Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Town of Algoma contemplates suit against school district

So it sounds from this article in the Oshkosh Northwestern and this one that the Town of Algoma may take legal action to try preventing the Oshkosh Area School District Board of Education from establishing new boundaries for the district. Town supervisors are apparently upset that the town was not included in the planning team’s decision-making processes regarding any potential boundary changes and that town of Algoma residents are affected as it is within the OASD. One town supervisor, Tim Blake, was actually quoted in the article as saying, “It shocks me that the town of Algoma was never invited to any meetings that other municipalities were. To me, that’s appalling because it affects our community.”

Perhaps I missed something somewhere along the way, but the only municipality that I recall the district talking to was the City of Oshkosh and that was a workshop in council chambers initiated by the Oshkosh Common Council. Is there something wrong with the phone lines or email programs in the town of Algoma that the town supervisors who are expressing concern about not being part of the process didn’t see fit to contact the school district to discuss the matter with superintendent Heilmann? Is the Oshkosh Northwestern not delivered in the town of Algoma nor any radio stations or TV stations broadcast there? Do none of these supervisors receive or watch any of the OCAT programming in their homes; I know they can receive it in the town on Charter Cable Channel 19. I realize the town is slightly outside of the city and likes to consider itself very independent on some issues; but they don’t live in a vacuum over there, do they? They certainly knew this issue was being discussed - or should have anyway, especially if, as elected representatives, they're paying attention to things going on in the area.

While supervisor Blake finds it appalling that the town wasn’t invited to any meeting, I find it appalling that apparently neither he nor any of his fellow supervisors who are so upset by the school district's actions were concerned enough before now to take any initiative on their own - not by any of the aforementioned methods nor by attending any school board meetings. Now suddenly, in an almost "Johnny-come-lately" move, they’re calling for a closed session meeting to contemplate action, which may include a lawsuit. I wish them a lot of luck with that one; I just don’t see it going anywhere. Unless the district has done something illegal, I really don't see how it can be stopped by litigation from instituting a boundary change it has a legal right to make.


Blogger Teresa Thiel said...


I agree completely with your post. The district has the legal authority to set boundary lines. And where were the members now complaining when the district asked for community members for the Community Response Team? Did they apply to be on the team? No, As has happened in the past (since about 1999) we only hear from people when it is their child who will be moved. Then they come out and talk about how Oshkosh values "neighborhood schools" but if you listen carefully, someone will say "who don't you move those kids over there?" What parents really value is keeping their children in the schools they have always gone to. I understand that sentiment, but the duty of the Administration and the School Board is to advocate for ALL students and to make decisons that are in the best interest of the DISTRICT as a WHOLE, NOT cave in to very vocal minorities. I really hope this is the time they stand firm and proceed with the plan they believe is best. Time will tell.

August 08, 2007 4:25 PM  
Blogger Teresa Thiel said...

The Aug. 9th NW has a story about the parents unhappy with boundary changes with a sentence that says:

"Town Board Chairman Richard Spanbauer said he was invited by Heilmann to sit on the planning team a few months ago but declined."

So much for no one from the town having a chance to participate.

August 09, 2007 10:52 AM  

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