Teacher resignations run rampant


News editor

At a special meeting April 23, Peabody-Burns USD 398 board of education accepted resignations from seven teachers. Board member Brian McDowell was absent.

The meeting began with three brief executive sessions to discuss personnel. All sessions included superintendent Rex Watson and building administrators Tim Robertson and Ken Parry.

The sessions totaled about 30 minutes, after which the resignations were accepted in open meeting.

Also in open session board members adopted a resolution to notify tenured teacher Jana Wedel of contract non-renewal as business-math instructor and sponsor of Business Professionals of America for the 2008-09 school year.

The reason given for Wedel's non-renewal was reduction in force due to declining enrollment and fiscal matters. The board vote was unanimous.

Following that vote the board entered another executive session for the purpose of discussing personnel. After several minutes the board reconvened in open meeting and then moved to continue the special meeting to take care of executive session matters relating to personnel.

Four additional executive sessions (each for the purpose of discussing personnel) were called before the board finally adjourned an hour and 40 minutes later following a return to open meeting, but conducting no business.

Resignations accepted by the board all were effective at the end of the 2007-08 school year.

Teachers who resigned are Krystal Hague, science teacher and sophomore class sponsor; Roseanna Brooks, art teacher; Steven Thorburn, vocational agriculture and science teacher, FFA sponsor, and assistant wrestling coach; Crysta Commerford, language arts/social studies teacher and scholars' bowl sponsor; Elizabeth Gottsch, Success Center instructor; Cindy Sattler, math strategies teacher and freshman class sponsor; and Ann Leppke, science teacher, junior class sponsor, junior high student council sponsor, and head junior high volleyball coach.

All resignations were accepted by a unanimous board vote except those of Brooks and Thorburn, both of which carried 5-1 with Tony Zappone opposed.

Veteran board member Duke Eldridge said that while he couldn't comment on the nature of the resignations, the superintendent and principals are actively recruiting replacements.

"I'm certain we will be able to hire good teachers," he said.

Eldridge reported the district will be giving up block scheduling and returning to a seven-period daily schedule next year.

"The class structure will be different," he said. "It has been a number of years since Peabody-Burns had a straight seven-period schedule.

"The administration has done a great job consolidating classes for next year," he added. "In the recent past the district has supported some classes with only three or four students.

"That was not a good use of tax money or our resources."

He noted that he has full confidence the administration will be able to fill the positions.

Board of education president Gary Jones agreed and said there would be no cuts to core curricula.

"We will need to hire some replacements," he said. "There are some good candidates available."

Superintendent Watson chose to make no comment regarding the resignations or the resolution for reduction in force.