Angry parents grill NWCS board on school reorganization

Kathleen Gould said that plans for such a drastic reorganization of the school, and elimination of the principal shouldn't have been undertaken without notifying parents and community members.

"You've slapped our hands, and we didn't even hear about it," she said. "The word on the street is teachers can't speak out now because they are afraid of repercussions. Many people in the community feel completely powerless."

Murphy said the consolidation of the positions was based on sagging enrollment and the need to keep taxes down.

Parents said eliminating the elementary principal was short-sighted and would stretch the remaining administration way too thin.

Jessica Hamblin said cutting the principal post didn't make sense in light of Murphy's presentation that achievement levels and enrollment in advanced courses were sagging, although substance abuse was plummeting due to programs focused on elementary students.

Parent Estelle Smit said letters should have been sent to school district residents notifying them of pending changes.

She also said the planned staff cuts, including special education staff positions, would hurt programs.

"This is so drastic - We're cutting our heads off," she said.

Eagan said that parents and other citizens should have been attending board meetings to inform themselves of the pending plans.

Mundrick said parents lead busy lives, and weren't likely to attend meetings, unless they knew in advance something important would be discussed.

Eagan said it was "ridiculous" for the board to mail out agendas, and that meeting dates were specified on school calendars. Parents said they didn't receive calendars this year. Murphy apologized to the crowd for the lack of notification.

Citizen Stephen L. Smith offered to personally pay to have the entire proposed reorganization plan to be mailed out to every district resident.

Citizen Ann Murphy suggested that Elementary Principal Susan Bulmer be spared the axe, and other administrative cuts be made.

"This school is top-heavy in assistant administrators," she said.

The crowd paused as an elderly woman stood up.

"I am shocked - this is not good for the kids," Betty Jean Morehouse said. "I worked hard to get this building built, and you are not connecting with families - this is very upsetting."

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