Board Meeting Recap Feb 28
In case you missed it, here's a recap of last night's board meeting:
The meeting began with a moment of silence for a custodian from FMS, Mr. Bell, who passed away unexpectedly; and the evening ended with Director Shaw resigning from her position on the board, effective today, February 28. Details below.
Public Comment on Agenda Items
Minute 16:51 WCU professor's comment: Embrace Diversity. Stated that future employers demand diversity. Does not want the diversity director's position to be moved to a contract position, wants it to be a cabinet level position. Stated that the problem with bigotry is getting worse and not enough is being done to address this. Stop dismantling DEI.
Minute 19:38 West Chester NAACP Education Chair comment: Concerns about DEI. NAACP is supportive of the WCASD equity mission. NAACP supports and participates in equity work with WCASD. They were excited in 2020 when DEI director position was made a cabinet level position. Participated in Community Conversations. Distressed when previous Equity Director resigned. Concerned that the position will not continue to be at the cabinet level.
Minute 22:48 Resident has questions about DEI position. Wants to see a job description for the interim DEI position: how many hours per day, days per week, what was the reasoning for the rate increase. Where is this position headed? Why is this position being treated differently than other director level positions?
Minute 24:41 Resident's comment is on Policy 200 regarding special education, both ends of the spectrum: special ed as well as gifted. Asks the district to consider appropriate challenges for gifted students.
Minute 27:49 Resident asks for clarification on DEI agreement contract extension. Is there still a plan for the DEI position to be made a cabinet level position? Wants to know the Whys of the decision making and when a search will begin for a cabinet level DEI position.
1 hour 20 minutes, 58 seconds Equity update from Director Durnell, including notes on current DEI goals. Some phrases pulled from this section of the meeting include:
celebrations of Black History Month across the district;
1 hour 24 minutes, 50 seconds Top priorities for the interim DEI Director:
work with HR to hire staff that are representative of our student body
update equity portion of website
community gathering on partnerships to mentor students
implement root cause analysis
restorative approach to discipline
coordinate and approve equity goals within each building
1 hour 27 minutes, 30 seconds Some info on the current DEI position:
Dr. Martin is working 40-60 hours/week;
Black History Month is taking place all year long;
DEI is very important to the board, regardless of whether the DEI director is a cabinet position or a contract position.
1 hour 33 minutes, 45 seconds A vote on the increase (from $500/day to $700/day) in payment to the interim Equity Director. One board member votes No because she believes the job should be a cabinet level position and not a contracted position.
Public Comment on Non-Agenda Items
1 hour 36 minutes, 13 seconds Resident references the October school board meeting where RTK results on FHE training, same board meeting where Dr. Sokolowski acknowledged helping a Henderson student with gender transition. Resident offered to bring a de-transitioner to speak but was told no by the Equity Director. Is questioning why he was told no? De-transitioner will be speaking at a non-district sponsored event in March.
1 hour 39 minutes, 21 seconds Resident thanks Dr. Sokolowski and wishes him well. Stated that WCASD is a stable school district that has spent money to improve and excel. Asks board to concentrate search for a Superintendent on candidates who will raise academic standards.
1 hour 41 minutes, 20 seconds Letter of resignation from Director Shaw effective February 28, 2023. Director Shaw has served the board for 8 years. Director Shaw makes a statement, followed by board members who wish her well. (There was no discussion of a replacement for Director Shaw. However, the Public School Code of 1949 states:
" . . . the remaining members of the board of school directors shall, by a majority vote thereof, fill such vacancy from the qualified electors of the district within thirty (30) days thereafter."
It is unclear exactly how the board will go about filling this vacancy. However, it is clear that they must do so within 30 days.
*WCASD pays the Howard Group tens of thousands of dollars annually for workshops/trainings.