Parents and school board meet to talk issues
Superintendent of Schools Sherri Turner, seated next to Board of Education Chairman Frank Simone, speaks during Wednesday's meeting between the board and parents. BZ photo
More than 60 parents and members of the community met with the Board of Education on Wednesday to discuss concerns parents have raised about issues in the school system.
The meeting in the Center School gym was held by the board to give parents a chance to air their concerns and then hear the board respond to them. Both parties agreed the meeting was a positive development and perhaps the beginning of a more collaborative relationship.
Things kicked off with Superintendent of Schools Sherri Turner and Director of Business Operations David Fiorillo addressing concerns parents raised in a March 1 letter to the board. The letter expressed concern about a new five-year contract between the board and All-Star Transportation, school climate, transparency and communication, conflict of interest and teacher turnover.
Fiorillo defended the bus contract, saying policy was followed in reaching the agreement. Turner said an online survey will be conducted by the board to gain insight on school climate. The results, she said, will help administrators develop a school improvement plan over the summer.
As for transparency and communication, Turner said the public is always welcome to contact her office with questions. Minutes from board meetings, she said, always meet Freedom of Information law guidelines.
The tone of the meeting was mostly positive, there were some critical comments aimed at the board, including some from parent Stacy Carosella Morgan, one of the leaders of the parents group.
According to Carosella Morgan, the board is disrespectful towards the public regarding facts, parents and teachers are afraid to speak out about problems, and the school administration is dysfunctional.
“Teachers in other districts say they’d never apply for a job here because of the Board of Education and the administration,” Carosella Morgan said.
Carosella Morgan said new candidates for the board are poised to seek endorsement from the Democratic Town Committee and the Republican Town Committee to run in next November’s election.
“This is a movement for our schools and students and the community that is not going to go away,” she said.