After several Clintonville High School students addressed the school board at its April 13 meeting, parents and residents in the district took their turn at the April 27 school board meeting.
They spoke about how the school administration and school board handled the resignation of teacher Mark Sparks.
Mary Kautz said she is a lifelong resident of the district, her three children attended school in the district, and now she has three grandchildren in the district.
She said she’d like to see the agenda item regarding the resignation of Sparks brought back to the board.
“I really don’t feel that it is fair to that teacher. I don’t feel that it’s fair to the students,” Kautz said. “These kids look up to that man. They respect him. They have learned a lot from him.”
Junior Emily Krueger, who addressed the board at the April 13 meeting, once again addressed the board. This time she wore a shirt that said “Keep the Spark Alive” and “We have a voice.”
She said that many people are still disappointed with the district’s decision regarding Sparks.
“Everyone here who is over 18, and especially the ones who have children in school, elect you because they have faith that you will hopefully make smart decisions for the school,” Krueger said. “They want what is best for their kids. I’m sure if they don’t think their kids are getting the best education and being thought of as a high priority, I’m sure they wouldn’t hesitate to do something about it.”
She added, “I know some of you are rolling your eyes and thinking I can’t do much, but with all these people behind me, myself and the other students can. We have a voice and we will speak it until we believe we are getting the best education possible.”
She concluded by saying, “To lose a teach that inspires you so much is beyond unsettling for me and for countless other kids as well, especially when you are already looked down upon because you are a teenager. You think we don’t have a voice, but we do, and you will hear it if you want to or not.”
Christy Jacobsen said she is very active in the school system.
“I continually hear from our teachers how scared they are to talk to this board,” Jacobsen said.
She asked how many of the board members have gone to the schools and talked to teachers.
Board member Jim Dins said he has, and that the teachers have opened up to him about issues.
“I feel, and some of the community members feel, that the positions in the school are not filled by academically, but by friendship,” Jacobsen said.
She said she thinks it is time for the district to reevaluate how the teachers in the district feel.
She also claimed not many teachers were at the board meeting because they were advised not to attend.
“I think maybe the board should take a look at what they’re (students) advocating, and what they’re listening to, and who they’re listening to,” Jacobsen said.
Mike Krueger, father of Emily Krueger, told the board “I will not allow my daughter to be taught that when something is drastically wrong, to go and hide, and ignore the problem because you can make a difference.”
He added, “What the school board and the administration has taught these kids so far is they do not matter and they should be satisfied with mediocrity in this school.”
Krueger said he brought complaints to the school board three years ago, but he hasn’t seen any improvement in the district.
“Three years ago teachers were in fear of their jobs because of this administration,” Krueger said. “Teachers were being moved around like checkers on a checkered board for no apparent reason. Kids need stability.”
Krueger said it was his opinion the administration is the problem.
He asked that the administration stop using the G grading system, as well as stop moving teachers around the district.
“It’s not good for the kids or the teachers. It only makes for a bad learning environment,” he said.
After everyone spoke who wanted to speak, board President Ben Huber thanked everyone for coming to the meeting and speaking.
The board approved the resignation of Sarah Wong, third grade teacher, effective the end of the 2014-15 school year by a 5-2 vote. Board members Dins and Jim Schultz voted no.
Prior to the vote, Dins asked District Administrator Tom O’Toole if Wong was asked to resigned, or if she was just resigning?
O’Toole said he wouldn’t answer that question.
The board also approved, by a 5-2 vote, the resignation of Stephanie Wengelski, varsity basketball coach, effective immediately. Dins and Schultz voted no.
Prior to voting, Schultz asked why Wengelski was resigning. O’Toole said he wasn’t going to answer that question.
The board unanimously confirmed action for the city of Clintonville’s land acquisition for the Main Street construction project planned for summer of 2017.
The board unanimously approved one student’s request to take welding courses through FVTC – Clintonville.
Prior to the regular school board meeting, the district held its annual reorganizational meeting.
Huber was elected president of the board by a vote of 4-3 over Dirk Weber, who had been the president.
Weber was elected vice-president. Dins was elected clerk. Clyde Tellock was elected treasurer.
The Clintonville Tribune-Gazette was selected as the official newspaper for publication of minutes, Class A notices and all other official business and information of the school district. The vote was 6-1 with board member Jim Schultz voting no.