Controversy has ensnared students, teachers, and the superintendent of the Franklin Central Supervisory Union. Wednesday night, the supervisory union's board settled the matter, at least temporarily.
Students, teachers, and parents filled the St. Albans City School library Wednesday, drawn by controversy brewing between teachers and District Superintendent Bob Rosane. Most who spoke before the supervisory union board asked them to terminate the superintendent's tenure.
"This is not a place where emails between teachers and board people should be aired in the paper," said parent Melissa Manson.
Not everyone is convinced that a change at the top will be a cure-all though. "If the only way to move forward is to crucify an administrator, I think that's the wrong thing to do," said parent John Casavant.
The divide splits the superintendent and much of his staff at the high school. It centers around education innovation and stagnant test scores. The debate has played out recently in local media.
60 freshmen are currently in a pilot, project-based education program. Teachers say they support the alternative learning plan but not the new pace recently pushed by Superintendent Rosane. "Mr. Rosane has inspired a lot of passion, I'll give you that much," quipped Bellow Free Academy High School science teacher Tim Fugere.
In emails made public by Superintendent Rosane, he claims the teacher's union obstructed needed reforms based on data. Union representatives say they're following the plan and timeline initially laid out by Rosane. They say moving faster will not provide better results.
Rosane recently lost confidence votes among both unionized and non-unionized staff over the spat. He did not attend Wednesday's meeting but - unbeknownst to everyone except board members - requested a leave of absence Monday.
Wednesday, the board accepted his request. "We take our responsibilities to consider this carefully and thoroughly and we will not engage in a rush to judgement," said FCSU Board Chairman Michael Malone.
Ultimately staff and teachers say the divide needs to be bridged, or those with school-choice may go elsewhere, and take education funding dollars with them.
BFAHS Director of Guidance Katherine Hutchinson said 35% of students have that option. She added that she's already seen less interest from future potential students since the the public dispute began. "This is very harmful, it needs to be settled fast, we need to move on," she said.
Special Ed. Dir. Julie Regimbal will take over as acting superintendent. Board members would not say if Rosane will be receiving pay during his leave of absence or how long that absence will last.
Multiple attempts to reach Rosane proved unsuccessful. Wednesday, his secretary directed questions to board chair Malone.
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