Interim superintendent resigns citing board room problems - WNEM TV 5

Interim superintendent resigns citing board room problems

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SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

Drama at the Saginaw School Board Meeting Monday night caused two members to walk right out.

It comes just a day after the sudden retirement announcement of the district's superintendent, and just months after the former school board president, Glenda Richardson-Vaughn resigned calling the board dysfunctional.

It appears Monday was not a step in the right direction. Shortly after the meeting began, board members voted to allow board member Alexis Thomas, who's recovering from an illness at home, to participate in this meeting and vote over the phone. The outcome sparked outrage.

"I'm going home. You guys have your four and that's all you guys wanted, so I'm going to say this for the record, because God knows you guys do some crazy things," Barbara Kopka said.

Kopka, a board member, said that vote was the final straw. Her frustration was fueled by the fact that she received the meeting agenda shortly before the meeting.

"That's the reason it will appear that they wanted Ms. Thomas to vote today, so the four of them can pass what they wanted to pass," Kopka said.

Board member Mattie Thompson also left in frustration following that vote, but only for a few moments.

"Tonight, it just came in front of us, then you got to vote on it, it doesn't make sense," Thompson said.

All of the drama unfolded a day after Saginaw School District Interim Superintendent Kelley Peatross announced she's retiring, partly due to what she calls the board's antics. But some people believe the problem starts with her.

"Instead of just taking responsibility on herself, and not passing blame to someone else, I thought that was very immature, I thought that was high school stuff," resident Kim Hamilton said.

Others don't care to point fingers, but want to see progress.

"You need to come together, you need to make the right choices, because you're going to lose kids," one resident said.

Something not lost on at least one board member.

"If we are not competent, we better get competent, because that's what the citizens of this community elected us to do, is to be competent," board member Herbert Herd said.

At Monday's meeting, the board voted to name Ruth Ann Knapp as the board's president. This move is also under scrutiny because board member Rudy Patterson has publicly said it should be his position following a vote from earlier this year.

It's a complex problem many say they'd like to see resolved sooner than later.

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