At their last board of education meeting USD 231 voted to continue remote learning for the 2020-21 school year.
Not all parents have been happy with that decision. Last November about 60 parents/students commented before the board. Those parents wishing to speak had to fill out a comment card, had comments limited, and were asked to wait in their cars before summoned to address the board.
Parent Derek Doerfler, Gardner, said via e-mail, “ I believe it is important to remember that the B.O.E. is facing unprecedented times and they have a difficult job. ALL parents in this district want is a CHOICE. Parents should have a choice to keep their kids in remote learning or go back full time.”
Doerfler said he has reached out to board members many different ways:
1. I have filed multiple open records requests.
2. Emailed members and the Superintendent.
3. Have had conversations with members through Facebook Messenger.
4. Have been contacted via text message by the B.O.E. Vice- President to notify me that he would be suing me.
5. I have not been able to speak at meetings because the business I manage do not close until 6 p.m.
“I have been dissatisfied with the responses because it seems that all of their answers are scripted and come from the district’s leadership,” Doerfler said.
“I do not think that there is a single logical adult that believes that children should not return to the traditional classroom,” Doerfler wrote. “I can’t imagine spending my senior year of high school at home and staring at a computer screen all day. Freshman in high school, new middle schoolers, and transfers into our community have lost the chance completely to make new friends. Students that excel in the classroom will not receive recognition from their peers and those students that excel on the field may not receive the scholarship that he or she has earned.”
Although schools were closed due to the pandemic last March, there is no mechanism in place to rebate parents for educational services not received. The GE district lost 280 students this year; however, tax money received by the district will not decrease — they will be paid for the 280 (absent) students. If those students are enrolled in a virtual school elsewhere, the virtual school will also receive state funding.
“I think that our current B.O.E. is more worried about the costs of litigation than they are about the future economics of the district,” Doerfler said. “Anyone can research the amount of money USD 231 has paid out in lawsuits. It’s not about the money but the future of the current students and giving them the best education possible. ”
“I have spoke with countless parents in the district and I am sad to say many of them have given up or moved to neighboring districts,” he continued. “It is clear from past meetings/surveys that no matter what the parents want, the BOE won’t listen.”
Doerfler said it is not important how the remote learning has effected he or his family. “It is not important how it has effected me. I am only fighting for the students that have been stripped of their education and the opportunity to be in the safest place possible during this pandemic. SCHOOL,” he said. “ We have fantastic teachers in this district and we are not giving them enough credit by not trusting that they will keep our children healthy and happy like they have always done. ”
Currently the per Board Policy BCBI, there is a 60 minute time limit for public presentation, said Deb Starling, USD 231 clerk of the board. If there are 12 or less speakers, each speaker will get five minutes. If there are 13-20 speakers, all speakers will get three minutes to speak.
This is a first-come, first-serve platform with no more than 20 public speakers at any board meeting, Starling continued.
Prior to commenting to the board, Starling said patrons should go to USD 231. com and Click on Board of Education (Top Right-Middle)
See Resources
Go to the bottom and click on Request to Address the Board
Fill out the form and submit.
Submission has to be before 12 p.m. on the day of the board of education meeting.or  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd5cHHNAM5pCvjIm2WNv0O0haz0aDmKYVV5F6mKaV273wwAMw/viewform