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Residents grill School Board members on superintendent issue

South Washington County residents strongly questioned School Board members about their decision to replace Superintendent Mark Porter.

A group of residents opposed to the decision turned out for a board workshop Thursday, criticizing board members for the process and saying the vote is not understood by the public.

School Board policy does not allow the public to speak at workshop meetings, but board Chairwoman Leslee Boyd made an exception and took comments.

Dick Kveton said he was displeased with the board action to not renew Porter's contract and the "way it was handled."

Kveton wondered, if Porter wasn't doing anything illicit, how five board members decided not to keep him.

"There must have been secret meetings," Kveton alleged.

Those who voted not to renew the contract looked "very uncomfortable." said Joyce Thalacker, who asked the board to reconsider their vote.

"Something is missing from the process," added Jim Blass. He said Porter has integrity and character.

"Nobody understands why this was done," Blass said.

As a district teacher, Lois Williams said even the lowest level district employee is granted a job review and an opportunity for correction, something Porter was denied.

Boyd said most of the feedback she heard from residents was "supportive" of the decision. She said it's inappropriate to comment on Porter's job performance.

Boyd said while the "steps might not be understood," she was looking forward to the search for a new superintendent.

Judy Spooner
Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
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