Spotlight on District 109

Recent comments by the Superintendent and Board President continue to show how out of touch they are with the parents of the district.

As you know, one of the issues I’ve had with the Board of Education and Superintendent is how out of touch they are with the parents of the district.  They have marched in lockstep for years, with no shortage of kudos all around, believing that this is a world class school district.  At the strategic planning meetings it was stressed that this is a VERY high performing district and all we needed were a few “tweaks”.  The eye rolls from the teachers and parents on the team told me all I needed to know.  Twelve months later we were embroiled in a nasty contract negotiation that brought several issues to light, every single one leading to the same conclusion, that the leaders of the district are not interested in any opinion that disagrees with their own.

Over 500 people, which roughly equates to one third of the families in the district, signed a petition of no confidence, feeling that this BOE has lost the credibility it needs to hire the next Superintendent.  Even so, the BOE and Supt continue to believe this to be a problem involving only a “vocal few.”  Not possible, right?  We all saw the Shepard gym packed to the gills for those board meetings earlier in the year.  We heard the pleas from parents that just want their issues addressed.  They couldn’t possibly believe the “resistance” is so small.  Think again.

At a recent meeting with PTO parents, Superintendent Goier expressed her frustration that the “vocal few who post on the Patch” have made the district distasteful for potential Superintendent candidates.  President London said that in all her 12 years on the Board there were never these kinds of problems.  These comments were made in the presence of PTO parents mind you, some of them whose signatures adorn the no-confidence petition.  If the resistance is so insignificant, why would you make these comments?  Why would a potential superintendent candidate care about one or two loudmouth jerks?  I think these two ladies know exactly the size of the problem.  A problem they had no small role in creating.

At any rate, I wish to allay Ms. London and Ms. Goier’s concerns.  There is nothing stronger than an engaged community.  They say it takes a village to raise a child, and whoever they are, I agree with them.  The number of people who have requested applications to run for the Board is larger than it has been in years, and that’s fantastic.  There will be real discourse about our educational system.  This IS a high performing district, due to great parents and dedicated teachers.  With the right leadership, it can be a great one.

So fear not, Superintendent candidates.  If you are qualified, hard-working, and dedicated to satisfying the customers of your district, we will embrace you.  There are few districts that have as engaged a parent group as we do.  We raise money, and lots of it.  We volunteer in the schools.  We help our kids with their homework.  We cheer when they sing off-key at their recitals.  We want the best and we expect the best, both from our schools and ourselves.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

MSB September 27, 2012 at 03:25 PM
To potential candidates: The community whole-heartedly welcomes any superintendent candidates who have not lost sight of their number one priority which is to create the best educational environment in order to maximize the learning potential of ALL its students. Remember, it is NOT a power game; it is NOT a control game; it is NOT a personal gain game (as the current board and administration see it). These are our children and we want the best for them because they are a reflection of our community. If you do your job right, you will be proactive in seeking out the views and concerns of students, parents, teachers and community. You will also be fiscally responsible with the generous tax base and donations that this community provides--and having the understanding that providing the best education and being fiscally responsible do not have to be at odds with each other
MDG September 27, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Mr. Rusillo, I signed the petition, not due to "no confidence" in the current board. I signed because I felt the new superintendent should be chosen by the same team with whom he or she will work. Please do not put "words" in my mouth regarding the reason for signing the petition!
John Russillo September 27, 2012 at 04:55 PM
I didn't put words in anyone's mouth. I used the words ON THE PETITION. If you signed for a different reason that's fine but the reason for the petition is clear.
MSB September 28, 2012 at 04:51 PM
For Goier to blame the district’s issues on the “vocal few who post on the Patch” is reprehensible. Rather than owning up to the board and her mistakes, the latest trend in this political climate is to double-down on their misguided principles. As public records indicate, I am not the one submitting lunch and tavern receipts on the district P-cards. I am not one of the administrators filling up my tank every other week to drive to and from work. I am not submitting $15, 000/year for my administrative doctoral degree when my contract says $5,000/year—so who is buying off who to look the other way? Where does it say that in addition to a generous state pension that the administrators should also receive 503b contributions for another $15,000- 20,000/year? Where does it is say that we should foot an all-expense paid administrative trip to Rome and never hear or see any positive educational enhancements brought back to our district? Why is this board allowing this to happen? Where is their oversight? Sorry that my comments are exposing inconvenient truths. But unless we acknowledge the abuse and educational issues that plague this district we cannot move forward. I have a vested interest and stake in this community as a parent, homeowner and taxpayer to see that this district is run ethically and in a fiscally responsible manner.
John Russillo October 10, 2012 at 07:01 PM
The following link is the findings from the strategic planning retreat in 2010. The issues with special education and teacher frustration were made VERY clear. So for the board president to say there were never any problems until recently is hogwash. These items were presented to the Board in December of 2010. They did nothing for one full year until the "vocal few" (now apparently the "vocal many") raised the issues again in public meetings. We have now been waiting for almost ANOTHER year to see what they will do about it. http://www.dps109.org/Strategic%20Planning%20Documents/Summary%20of%20all%20Data%20-%20Strengths%20and%20Opportunities.pdf


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