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Greenwich Community Blasts Actions of School Board

Greenwich parents, teachers and community leaders spoke out Thursday night against the behavior of the Board of Education that Superintendent Sidney Freund blamed for his resignation.

First Selectman Peter Tesei asked the question, repeatedly throughout the evening, “Where do we go from here?” Freund issued a statement last week blaming the conduct of certain board members for causing his resignation. Board Chairman Steve Anderson said he would put together a committee within a week to create a code of conduct for school board members.

“You will be on time, you will be at meetings, you will be prepared, you will articulate views in a constructive manner, you will not just complain that something needs to be fixed and never offer a solution, you will work to fix it…” he said. “This needs to be the set of common expectation for all board members. … We need to re-establish proper civility. Hopefully that has begun here tonight.”

Many speakers called for the resignation of board members, while others expressed hope that a change would occur in November’s elections. “If you can’t work with the rest of the board, step down and let someone else try,” said Parent Teacher Association President Sue Rogers, who was met with a standing ovation.

“We think the most significant single factor in our district is the quality of the superintendent, and no program can substitute for a person who identifies countless administrators and teachers, attracts them to our town and inspires them to do their best,” said Lisa Beth Savage, vice president of the PTA council’s executive board. “This board absolutely must undergo serious self-examiniation to determine if it is capable of creating an atmosphere where any superintendent can survive.”

Selectman Drew Marzullo, several parents and others echoed the sentiments of Greenwich Education Association President Cathy Delahanty, who said that having four superintendents over the past 11 years reflects poorly on the school system. “Each change in leadership brings a different plan of expectations and implementation, it brings different outlooks on what our focus should be, and makes it impossible to stay the course, because the course keeps changing,” said Delahanty. “It is a feeling of ‘here we go again.’”

Anderson said although Freund is contractually obligated to stay for 120 days, he has recommended that Freund stay for 90 days, through the middle of August. The still-to-be-named interim superintendent would then start off the 2011-12 school year in charge.

Do you think establishing a code of conduct for board members will adequately address the issue? Comment below or send your responses to ahelhoski@mainstreetconnect.us.

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