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President Defends Board, Calls Protesters 'Unruly' and 'Obnoxious'

Greenfield School Board president Bruce Bailey speaks out on Monday night's protests.

Greenfield School Board president Bruce Bailey understands that people in Wisconsin, especially teachers and their supporters, are mad these days.

He just thinks they are mad at the wrong people.

Bailey had the unenviable task of leading Monday night’s meeting that was met with who voiced their opinions before, during and after the session.

“I was surprised with the amount of anger directed at us,” said Bailey, who added he had no inclination that large of a crowd would show up. “If they’re mad at Governor Walker and the (budget-repair) bill, that’s fine, but to direct that anger at the local school board is misplaced.”

According to Bailey, one school board member told him their car was damaged during or after the meeting.

“That’s totally unacceptable. That’s terrible,” Bailey said.

Displays of anger and displeasure were prominent. Protesters came to the meeting upset that the school board was expected to approve the employee handbook at Monday’s meeting. They became even more furious when many of them were , which had reached its capacity, according to Bailey.

“The crowd was mad that we didn’t move it to the PAC, but it’s posted for that meeting room where are cameras are set up to televise it locally,” Bailey said. “We figured it was more important to have people fill up the room and then have it televised for the citizens of Greenfield, not to have WEAC dictate where we were going to hold our meeting.”

Many members of the Wisconsin Education Association Council were among those in attendance, as were teachers and supporters from other districts outside of Greenfield.

“A lot of the teachers that were there were WEAC people from out of the district that created most of the problems,” Bailey said. “They were unruly and obnoxious. I tried to gavel them and tell them it was a place of business. They were chanting, ‘.’ We almost closed the meeting down but we didn’t want them to prevail with their tactics.

“Some people weren’t behaving in an adult fashion. They were behaving like children.”

, Doug Perry, a Greenfield elementary school teacher and the Greenfield teachers’ union president, said he and his colleagues were frustrated that they had not seen a copy of the handbook or had any input in regards to its contents in advance of the start of school, which for teachers was Tuesday.

Bailey said the district administration did the best it could given the time frame it faced.

“The administration did a good job of putting the new handbook together in a short time,” he said. “Some things were changing because of things that happened in Madison, so they had to wait to put it together.”

The district’s annual meeting is slated for Monday, Sept. 12. Bailey said he hopes Monday’s demonstrations are not replicated.

“Everybody that comes to our meeting has a chance to talk, and we ask that they show respect and not behave in an unruly fashion,” he said. “We just expect the courtesy to let us conduct our business.”

KHD August 23, 2011 at 09:08 PM
Do you Teachers think my Boss comes up to me and asks for my input on our handbook? No way. The gravy train has ended. Now behave like adults. You are looking really foolish.
kam August 23, 2011 at 10:49 PM
If people haven't yet figured out why protesters are upset they must rely too heavily upon FOX News for information. There is a very good sign in a window near Maple Grove School which says something like; teachers' working conditions are students' working conditions. If you have ever been in a classroom that would make sense to you. One concern noted in an earlier article was that the day after conferences will now be a school day. The work involved in preparing for conferences is huge. The focus of the preparation for conferences is past performance. At times new information comes forward at a child's conference which encourages a teacher to modify the way information is given to a specific child, or alters the behavior management techniques used. Because the teachers all work well into the evening for conferences they typically plan forward on the following day. This is the benefit of having no school the day after conferences. Not all administrators understand this nor do all board members. Communication is very important, as important at the district level as it is in the classroom. That said, there is no excuse for vandalism. I have to wonder if it truly happened Monday night or, like with the representative in Madison who made a similar claim, it is found to have happened at another time and place.
The Big Cat August 24, 2011 at 03:47 AM
These are typical union thug tactics. The teachers are employees and they have to follow the rules like anyone else does in the private sector. Employees don't make up the rules. The distrcit makes the rules. Unfortunately, these pampered teachers have never worked outside of a classroom and can't get that through their head. They behave like spoiled brats. Most everyone has to take some facet of their job home with them. These teachers think they are the only ones. Shows their immaturity.
rick dezes August 24, 2011 at 11:32 AM
Yeah, the private sector. That's a good indication of how work conditions should be. Just because you opt to work under dictatorial conditions and not have a say in your employment environment doesn't mean we all have to. Very few take their jobs home. And very few have jobs that affect the future of a person's life. Your attitude towards teachers shows you have drunk Mr. Walkers red Kool Aid. Very sad. The immaturity rests with you.
brandon August 24, 2011 at 02:00 PM
Dear Teachers - Welcome to the real world. Greenfield Taxpayer
rick dezes August 24, 2011 at 02:24 PM
Thanks, Brandon, I'm paying for my own salary through my taxes. Ever stop to consider that?
Ben Hogan August 24, 2011 at 02:30 PM
Rick: Did you ever stop to consider that you arent paying for our benefits through your taxes?
Ben Hogan August 24, 2011 at 02:31 PM
I think all anyone is saying is you need to get real with your level of benefits. A zero dollar deductible just isn't feasible any longer! We can't afford to continue that level as a community.
Ben Hogan August 24, 2011 at 02:35 PM
Rick: The amount you pay in your taxes towards your own salary has to be about .000001 percent of your total compensation from taxes!
robert heule August 24, 2011 at 02:35 PM
Yes, the crowd did get disrespectful. But the option was there to move the meeting to the PAC. There have been instances in the past when meetings were moved to satisfy the demand for a comfortable environment for both sides of an issue. The TV excuse is absurd. It is true, As Mr. Bailey stated Scott Walker is the cause of the crisis. Act 10 is the product of idealogical purity which describes Walker's political stripes. It is time for the Greenfield School Board to take the initiative on its own and pick Act 10 apart, do what is required by the law and choose what and not to do with the remainder. As far as damage to a vehicle is concerned, check the police report which in most cases is a public record. Greenfield has had reports in the past of serious damage such as glass breaking at homes and businesses and cut brake brake lines on vehicles These allegations were directly connected to controversial politics. As far as I know, no one was ever arrested for these crimes.
Ben Hogan August 24, 2011 at 02:38 PM
Rick: Why not double your tax bill and send it in, that way you can double your salary. Right ????
rick dezes August 24, 2011 at 02:40 PM
Ben, And I will agree with you. It's the level of teacher bashing I am reacting to. Enough is enough!
Ben Hogan August 24, 2011 at 02:40 PM
Robert: Your belief is that the board should have moved the meeting to satisfy non Greenfield residents vs Greenfield residents ability to watch the meeting? They should have satisfied WEAC vs their own constituents?
rick dezes August 24, 2011 at 02:41 PM
A little more than that.
rick dezes August 24, 2011 at 02:45 PM
Your bennies are a part of your salary, just like mine are. I don't know what you do, but I can make a point that a product I buy, and keep on buying pays for your benefits....and in some cases, bonuses. Whatever they are.
rick dezes August 24, 2011 at 02:46 PM
Great idea! I wish I'd have thought of that.
Ben Hogan August 24, 2011 at 03:18 PM
Rick: Point is you can choose what and how much you want to buy. When it comes to taxes we elect people to do what they think is in our best interest as far as money goes. We dont elect the union to make those decisions!!!
rick dezes August 24, 2011 at 03:45 PM
And therein lies the problem. Politics plays the roll in deciding the best interest. If you think politicians have our best interests at heart you are sadly mistaken my friend. Yes, the union has its faults, but without it, there are no checks and balances. Witness, no child left behind. There are very few politicians who know what's best for students. The trail of legislation that has plagued education is long and sorrowful. Mr. Bailey said they did the best they could with the teacher handbook? Come on, they had the whole summer. How difficult could it have been to get teacher input! Here's a board that is bringing its new unchecked power into play. THIS is what happens with no unions. Taxes have to do with teacher pay, not policy or working conditions.
robert heule August 24, 2011 at 03:51 PM
Ben, The people attending meetings do not have an ID stamped on their foreheads indicating their residency. There is no legal requirement to telecast the proceedings. Do you have to be a Greenfield resident to watch. Overcrowding is an emergency by an act of nature and telecasting is terminated. Ask anyone who subscribes Dish Network or Direct TV.
Ben Hogan August 24, 2011 at 03:51 PM
Rick: The board does have its power checked by the people that elect them. When they become unhappy with the school districts direction they can get rid of them. By the way there are over a hundred employees of the distict that have never had a union to represent them and they have always been treated fairly! They are called classified employees. they recieve many of the same benefits that the teachers enjoy
rick dezes August 24, 2011 at 04:14 PM
Ben, first, those hundred employees piggy-backed off of the union contract so, yes, they would be happy. They don't pay union dues and get all the bennies. Second, what constitutes a school board doing a poor job...student achievement. So, a plausible scenario has a school board making decisions which don't promote student achievement to the degree they would have had they gotten teacher input. The electorate has to wait until their term of office is up before they can be voted out. Meanwhile their decision has been a detriment to students for several years. That's the only reason people would vote out a school board member, by then it'd be too late. The public doesn't give a damn about teachers' working conditions.
Ben Hogan August 24, 2011 at 04:57 PM
Rick: You are completely missing my point about non-union members receiving the same bennies. While agree that the level or lavishness of the bennies has tended to coincide with the union workers bennies, the fact that the school board even gave them the bennies speaks to the fact that you don't need the union to receive them. Why hasn't the school board simply eliminated their level of bennies like you claim they will be doing in the future? Ill answer that for you. It is because the board still recognizes the idea of attracting good employees to work for the district. This does not change whether your in a union or not. The trick is (as with any company) finding the correct level of compensation for the work that you are asking to be done. The community at large should be able to determine what level of compensation that they are willing to pay for your services and if you do not want to work for that level of compensation you can find another district that is.
Ben Hogan August 24, 2011 at 05:13 PM
Rick: you stated " Second, what constitutes a school board doing a poor job...student achievement. " I would suggest to you that student achievement is accomplished on many levels, first and foremost it starts in the home ie. parents, second it is accomplished in the classroom with proper administrative support, finally it ends at the board level where they can make sound decisions as how best to allocate their resources. If student achievement was a direct result of the board we would not have anyone left on the board right now
rick dezes August 25, 2011 at 01:28 AM
Ben, You make some good points. We obviously disagree on some basic stuff but I appreciate your manner of debate. It seems civility is lacking on this comment page to a high degree. I don't understand the anger that exists today. When people shout, no one is heard. Thank you for your mature and intelligent manner.
Ben Hogan August 25, 2011 at 12:13 PM
Thank you Rick
Ken Ziegler August 26, 2011 at 12:23 AM
You ever consider maybe that your boss sucks?
robert heule August 26, 2011 at 01:50 PM
Damage to car? Please check the police blotter when the latest one is published. If my car was damaged, I would call the cops and stay on the scene until they arrived. Wouldn't it be strange if the alleged victim didn't call?
robert heule August 31, 2011 at 04:37 AM
Hello! Unless I missed something, the latest police blotter shows nothing about a School Board Member's car being damaged the on night of August 22nd, at the much publicized School board meeting. Over time there have been reports of a politician's property being damaged and nothing has ever been resolved. Yes there have been reports to the police and as I stated in a previous comment, There was breaking of glass at properties of a mid-era mayor and a former northeast district alderman, but no one was ever arrested. What about these allegations? Why aren't the perpetrators prosecuted? Do they really exist? Will the School Board Member whose car was allegedly damaged on August 22nd please inform the police. This type of criminal activity can deter citizens from running for public office.
Ben Hogan August 31, 2011 at 12:54 PM
Robert : I think it comes down to what kind of damage occured. Im not sure if I would have waited to call the police if the damage was minor vs. major. what would the cops be able to do at that point?
David Cotey August 31, 2011 at 01:35 PM
I exchanged emails with the board member with the damaged car. The damage was minor, but damage nonetheless.

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