A group of former Baraboo educators invited the school board during Monday’s board meeting to meet with them next month to discuss behavior and discipline issues in the district.
Elgin Bulin, who taught technical education in the Baraboo School District from 1966-98, spoke on behalf of the group of about 30 at the meeting. He said the conversation with the board would include a focus on the “lack of respect for teachers and teaching assistants.”
“Our hope is that, as a team of caring people with a common goal, we can improve our present situation,” Bulin said.
He noted that those issues are just the start.
“We recognize there are some other concerns that need attention in our district — as they do in most every district in the state and nationwide, I’m quite sure — but as a team, let’s focus on solutions one at a time,” Bulin said.
The educators group plans to hold the meeting at 6 p.m., Jan. 6, at Oak Park Place in Baraboo.
Board Vice President Doug Mering said he would confer with District Administrator Lori Mueller and the district’s legal counsel to figure out how board members can meet with the group without violating open meetings law, such as if they would need to give public notice.
“We may be going to the meeting and just using our ears — that might be that type of thing — which is fine, too. We want to hear your concerns,” Mering said.
Former teachers weren’t the only ones voicing their opinions during the public comment segment of Monday’s meeting. Scott Frostman, a News Republic columnist who served on the school board from 2009-11, spoke about the reasons district officials have cited to explain staff turnover.
Calling those reasons “myths,” he said the district’s problems weren’t caused by 2011’s Act 10, because the union-busting legislation impacts all Wisconsin districts. Instead, he blamed the Common Core State Standards, adopted in Wisconsin in 2010, and “further federal intrusion into schools.”
Frostman also addressed board President Kevin Vodak’s reaction last month to a statement from former educators, in which Vodak pointed to community support for a facilities referendum.
“Support of a facilities update should not be construed as unequivocal endorsement of the state of the district,” Frostman said.
He said board members have become complacent due to a lack of challengers.
“Feedback from staff and the community should be welcomed and not considered an affront,” he said. “If no one else runs, the board remains unchanged with no obligation or reason to do anything about concerns.”
Follow Susan Endres on Twitter @EndresSusan or call her at 745-3506.
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