After being the brunt of criticism at the last two Clintonville School Board meetings, the school administration responded at the board meeting Monday, May 11.
During the public comments portion of the meeting, Clintonville School District Superintendent Tom O’ Toole spoke about the recent criticism.
“I want to take a chance to talk about those people who are referred to as ‘the administration or the administrators,'” O’Toole said to begin his comments.
He said administrators are people, teachers of teachers, and teachers of students. He said the administrators are also parents. He said the administrators also have experience.
“Within that group there’s nearly 200 years of educational experience. Nearly 100 years as administrators,” O’ Toole said.
He said administrators are often told by people that they don’t want their job. O’ Toole said that is usually based on the number of hours per week administrators work, or the situations with parents and students administrators have to deal with.
“These administrators have been attacked in public meetings and by the local media, and due to the rules in place have not defended themselves, have not been able to defend themselves,” O’ Toole said. “They’ve had things thrown at them nearly always with no specific details. I’ve been told it’s part of the job to sit there and take it. And that’s not right because that’s not part of the job.”
O’ Toole said no specific details does not lead to problem solving or anything positive.
“And I’ve got a news flash, school issues are not solved on Facebook or other social media,” he said.
He reiterated that administrators are people, and that they have feelings and care about the students and district.
“Students have tremendous opportunities coming through this school system and a lot of that is owed to the group called administrators,” O’ Toole said. “Largely because they help organize what the teachers do for the students.”
Earlier in the public comments portion of the meeting, Clintonville resident Mike Krueger spoke regarding the school administration. He said in his opinion, the superintendent needs to be evaluated by the school board.
“This board does not need to do any more excuses for anybody,” Krueger said.
Krueger asked the board for assurance that before any raises are given to principals or vice principals that the superintendent has done a performance evaluation for those individuals.
“It is not fair for the students and parents for you to give raises to administration only because they can still breathe,” Krueger said.
He urged the board to discuss the matter in closed session without the administration present.
Mary Kautz also spoke during the public comments portion of the meeting. First she addressed the issue of safety in the school buildings.
She asked the board to put school safety as one of its priorities.
She also told the board she volunteered to work at the After School Program at the elementary school, and she urged each of the board members to visit the After School Program themselves.
“I was warned when I walked in. I asked to work with the second graders, and I could not believe what some of these young children are doing,” Kautz said. “These teachers and volunteers are pulling their hair out.”
She said she now understands why some of the teachers and volunteers decide not to help with the After School Program.
“There’s a huge lack of discipline, a huge lack of respect,” Kautz said.
The students need role models, she said.
She also addressed the board about how the district handled the Mark Sparks resignation.
She said teachers should be treated with respect.
The board unanimously approved the hiring of 15 summer workers to assist Building and Grounds Director Steve Reinke with summer maintenance, mowing, and cleaning, as well as one for technology assistance.
The board unanimously approved hiring the necessary food service, teaching, and support staff for summer school.
The board unanimously approved the hire of Josh Heyer to the position of auditorium director, effective immediately.
The board unanimously approved the resignation of Lorie Poppe, Par I – Dellwood Early Learning Center, effective May 15.
Board member Jim Dins asked O’ Toole why Poppe was resigning before the end of the school year. O’ Toole said he believed her new job started at that time.
The board unanimously approved the hire of Vicki Toutillot for the district information technology coordinator position.
Lynette Edwards, business manager for Clintonville School District, provided the board with information regarding open enrollment numbers for the district.
She said that the estimated revenue for the district for open enrollment is $300,000. She added that is a low estimate.
She said open enrollment starts in early February and runs through the end of April. She said the state also has an open enrollment exception application. The exception allows students to open enroll in and out of districts outside the designated open enrollment period.
This makes estimating open enrollment numbers difficult, she said.
“It’s really left us with an absolute guess as to the number of kids who are going to come in or leave,” Edwards said.
She said in 2012-13 the district had 40 students open enroll into the district, while 81 open enrolled out of the district, for a net loss of 41 students. That equated to about $259,000 of revenue coming in, and $448,000 leaving the district.
In 2013-14 the district had 56 students open enroll into the district, while 86 open enrolled out of the district, for a net loss of 30 students.
In 2014-15 the district had 72 students open enroll into the district, while 81 open enrolled out of the district, for a net loss of nine students.
O’ Toole also shared data from neighboring districts. He said New London had a net loss of 44 students two years ago, a net loss of 55 students last year, and a net loss of 70 students this year.
He said he also researched the issue further and found that of the 81 students who opened enrolled out of the Clintonville district, 59 of them never went to school in the district.
“We’re trending in the right direction,” O’ Toole said.
Board member Jim Schultz said the district should survey the students who open enroll out of the district to find out why they came to that decision. He said the district should be getting more students to open enroll into the district.
“We have a great facility. We have a lot of AP courses, and we have a variety of courses to offer kids in high school,” Schultz said.
• The board unanimously approved recognizing students who participated in the state forensics competition by sending letters of congratulations.
• The board unanimously approved the authorization to proceed with ordering textbooks, workbooks, computers, subscriptions, and necessary supplies, plus arrangements for necessary maintenance projects, in preparation for the 2015-16 school year.
• The board unanimously approved a contract with CESA 7 for 2015-16 for Curricular Companion at a cost of $825.
• The board unanimously approved the 2015-16 membership with the WIAA. There is no cost this year for membership.
• The board unanimously approved a request for early graduation for one student, class of 2016, provided all graduation requirements are successfully completed.
• Due to Memorial Day, the next school board meeting will be Tuesday, May 26.