Community leaders want Saginaw School board to focus on students - WNEM TV 5

Community leaders want Saginaw School board to focus on students

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Fred Harvey is the director of operations at First Ward Community Center in Saginaw and he says his job is all about helping kids and the community.

"We want good service,” Harvey said. “We want our kids to get a good education, a better education."

He thinks that should also be the goal for members of the Saginaw School Board. But that isn't what he's seeing.

"Last night what I was on the news was really embarrassing," Harvey said.

Two members walked out of last night's school board meeting because they were upset, that a member who was absent was allowed to vote over the phone.

That vote, helped elect Ruth-Ann Knapp school board president.

“It is perfectly legal to do that,” Knapp said. “I have seen it done at the state Board of Education level. Two different times at two different meetings."

Interim Superintendent Kelley Peatross unexpectedly announced she's retiring next month, half-way through her contract.

She blamed what she called unnecessary "antics" for stalling the progress of the district.

Board member Mattie Thompson says there is plenty of blame to go around.

"It's all the way down,” Thompson said. “You have to talk about yourself first."

Harvey thinks many of board members' differences could be eliminated if everyone put the same thing first: the students.

"If it's for the kids, you want the betterment of the kids. It's simple stuff," Harvey said.

Despite their disagreements, members of the Saginaw School Board must now come together to find a new superintendent for the district. Knapp says the plan is to have someone in place before school starts in the fall.

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