Verbal attacks continued at the Iola-Scandinavia School Board meeting Monday night.
Knowing there were a number of people who wanted to be heard, board President Tom Opperman asked each speaker to limit their time to five minutes. That was not the case.
The public presentations continued for more than two hours, with most speakers taking a hostile approach toward the board.
Dennis Kenneally accused the board of not properly notifying the public before approving administrative contracts in June 2010. He said he sent a letter, via a law firm, to the board members asking for an explanation. He asked the board not to act on any contracts at this time.
“I have found out that an outsider shouldn’t ask questions,” Kenneally said. “Nobody hates anybody, we just want answers.”
He also told the board it would be the last time they will hear from him.
“For those who continue to ignore us, we have options,” he said.
Susan Molden accused business manager Jon Novak of being unprofessional and evil when he copied an email response to Dennis Kenneally’s employer.
Then she presented what she called proof that the district was overpaying its administrators, particularly the director of the I-S Community Fitness & Aquatic Center. She compared the FAC director’s wages with salaries at the Oshkosh and Stevens Point YMCAs and with a facility in San Diego.
“You can’t argue squat with me – don’t even try,” she told the board.
Molden then asked for the audience to show their support with applause. When she asked for applause to show how many didn’t support her claims, an audience member stated, “We don’t have enough information to reply.”
“I don’t think anyone can understand the job another person does,” said Margaret Thompson. “Comparing FAC directors, it’s not necessarily the same job.
“We have awesome facilities and we can work together to make (the district) better,” she said. “I hope (the board) can all get through this and come out stronger on the other side.”
“When I see (the board) continue to approve endless increases, it just reaches a point that it alarms me,” said Louis Frias. “I don’t know where you’re going to get your money from to run this place.
“If (the board) continue(s) going that way, we will use the only tool we have – a recall – to get rid of the rest of the board,” he said. “Things are wrong right now. There’s only so much that we can pay.”
“I feel compelled, as a member of this learning community, to speak the truth,” said elementary counselor Cathy Rocco.
She said the I-S School District has a great staff and caring administrators, which is reflected in the district’s high test scores. She noted this success takes “leadership, planning, cooperation and time.”
“The No. 1 goal of this district is to teach our students,” she said. “Our needs and expectations come in second to the needs and expectations of our students.”