According to the article, Dr. Paul Howell confirmed via email that he first considered transitioning back to his former area when Berry announced her retirement in late 2011 and also said the following:
“At the time, the negotiations process with the certified staff was ongoing,”
“Negotiations took a tremendous amount of shared energy to see through with a very positive outcome occurring just before winter break began.”
Dennis Soustek also confirmed the rumors with this statement made to the Patch:
“My coming back and the goal the board has established is to help with the search for a new superintendent,” Soustek said Thursday evening. “And to, in the meantime, do the day-to-day care of the district. It’s a great district. I loved working there and I’m glad to help.”
Soustek said since he has officially retired he would not be able to work as superintendent past June 30.
Although what we had been hearing through the grapevine was phrased a bit different, I am glad that Howell and Soustek have shown at least a little transparency in their decision to speak to the press and alert the residents and taxpayers to the decisions being made.
What first comes to mind is that we are going to be paying two superintendent salaries from now until June 30th. We are already paying two Directors of Special Education. We are also facing a costly lawsuit over the demotion of Melanie Walsh. In a time when cutbacks are being made everywhere, there seems to be money to spare at District 135. Hopefully these decisions are worth the hundreds of thousands of dollars being spent to see them to fruition.
Certified OCE (Orland Council of Educators) have held ratification meetings yesterday and this morning at Century Junior High to vote in favor or against the current proposed contract. The changes in administration and contract ratification will all take place at the January 9th BOE meeting being held at Liberty School.
The agenda has been posted on the district site and it seems that after an initial presentation by students, the board will go into “closed session” to discuss “collective negotiating matters, and the appointment, employment, compensation, discipline, performance, or dismissal of specific employees or legal counsel.” I can only assume that this is when the transitioning of superintendents and ratification of the contract will take place, which leads to my next gripe, why are all of these things done in closed session? What is the big secret? I guess we can rest assured that once it is ratified, by law, it becomes public. It just seems that the taxpayers should be privy to information that they are ultimately billed for.
Concerned parents and citizens should be at the meeting with any questions and concerns. I think the lack of community involvement is a contributing factor to the free-for-all attitude we are seeing.
See you there!