SCHOOL BOARD: Parents Want Changes

Sexually charged emails released last year are now the focus of a new lawsuit filed by former Des Moines school board superintendent, Nancy Sebring.

The controversy has taken a heavy toll on the Des Moines school district.

The suit filed against the school district, two employees and a school board member Thursday has raised new questions about whether the school board is capable of leading the largest school district in the state.

“I have to admit that I’m somewhat baffled by this school board,” former Des Moines school board member, Graham Gillette says. He sees a pattern in how the Des Moines public school board behaves.

gillette“The board seems to be adrift when it comes to how it communicates internally amongst school board members but also how it communicates with the public,” Gillette adds.

The latest Sebring scandal is just one piece of the puzzle. Gillette says the real problem lies in how the board handles its affairs.

“That fact that this issue doesn`t go away point to many different problems within the school board, the way the school board manages itself and I think that`s what the bigger issue is here.”

Gillette says those currently on the board aren’t meeting standards, “I’m not sure we attract the right people to serve on the school boards in this current environment.”

heather ryan“When are we going to say enough is enough?”  Heather Ryan has three children in Des Moines Public Schools.  She’s not impressed with what she feels is an immature board.

“The school board is acting like my teenager and that is not acceptable for someone who is charged with 30,000 kids’ interests.”

Ryan is launching a campaign on Facebook called Bounce the Board.  The goal is to weed out current members and start fresh.

The campaign is still in its early stages, but come elections time, Ryan hopes voters choose a board better suited to lead.

Channel 13 reached out to school board members Teree Caldwell-Johnson and Dick Murphy. Both declined interviews.

After the story originally aired, Dick Murphy gave Channel 13 this statement:

“To comment on the lawsuit filed by Dr. Sebring, this could put the school district at risk for further legal action. Therefore I will have no public comment on this matter because I want the legal process to take its course.”

School board elections are in the fall.

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