A group of West Rutland School parents has lost trust in their school board and are taking matters into their own hands.
"It's our children's future at stake. It's our children's safety at stake," said Mitch Frankenburg, a West Rutland tax payer.
Mitch Frankenburg and about 2 dozen other tax payers recently filed a lawsuit claiming the board violated open meeting clause on many occasions. The tax payers accuse the board of gathering with and writing email to teachers outside of formal meetings discussing the principal's performance before she was fired. The chair of the board David O'Rourke, Frankenburg says, even met with him.
"He spent two hours in my place of business foretelling exactly what would happen," said Frankenburg.
Frankenburg testified to the board about that meeting. The chairman has since recused himself from all board deliberations regarding the principal.
Monday night the board's attorney presented to the board his interpretation of the open meeting clause statute.
"You are not as board members allowed to gather outside of a board meeting to discuss among yourselves what matters are before you," said the school board attorney, Steve Stizel.
But, the parents felt the presentation was a mere formality.
"He's trying to put forth an agenda that he's using in the lawsuits in the defense of his case," said Frankenburg.
After his presentation, reporter Deanna LeBlanc asked the school's attorney for comment and he declined. He told her that she could call his office in the morning. After the meeting, she proceeded to ask the school board chairman for comment and he told her to speak with the superintendent, who also declined to speak on camera.
This lack of transparency has frustrated the parents. On top of the lawsuit, over 40 have signed a petition calling for immediate resignation of both the chair and vice chair of the west rutland school board. But the matters have not been taken up by the board at this time.
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