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Trustees extend Harvey’s contract
N. KILBEY-SMITH/Reprints at wilsoncountynews.com
Jennifer Moczygemba, a parent in the La Vernia Independent School District, invites community members to air their concerns by contacting her, as the district’s board met in executive session March 6 to consider the employment of Superintendent Tom Harvey.
Wilson County NewsMarch 14, 2012 2,915 views 3 comments
LA VERNIA -- The La Vernia Independent School District (ISD) board of trustees has voted 6-1 to extend the contract of Dr. Tom Harvey, the district’s superintendent, for five years. The decision was made during a March 6 special called meeting, specifically to address the superintendent’s evaluation and employment with the district.
District parents and concerned community members thronged the entrance to the La Vernia ISD Administration Building, some holding signs reading “Save Our Schools” and “No more Harvey.” They packed the conference room of the building, the usual venue for the evaluation.
Many expected an opportunity to address the board with concerns, including the ongoing investigation into missing junior high activity funds; however, the meeting agenda did not include a public comments period, not unusual for special meetings.
Board President Mike Jendrusch declared an executive session after calling the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m. and determining a quorum. The members of the public vacated the room while the evaluation took place; personnel matters customarily are discussed in closed session by the board. The board remained behind closed doors for several hours, finally returning to open session and voting on the matter just before 11 p.m.
As the board deliberated inside the building, parents, district employees, and other community members discussed their concerns outside.
Many in the crowd that varied in size through the evening, at one point about 60 people, decried the board’s lack of availability and transparency. Many expressed their desire for the board to not renew Harvey’s contract.
Participants said they didn’t know how to contact a board member, or that their emails were not read or responded to. Some asked if the board could be recalled and, if so, how. Others said when they raised concerns with district administrators, their children at school were subjected to retaliation. Several said they were aware of teachers who were afraid to air concerns for fear of retaliation.
Those interested ultimately coalesced loosely into a group, spearheaded by district parent Jennifer Moczygemba and former district employee Mary Bordner. The group will channel concerns from parents and community members and provide a forum for communicating these to other district families. It may provide a means of communicating on behalf of district families and taxpayers to the trustees and district officials.
Jennifer Moczygemba can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. She invites comments and concerns from the community. Include your name and contact number in your email.
As the crowd milled, one parent got online and secured a domain name to establish a website for the group. It’s a work in progress, Moczygemba said after the meeting, but anyone interested now can visit www.lvparents.org to keep abreast of district issues.
“Go register for the site, and be engaged,” Moczygemba urged. “Contact me!”
Jendrusch, on Wednesday morning, said that the board took its responsibilities seriously and had taken comments and concerns from the public into account during its evaluation and deliberations. He said Harvey’s contract would be available in approximately 30 days, following its preparation and legal review.
“Each school year, the trustees evaluate the superintendent,” Harvey said after the meeting. “They spend several hours reviewing goals and sharing their concerns as they discuss strengths and weaknesses since the last appraisal. I am honored to serve this school district and appreciate the reflection process that these appraisals offer. As a school superintendent, I am blessed to work with such a dedicated staff, hardworking students, supportive parents, and devoted trustees.”
The full board was present for the meeting. The vote to extend Harvey’s contract was 6-1, Jendrusch said. Eric Friedrichs cast the dissenting vote.
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Quahog, Rhode Island
March 15, 2012 12:18pm
7th Generation La Vernian
March 15, 2012 11:59am
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