Written by: Jeremy Baumhower
As I have been sharing the behind-the-scenes drama with the Washington Local School district, I wanted to share a very key and pivotal moment; The Ron Clark Academy.
According to it’s website, “The Ron Clark Academy (RCA) is a highly-acclaimed, nonprofit middle school located in Southeast Atlanta. The Academy has received both national and international recognition for its success in educating students with academic rigor, passion, and creativity balanced by a strict code of discipline…. RCA is a demonstration school – a place where visiting educators engage in a vibrant professional development experience by observing best practices in action before participating in hands-on workshops. In the past seven years, more than 22,000 superintendents, district level administrators, and teachers from 42 states and 22 countries have participated in the RCA Experience to learn better ways to engage students, promote academic rigor, and create a climate and culture that promotes success.”
WLS Superintendent, Patrick Hickey, is a believer in the RCA.
Former Local 279 O.A.P.S.E. (Ohio Association of Public School Employees) President, and current WLS BOE Candidate, Cindy Perry, is dead-set against it.
The RCA/WLS drama played out in front of a packed-board meeting this past April. It’s the first-time “the coup”, that was set in place during the 2013 elections, showed their face and it’s agenda.
I am going to share with you the video of the April 22,2015 Washington Local School Board Meeting.
Due to it’s 2.5 hours, I have taken the liberty to highlight (with a time-key guide), of crucial and significant moments.
-0:00:15– “Mr. Kiser is ill-today” : Overwhelmed from the amount of the stress happening behind-the-scenes, Eric Kiser missed the meeting.
-0:12:17– Community Comments– various teachers and students speak about the importance of RCA
-0:37:00– ***Cindy Perry “ask that you (the board) to vote no” on RCA. Cindy also “ask that you (the board) vote no on Administration Retirement increase”, cites the recent OAPSE deal, that she negotiated, where Teacher’s Aides’ hours were reduced by one. Cindy also asks that the board vote against technology and reinvest in textbooks.
-0:39:50– Patrick Hickey corrects Cindy Perry
-0:44:00– Neil (sp?): Another teacher praises the RCA
-0:45:50– ***Current OAPSE President, Karen Gilliam, speaks about voting against RCA funding: “I don’t believe as a taxpayer, when we’re in deficit spending, and in 5 years we may be where Springfield Schools are now, we should be spending this kind of money… I know it is educational development”. Gilliam continues stating public “is very upset”. “As a custodian in the building (McGregor), I see a lot”.
-0:55:00– Current Jefferson Junior High School Principal, speaking on the RCA: “Dime-for-dime, it’s best we get for Professional Development”. “I took 5 angry people who didn’t want to go, and I know it changed them”
-0:58:40– Cindy Perry’s daughter, Michelle Sharp speaks.
-1:42:00– Patrick Hickey speaks about the effectiveness of RCA, clarifies community comments, and how the money is going to be spent either way.
-1:48:00– ***David Hunter : The problem is not RCA, but a disconnect between the Administration and the work force. Communication is a problem. “Mrs. Perry came up here earlier and talked about Aides losing money.. what came before the Board was a signed contract negotiated between OPASE and Admin
-1:50:00– (While David Hunter speaks on signed OAPSE deal)– Cindy Perry, Karen Gilliam walk out of board meeting. Hunter continues “When they send a contract to the board and says ‘our people voted on it and said yes’, how can we (the Board) vote against that, when they’re people told us to vote for it?”
-1:55:19– ***Board Member Patti Carmean speaks:
The vote was tabled until the following week, when Eric Kiser would be back. In addition to the RCA vote, Administration Retirement Increase were to be discussed.
Just like the meeting from the week prior. I have taken the liberty of highlighting certain times to watch:
-0:08:48– **Former Board Member, Steve Zuber, discusses “the circus” that happened the week. “Why and how does one bargaining unit, have anything to say about the Professional development, of another unit?”.
-0:23:18– **Laurie Berry, OAPSE member: “OAPSE leadership does not reflect many of the OAPSE members. We were appalled, when OAPSE leadership walked out. We waached the video, we saw no legitimate reason why leadership should walk out”. Mrs. Berry then shared with each board member an internal email that was sent from OAPSE leadership.
-0:48:49– Patrick Hickey recommends sending a bus full of teachers and aides to RCA
-0:49:00– ***Board member Eric Kiser, discusses why he was absent the week prior. Eric Kiser betrays Cindy Perry, and votes for the RCA.
After the meeting, Mr. Kiser is informed that he has lost OAPSE support.
Note: OAPSE has endorsed Tom Johnson, who’s running against Eric Kiser in this year’s current election. This is why.
Tonight, Monday October 12, at 7PM, there is a WLS candidate forum happening at Whitmer’s Nightingale Theater. It will be hosted by WTOL’s Jerry Anderson.
Come see for yourself and meet the candidates. Ask Cindy Perry why she turned her back on WLS, and her own union?