At the administrative level, the Mount Pleasant School District is broken, and it’s going to take some dramatic efforts to fix it.
The small school district of 50 kindergarten through six-grade students and approximately three teachers has seen more than its share of challenging times in recent years, often involving conflicts between the district’s superintendents and members of the School Board.
The most recent dust up between Superintendent Linda Slattery and at least two members of the board, Peggy Carroll and Dolores Nelson, stems from the May resignation of former district bus driver Cheryl Randall, who pleaded guilty to theft after admitting she stole $500 in gas. A state auditor’s report released last week indicates that the theft may even go beyond that $500, although proving that in a court of law may be challenging due to a lack of accounting paperwork.
Now, the current superintendent who simply did her job by reporting her suspicions and concerns to authorities has said she has been forced to work in a hostile environment and told a Post-Record reporter today that she will resign effective Aug. 17.
So, where does the district go from here? Certainly, changes need to happen. The district and its elected leaders need to get on track by implementing the recommendations made by the state auditor’s office to prevent similar misuse of public funds from occurring in the future. Proper accounting procedures need to be followed and adhered to consistently. No employee should be given special privileges when it comes to using district finances, no matter how hard they seem to work or how long they have been an employee of the district.
And maybe most importantly, as a collective group the school board members need to hold themselves accountable for weighing the facts, making unbiased decisions, and acting appropriately in their leadership positions. The parents of children who attend the school and the taxpayers who help fund it should expect no less.