curran, Curro and Burns voted against moving ahead with the search.