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The Daily



08-26-03: Parkway board accused of undermining Karst


ROCKFORD — On the eve of the first day of school, Parkway Education Association (PEA) President Anita Morton blasted the school board, charging them with undermining decisions of the school’s administration.
“I am extremely upset. You, as a board, need to wake up,” Morton, a high school science teacher, said at Monday evening’s Parkway school board meeting.
She was not speaking for the PEA, she said, but as a district resident. Morton then handed each board member a copy of the bylaws dealing with a board’s code of ethics.
“Your ethics are atrocious. You bring your personal agenda to the meeting and, as a group, undermine Mr. Karst (the superintendent) and school officials,” she loudly said to the board.
Morton’s bone of contention is the board’s usurping of Superintendent Doug Karst’s recommendation to hire the high school advanced math instructor, Greg Grime, as baseball coach. Instead, board members decided to hire Eric Stachler, health and physical education instructor at the middle school.
“Mr. Grime turned down another position this summer and was willing to make Parkway his home. Your decision to overrule Mr. Karst and vote in someone else is because of public opinion,” she charged.
Grime is beginning his fourth year as a teacher at Parkway schools, while Stachler is only in his second year, Morton said.
School board member Jeff Long interrupted Morton, telling her she was out of line, but Morton continued, asking for time to complete her address to the board.
“Other teachers also see you undermining the administration by your decisions. You make it extremely unpleasant for our staff,” she said.
Board member Betty DuBry, who has voted against administrative recommendations in past meetings, said she “does not rubber stamp” anyone’s decisions.
“I can’t believe you are this upset over a baseball coach when there are other things we should be concerned about, such as advanced placement classes, things like that,” DuBry said. “This is a coaching position we are talking about, not a teaching position. And I disagree with what you’ve said.”
Karst, who is starting his fifth year as Parkway superintendent, called his relationship with the board “workable.”
“It’s not always as smooth as I would like it, but it’s not distracting our teachers from doing their jobs either. We have a great bunch of teachers who do a good job,” Karst said.
At the conclusion of the meeting, board President Kim Brandt and member Dana Smith said they appreciated Morton’s stand.
“The more opinions we hear, the more effective we can be as a board. We need to try to listen and learn from them,” Smith said.
“We appreciate her (Morton’s) opinion and we need to take it all into consideration,” Brandt added.
In other business, the board accepted the resignation of Gregg Goewert as dean of students and discussed whether or not to fill the vacant position.
The position was created three years ago, Karst said, when the school was placed on academic watch by the Ohio Department of Education.
“I was a big advocate of the position at that time because so much of the principal’s time dealt with discipline. Since we’ve had the position, we’re not on academic watch anymore and our state ratings are better,” Karst said.
Last week, the department of education released its 2002-2003 school district report cards and Parkway was rated as “continuous improvement,” a step up from being on academic watch.
The services of a curriculum director or assistant principal were some of the options discussed to filling the dean of students position.
Karst agreed to contact area school districts about the services of a curriculum coordinator or assistant principal in lieu of a dean of students.
“I want to see what they are doing and how we could fit it into our system,” he said.
“Our best move, right now, would be not to replace the position and just go with the school handbook and whatever it says,” Long said. DuBry echoed the same sentiment.
In other action, the board:
• Approved a two-year supplemental contract to Rusty Allen as athletic director.
• Learned the repair work to the high school and middle school buildings is not yet completed. The district received $175,000 in Federal Emergency Repairs Program grant money to fund the project.


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