Hanson walks off the job, school board accepts her resignation
By Holly Neumann
Angela Hanson resigned as the business manager of the Manawa School District.
Hanson had been employed by the district since Oct. 6, 2014.
“It came as a complete surprise when Mrs. Hanson resigned and left the office unexpectedly on Friday morning without providing a reason or an opportunity for me to discuss the matter with her,” said District Administrator Melanie Oppor in a press release.
Hanson, who walked off the job on Friday, June 5, said she was confused by Oppor’s statement.
“I sent a very lengthy email in March telling her I could not work in these conditions and she ignored me,” she said. “After four to five months of being falsely accused of many things, including sabotaging the district, I couldn’t take it anymore. I have done nothing wrong and I was tired of being bullied by the district administrator and several members of the Board of Education.”
When asked about Hanson’s email, Oppor said she was not at liberty to discuss personnel matters.
Hanson described her work environment at the district as hostile and malicious.
“I never knew each day if I would walk in and be called into a meeting and told I was unprofessional or fraudulent or if I would be told I did a good job,” she said. “It would depend if I agreed or disagreed with the leadership.”
She believes that the district will intentionally try to make her look bad.
“I was accused of being fraudulent while looking for a new health insurance consultant,” said Hanson. “I was told that I broke the law so that I could benefit from the insurance and had a conflict of interest.”
She further stated that the district’s attorney even issued a statement that she had followed procedure and that there was not a conflict of interest.
“I was also accused of sabotaging the district,” she said. “I did accidentally delete something while doing a webinar with the company and admitted it, but it didn’t affect any financials, and it was fixed.”
Hanson believes she is the target of bullying.
“If I spoke up in meetings, the next day I would be reprimanded,” she said. “Several times I was told I would no longer be needed to attend certain meetings. I was also told several times that schools do things differently and that I should not look at it as a business. I was given one directive and it would then change. I would be questioned on the change and the Board was told I misunderstood the direction.”
When School Board President Scott Rice was asked if he felt the Manawa School Board or the district administrator has ever bullied any of the staff, his response was, “Absolutely not.”
Hanson went on to say that she has seen other malicious acts within the district as well.
“I saw the intentionally harassment of the elementary principal, by Dr. Oppor, even after she resigned,” she said.
She also noted that Oppor would also send her things through the district secretary and through a Google app called hangouts to avoid the open record laws.
Oppor was unaware of what hangouts was, but did indicate that in addition to verbal communication, phone calls and emails, she does use text messaging as a means of communication with employees.
Hanson does not feel that the district’s leadership was primarily concerned about the students.
“It is always about bigger paychecks and getting the people out who question the decisions,” she said. “More people need to be brave to stand up for what is right regardless of the consequences. I am not the type of person who accepts things because that is how it has always been done. Clearly things were not working for our district and still are not.”
She believes the district’s problems all have to do with power and control.
“I don’t feel that way at all,” said Rice. “If we speaking about an individual or employee, I will go with the statement we issued earlier today as we cannot comment on those situations.”
Hanson stated that she is saddened to be leaving the district.
“I care about the kids and the staff,” she said. “The staff has been beat up for years and it just continues. The leadership is not interested in doing things right but would rather be right, even if they are not. If you get in the way, you will be smeared and destroyed.”
A vacancy for the position of business manager was posted by the district on Friday, June 5.
Hanson’s resignation was unanimously accepted during a special Manawa School Board meeting Monday, June 8. No discussion took place on the matter.
The board later moved into closed session to interview a candidate for the position.