Wautoma School Board hears public concerns

Two members of the public addressed the Wautoma Area School Board during their regular meeting on Monday, April 9, at Wautoma High School. Wisconsin Education Association Council Region 5 Director John Horn spoke to the board regarding a recent teacher transfer while Sarah Arndt expressed her opinions on parent/teacher conferences for the second time.  

In the three minutes he had to speak to the board, Horn explained he was at the meeting on behalf of the Wautoma Unified Education Association. During his comments, Horn said it had come to the attention of WEAC that a teacher at the district was “involuntarily administratively transferred for the next school year.” 

“The concern of the association is both in terms of the substance of the transfer but also in terms of the process,” Horn stated. “Your current handbook indicates that when someone is administratively transferred, they are to have a conference and then be given the reasons for the transfer in writing. This particular teacher was given notice that she was being transferred but there were no reasons given.”

Horn explained that in previous board agendas the transfer would “at least be part of the informational part of the consent agenda so that you would be aware that the teacher is being transferred.” 

Horn also stated that last year the same teacher had an assignment transfer in which that process involved reasons for the transfer and was placed on the agenda under informational items. 

“There seemed to be come concern amongst the community and the parents about that change in assignment for that teacher and what happened was that initial transfer was, in fact, reconsidered and she maintained her position she had in 2016-17 again this year in 2017-18,” Horn stated. “A part of that she was told by administration to make sure to follow the change of command in expressing issues around a transfer.”

Horn concluded his statements to the board expressing his final concern regarding the teacher’s transfer. 

“This teacher has been in full compliance and, in fact, is questioning why the transfer took place,” he said. “But, tonight, the association wanted to make the board aware of the procedural deficiencies and see if you might have questions for administration about why this transfer is taking place.”

Following Horn’s state-ments to the board, Arndt, a parent of a student at the Wautoma Area School District, expressed her opinion to the board about parent/teacher conferences. 

Arndt explained she at-tended and spoke to the board at the March meeting, and, at the end of the meeting, it was stated that the administrators wanted to review additional facts and data regarding parent/teacher conferences. 

After receiving a copy of the data before the meeting began, Arndt felt that her point was missed. “My concern isn’t about the benefits of parent attending teacher conferences, it is the fact that the rule is you either attend or your child receives an unexcused absence,” she said.

Arndt concluded her statements adding she felt that it was the parent’s choice to attend the parent/teacher conference. “I disagree with the consequence of an un-excused absence,” she said. “It is punishing the child for the parent’s behavior.”

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