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School Board Member Says Resignations are 'Disturbing'

Russ Spahn told administration Monday he'd like to hear from those leaving, even after Superintendent Conrad Farner said the five resignations were in line with other years.

One of the newest members is concerned with the number of resignations the Board was asked to approve Monday.

Russ Spahn, , would like a chance to speak with the outgoing district employees to get their take on why they’re leaving.

On Monday, the Board approved five resignations, , and those of four teachers.

“This is disturbing to see this many people leave,” Spahn said.

Spahn asked if those leaving were given exit interviews. Superintendent Conrad Farner said just about all of them spoke with either building administrators, assistant superintendent Todd Bugnacki or him before leaving, but said they were not formal interviews.

He added this time of year the district receives a number of resignations for a variety of reasons.

“I wouldn’t classify this as disturbing,” Farner told Spahn. “We have about this many resignations every year.”

Board member Pam Sierzchulski said the resignation letters of all outgoing employees were included in the Board’s meeting packet and that four of them gave reasons for leaving in those letters.

“It wasn’t a mass exodus. It was personal reasons,” Sierzchulski said.

But Spahn wasn’t satisfied. He said as a before becoming a Board member, he’s familiar with resignation letters and wants more information.

“I often read those and typically what they’re writing is as professional as possible for their future, and not necessarily all the facts,” Spahn said. “I’d like to hear personally from those folks. Writing is nice, but I’d like to talk to them.”

JustMe June 15, 2012 at 08:07 PM
Do tell.
John Seymour June 15, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Right on Russ...and I would add...talk to the people who have left in the past 2 years. Most won't tell the real reason out of professional courtesy, but talk to some administration retirees or people who left. Read between the lines. You'll learn the real reasons. Pam, you're either crazy or naive if you believe Conrad and the letters. He screens all of them.
Ann June 15, 2012 at 09:51 PM
good to see we finally have someone in there with a brain. Now if the rest of the board would get their heads out of Farners butt - and get a brain for themselves to see what he is doing maybe GF would have a chance.
Greenfield Resident Too! June 15, 2012 at 10:35 PM
Remember Mr. Farner has the power to do what he wants and in my opinion it has not been favorable. This is very scary because the people who leave the district are being replaced by Mr. Farner's past coworkers.
Shari June 15, 2012 at 10:54 PM
Russ, I would feel greatly relieved if you would interview those who resigned and retired. Especially those who abruptly retired. I am sure that both sets of employees would give you great insights into the repressive environment in our district if they felt secure that there would be no retaliation for their honesty. Pam, I am sorry but your faith in Conrad is very naive. He has had you snowed for a very long time.
hsmsparent June 15, 2012 at 11:50 PM
The nail has finally been hit on the head. Funny to see all these employees coming in from Farners old school district. Mr. Spahn I knew I voted for you for a reason. You truly do have Greenfield's School District at heart. Hopefully some of the other board members will follow suit and worry about our teachers and students not FARNER!
Ben Hogan June 16, 2012 at 03:54 AM
Time for Farner to go back to West Allis. He has been horrible in my opinion for this district.
robert heule June 16, 2012 at 04:10 PM
All previous Superintendents either lived in or moved to Greenfield shortly after they were hired. This was Board Policy. Did the Board repeal the policy or did Conrad encroach upon the legislative authority of the Board. if the latter is the case, independent legal counsel. Bob Heule, former Greenfield School Board member.
robert heule June 16, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Part of the Board Policy relating the hiring of the superintendent states that "solicitation be from a wide geographical area" How wide ? the width of the administrative offices?
robert heule June 16, 2012 at 10:21 PM
Formula: Next Board meeting+ citizen attendance=pile on
robert heule June 16, 2012 at 10:36 PM
Dear President Bailey, As you may recall, last August 25th there was large group of people wanting access to the meeting.Your board room, as now was not large enough to accomodate the people. I suggest that you hold the next board meeting in Performing Arts Center, AKA the auditorium. You have plenty of time to make the facility "cable friendly" so those who want to view the meeting at home can watch the action. Thank you, Bob your former colleague.
robert heule June 16, 2012 at 10:48 PM
Russ, not withstanding any policy or advice form the weak WASB, I encourage you to communicate with the resignees if they wish to do so. When I was on the Board and my actions were challenged, I would argue what intent of the policy was and my interpretation prevailed over those who challenged me.
Shari June 17, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Teacher attendance at the board meeting was not enough. More parents, students, and community members will need to come forward. PLEASE spread the word. The next school board meeting is MONDAY JUNE 25TH AT 6:30 AT THE ADMINISTRATIVE CENTER. I echo the request to the board to please move the meeting to a larger space, perhaps the Performing Arts Center.
4 Greenfield June 18, 2012 at 02:01 PM
Regarding "letters of resignation," Greenfield Board Members, ask yourselves if you have ever seen an employee write negative comments about the District or administration? My guess is it would be extremely rare, even in cases where the District got rid of the employee for cause! Russ Spahn is right. Most resigning or retiring employees, regardless of the circumstances, want their official employee files to reflect a positive attitude.
robert heule June 18, 2012 at 02:05 PM
Shari, It is on the 27th
Ben Hogan June 18, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Robert: I agree with you but also please remember the board needs your support to facilitate Conrad's departure.
robert heule June 18, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Attention everyone? Act 10 gave the Board the "AUTHORITY" to abuse the employees of the district and the board gave Conrad the green light. The ultimate responsible party for the mess this community is in is the Board.
4 Greenfield June 18, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Mr. Heule, the next school board meeting is Monday, JUNE 25th, at 6:30pm. Also, check out Greenfield's 2011-2012 Professional Educator Employee Handbook under Staff Resources on their website. On page 13, regarding Employee Evaluation, it states, "The District will establish a system for evaluating employee effectiveness". Policy 3220 states that the Superintendent is responsible for establishing and implementing the employee evaluation system. It looks like he just updated his Administrative Guidelines (3220A) on 11/28/2011 to include, "Evaluations are not limited to classroom observations. Multiple sources of data and documentation regarding all of the expectations of a professional educator may be included in both formative and summative evaluation materials." What DATA is he referring to? The state law allowing use of student test scores for teacher does not go into effect for 1-2 years from now. Which teacher evaluation system is currently being used in Greenfield? The old one or a new one? Does the board know which one is being used?
John Seymour June 18, 2012 at 04:02 PM
I'll tell you what evaluation system is being used...If you disagree with me or were an outspoken critic of anything I've done...you're going to be fired.
Jean June 18, 2012 at 04:10 PM
I agree with Mr. Hogan. I think many of us are in agreement that the present administration is NOT handling things well with employees. I think the best course of action is opening the school boards eyes. I hope that Mr. Spahn continues to question current practices and gets the school board to talk to employees and observe in the schools. I don't think personal attacks are productive. We need to get the message across that we are worried about the state of the district and are watching closer that ever.
robert heule June 18, 2012 at 05:29 PM
The language implies that an employee can be disciplined for engaging in activity outside of work, including the First Amendment right to publicly criticize the School Board and the Superintendent. Furthermore, It has been ruled by the courts that the damaging a persons reputation by the government(school boards) violates the liberty clause of the 5th Amendment. The 14th Amendment applies to the state and its political subdivisions. (school boards).
Susan June 19, 2012 at 01:03 AM
How many Administrative Assistant/secretarial jobs are filled by people Conrad knows from West Allis? Shouldn't these well paying jobs with excellent benefits be filled by Greenfield residents? Is there a way to investigate the hiring process?
Shari June 19, 2012 at 02:26 AM
Conrad's administrative assistant quit her teaching job in West Allis to become his secretary. I would love to put more here, but I will leave it at that for now.
Concerned June 19, 2012 at 01:10 PM
Ask the board members about the employee/friend of Farner that was stealing from the taxpayers and the children at the HS...
Theodore Kraig June 21, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Greenfield and New Berlin are in the same boat. Morale for staff is abominably low and many fine people are getting out as fast as they can. The common denominator? Jim Korom is the attorney for both districts and he advises them on how to terrorize employees for maximum top-down control.
robert heule June 22, 2012 at 03:46 PM
BIG NEWS! I heard that Alverno is advising its graduate student teachers not to apply at Greenfield or New Berlin.
Shari June 22, 2012 at 08:37 PM
That is funny Robert, because I have also strongly advised graduating teachers to avoid Greenfield and New Berlin. The strong teachers will get jobs elsewhere. The weak ones will be stuck with Greenfield as a last resort.
robert heule June 22, 2012 at 09:50 PM
Theodore Kraig, More on Jim Korum. At the orientation session for new board members, he told Russ Spahn that he might have to leave an open meeting if anything the board was dealing with anything affecting his wife (employed by the District ). Hello, what about abstaining, counselor?
robert heule June 26, 2012 at 01:54 AM
He imported a friend from West Allis to speak in his behalf. In fact I believe the guy is on the Greenfield payroll.

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