The Deerfield Public Schools District 109 Board of Education is moving forward with its for retiring Superintendent Renee Goier, but parent Barry Grossman is still urging them to reconsider.
Grossman, who is continuing to collect signatures for a asking the board to hire an interim leader until after the April election, pointed out at Monday’s meeting the board hired interim staff members this school year to fill vacancies caused by the resignation of the assistant superintendent for learning and the special education program coordinator.
“I want to thank you,” Grossman said. “This warms my heart to find that you're taking advice of most of the community by looking for an interim solution for some of these positions. I still would like to see this board consider the superintendent position on an interim basis as you have with these other positions. You have rushed to beat the clock on the election.”
Grossman said the board should look to hire a retired superintendent who would forego their pension while working for the district, rather than paying for a superintendent search firm.
Two parents also asked the board to examine what caused the problems with special education that proved to be a major point of contention during between the District and the Deerfield Education Association teachers’ union.
“We recognize that special education has had some problems,” said Richard Heller. “Now the question is problem solving.”
Heller asked if cuts to the programs were made with the approval of the board or were done independently by Goier.
“I'm not trying to point fingers, but the solution to the problem depends on the cause of the problem,” he said. “If it's something that slipped through your fingers and no one was paying attention to, that's a different problem than if the board decided to cut special education.”
Andi Goldstein also said she would like the board to share more information on the reduction of programs.
“In the corporate world, when something traumatic happens, there is a postmortem analysis as to why there was such an event,” Goldstein said. “It's not pointing fingers, but a reflection back to see what we did to get to where we are today. I would ask the board if they could do some sort of analysis or an audit trail.”
Board member Ron Worth said that District 109 gathered information on improving special education through studies and focus groups at the end of the 2011-2012 school year. Board President Ellen London said they might not be able to share all their findings with parents.
“We are examining things,” she said. “Some stuff we’ll be able to disclose. Some we won’t because of contractual and legal obligations.”
Goldstein said she respected the privacy challenge, but would still like to see new procedures put in place for special education.