Dunlap Special School Board Meeting Goes Quickly Downhill

(WEEK) –The calls for answers are only getting louder in Dunlap as the school district and their popular superintendent part ways.

Both sides have called it a mutual decision, but have been advised by lawyers not to talk about why.

During a special school board meeting Tuesday night, the Dunlap community did not hold back about their frustrations on the decision.

Many said they were kept in the dark and the meeting which was meant to discuss preliminary measures on how to select an interim and permanent superintendent, quickly turned ugly.

The school board decided to use the Illinois Association of School Boards to help select candidates both within the Dunlap District and from outside, but that happened after members of the school board called into question the integrity and transparency of their board president Karen Disharoon.

Disharoon changed the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting Monday night and posted it to Facebook without alerting the rest of the board.

When asked why she made the decision, Disharoon said it was an attempt to quickly get the information out.

Disharoon also said she thought the school board secretary Renata Tavares, was going to send the communication out, an explanation that drew angry remarks from the audience and caused Tavares to walk out of the meeting.

Many parents and educators left the meeting and quickly ran after her to see if she was okay.

From there the meeting drifted downhill.

Despite numerous comments of support and several testimonies to Dr. Lisa Parker’s work as Dunlap Superintendent, the general consensus from the crowd was that the school district has serious work to do- both to replace Parker and to repair their relationship with the families of the district.

John Allison, a teacher in the Dunlap School District said “I’m very concerned with the direction that we’re going. Very contentious meeting. Just felt that the board as a whole did not think their prior decision all the way through. In my opinion if you are looking to remove a superintendent you should probably have a plan in place, especially mid year.”

Board member Dawn Bozeman said the board should not be the one to solely make the decision on who succeed’s Parker; asserting, without hesitation, that several members of the school board have formed teams and often vote the same way on matters.

After complaints about not being a part of the initial decision to let Dr. Parker go,  the school board did pledge to include the Dunlap community in the hiring decision for the next superintendent.

Bozeman challenged the board to have a completely unbiased, external organization or group, decide who to hire. She also expressed anger that there’s virtually no time to properly interview or become acquainted with whomever becomes the interim superintendent.

This is what we do for transparency to our stakeholders to our parents to our community. We don’t change agendas at 10 o’ clock at night, the night before a meeting.”  said Bozeman, adding that she expects the board to have more time to properly vet the candidates for permanent Dunlap superintendent.

A meeting is scheduled for the near future, but a specific date has not been released.

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