Madison Parents Demand Answers During School Board Meeting

  • 6/26/2018 10:32:45 PM
  • Jesse Smith
  • Local News

MANSFIELD, OH - Angry parents and concerned citizens filled the auditorium of Madison Middle School during the Board of Education meeting on Tuesday night, hoping the board would answer at least some of their lingering questions.

Several of those questions, pertaining to topics such as STEM courses and property appraisals, had been a heated point of discussion in previous board meetings and were included in an email that had spread like wildfire among parents and students. The email compiled a lot of questions and concerns parents had asked about at other Board of Education meetings, and also included some information that Board members say isn't true.

"There's some inaccurate information out there," said Superintendent Shelley Hilderbrand, directly responding to the email that eventually gathered a room full of angry people. "We need to clear that up."

For over an hour, Hilderbrand showed a presentation full of data, video material, and point-by-point breakdowns of various excerpts from the now widely-circulated email. After Hilderbrand's presentation and several regular Board of Education matters, the floor was opened to public comments.

Board President Jeff Meyers stressed that during the public comments portion of Board of Education meetings, the board would only hear comments made by speakers, and would not respond to questions or criticisms presented. Several parents and concerned Madison residents took the opportunity to speak, criticizing the board for their alleged unwillingness to meet with parents who had questions, and for not answering questions directly.

"I know you're not answering questions," one parent began. "Where do we get answers? If we can't come to you as a board and request information in an open communication, then where do we get those answers? I know the Superintendent has an 'open door policy,' but I know somebody personally who requested a meeting last week and was denied."

Another angry parent took the floor to ask a question about her son's school records, but was denied an answer and referred back to the Board's policy on question-and-answer comments.

"Thank you for showing people exactly how you treat us," she said. "Maybe if you acted different, there wouldn't be half the problems we have in our community now."

After several more impassioned speeches and outbursts, School Board President Jeff Meyers addressed the crowd again, showing that the Board was open to having a fact-finding meeting in which parents could get their questions answered.

"This is not the way to do it," Meyers said, referring to the numerous audience members that had attempted to get school board members to answer their questions during the Board of Education meeting. "We are going to have to have some type of town-hall type meetings. They're going to have to be on maybe one or two subjects at a time. There will be question-and-answer."

While the meeting has yet to be scheduled, community members are looking forward to finally getting closure on the questions they have been anxiously waiting to be answered.

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