There was another large crowd at the Westmoreland County School Board meeting on Monday, May 19 which was held in the Montross Middle School cafeteria. A revised board meeting agenda was made available to those attending, of which one item quickly sparked curiosity amongst the crowd. During the closed session portion, item A read: to discuss the resignation of the following positions. Under this, number three was the resignation of one principal effective June 30, 2014. The matter was not addressed during open session, as Superintendent Rebecca Lowry and a few board members said they would be going back into closed session to discuss the matter.
However, one of the public comment speakers appeared privy to the knowledge of the resignation and of which principal, as he asked the board to not accept her resignation because “we think she has done a great job.” The speaker, Avery Baylor, stated that comment after having being told several times that his allotted three minutes was up. Previous to this statemen,t he asked the board several questions such as: How is the superintendent held accountable for what is happening in our schools? Who exactly is in charge and running our school system? What is being done to help the at risk students? How can the division function collectively when the school board appears disjointed? He commented that the board lacked unity, that the school system was appealing to a selective audience, that a lack of personalization from the board was a problem and that there were too many examples of problems that the board and the Superintendent had before other administration arrived.
Parent Mr. Sisson spoke, pointing out that there was no board member or administration for the high school’s awards banquet to see what the students had achieved. He also asked if the school system had a plan for bomb scares and if so was separating the male and female students part of the plan, because according to students, that is what was done at the high school during the bomb scare last Friday.
Citizen Mr. Bibbens addressed the recent “poor” comments about a principal and Westmoreland County Schools. He said the county schools were not the worst as others have suggested and that other counties he has worked in, like Lancaster and Northumberland, would be “honored to have no more problems than Westmoreland.” He also noted how one girl had said she used to want to be a teacher, but now she wasn’t sure and said he wouldn’t be sure of this because of the way an employee’s social life, which he noted had nothing to do with school and she was not yet charged for, became the focus for the division. He commented on how proud he was to have someone who was raised here and continues to work here, how her private life should not be other’s problems and that we shouldn’t judge people before they are tried. When he was given a ‘times up’ for his three minutes, he noted that if the board had started the meeting on time, one more minute wouldn’t have mattered too much.