Fortunately, the current Board President, Mr. Kastengren, agreed that my comments were in line with the expectations for Citizen Input.
Mr. Jensen should read state statute as it clearly states that the District Administrator is to be evaluated “during the first year of employment and at least every third year thereafter”, while WGSD Board policy state the following “It shall be the policy of the Waterford Graded School District to provide the District Administrator with an annual evaluation of her/his work performance” AND “At a special School Board meeting in January, the School Board President shall present a written summary of the comments of the entire Board to the District Administrator”. You can listen to my statements and watch Dan Jensen’s full response in the video below. You can view the public records request and the references to the WGSD Board policy and state statutes in the yellow box below.
I am requesting all evaluations for the acting WGSD Superintendent position for the last 10 years. The open records law requires these documents to be released. See Jensen v. School District of Rhinelander, 2002 WI App 78, ¶¶ 22-24, 251 Wis. 2d 676, ¶¶ 22-24, 642 N.W.2d 638, ¶¶ 22-24
On Tuesday, October 22nd, one day after the 2013 Annual Meeting, I received his written response. The original document is available in full here.
Most importantly, his response states the following:
In the present case, I have reviewed the records of the Waterford Graded School District Joint No. 1 and have determined that the District has not created or kept records containing the information that you have requested, to wit, “evaluations for the acting WGSD Superintendent position for the last 10 years.”
Since it is now fact that no evaluation records for the District’s most important employee exist, one should ask “What are the expectations or requirements of a Board to evaluate their superintendent”. Here we see that the answer is that both WGSD Board Policy and State Statutes (PI 8.01 (2)(q) – Personnel Evaluation 1. and 2.) require a written evaluation of a District Superintendent.
Among other things, WGSD Board Policy states the following:
It shall be the policy of the Waterford Graded School District to provide the District Administrator with an annual evaluation of her/his work performance. The evaluation shall be conducted in accordance with state law. The Waterford Graded School Board believes that continuous appraisal of school district personnel is important in the Board’s efforts to maintain the high level of performance which is necessary to fulfill its commitment to provide quality education to the children of the school district.
(#3) At a special School Board meeting in January, the School Board President shall present a written summary of the comments of the entire Board to the District Administrator. At this meeting, the District Administrator and Board will review the evaluation. The evaluation will be based upon the School Board approved job description.
The failure of the WGSD Board to follow its own policy, considering the relevance the policy attaches to it, is nothing short of catastrophic. Even if the board claims it did sit around a table with the Superintendent and complete some sort of evaluation, there is no formal record of that happening for the last 10 years. Finally, considering the Board’s summative evaluation process of their own teachers, their is a double standard in play that should not go unnoticed. Many consider the WGSD work environment unhealthy, as described in the Staff Survey taken by over 90 employees and the Exit Interviews from all 14 employees that have recently resigned.
Then there is the issue of Wisconsin Sate Law, which reads the following:
(q) Personnel evaluation.
In light of the Board’s violation of their own policy and state law, there is great irony in the fact that on Monday night at the District’s Annual Meeting a small majority voted to not only give the current Board a 13% pay increase, but to immediately cut each of them a retroactive paycheck in the amount of $3,400 for the previous year. The vote passed 33-30, and would have failed if it were not for three of the men on the WGSD Board. Board member Dawn Bleimehl abstained from voting due to the obvious conflict of interest.
For those that do not know, the electorate twice voted last years Board pay to zero, first at the October 2012 Annual Meeting and then again at the April 2013 Special Meeting of the Electorate. There is a great article by Tom Hoffman about this at the Parents United for Waterford Schools web site. If you have not already signed up for their mailing list, Facebook page or Twitter posts, please consider doing so. It is another great resource for important WGSD news.