Friday, May 02, 2014 9:21 AM
Disappointed. This word doesn't even begin to describe how I felt after sitting through the April 21 school board meeting. I listened for discussion, questions, comments from the school board about an intelligent, wonderful, caring, and very dedicated teacher but heard nothing!
Betty Johnson has been working with the Spring Grove School District for the past 30 years, with the last 2 1/2 years as a kindergarten teacher. On Monday, April 21, our school board agreed to a decision recommended by Principal Nancy Gulbranson and Superintendent Rachel Udstuen not to continue Betty's contract with the district, thus ending her chance for tenure, which she was just a few months short of achieving.
I certainly wonder the reasons behind this decision. There are at least three teachers hired just this school year while Betty has been teaching in the district for almost three years, not counting the 27 other years of service to the district.
The other teachers either have children attending school in Spring Grove or will be attending in future years. Betty has one child who will complete her senior year this year. So, is this a determining factor in the decision to cut Betty?
Betty is also the oldest of these non-tenured teachers. Is that another determining factor in this decision? I would hope not, as it doesn't seem very ethical to make this a factor.
And for the board members to just sit by and watch it happen without question, comment or clarification is more than a major disappointment!
When asked at the start of the board meeting if any of the audience would like to address the board, a few of us in attendance spoke on Betty's behalf. When I asked the question about the decision-making process for cuts, Superintendent Udstuen said it was her decision that a cut should be made and Principal Gulbranson's decision as to who should be cut.
When I asked if the school board had the final decision on the cut, Superintendent Udstuen replied that there would be the question of whether she and Principal Gulbranson were doing their jobs. So, it seems the tone was set at the beginning of the meeting that the board shouldn't question their decision.
Now, I ask the board members, don't you think people can make mistakes and shouldn't you question their decisions? Isn't that part of your job as a board member? Spring Grove School Board Members, I think you need to reconsider your decision and continue Betty's contract!
For those of you who have been a student of Betty's or if you ever had Betty teach your children or grandchildren, please let the administration and the school board know how you feel about their decision to cut her after 30 years of dedicated service to the district! Do we really want to tell our children and grandchildren that hard work and dedication take a back seat to numbers, especially in education?!