Former Prairie Grove School Board Member Laura Domoto Urges Attendance at Tuesday Meeting as Four New Board Members Assert Power

An email from former and just defeated Prairie Grove School District 46 Board  member Laura Domoto about the Tuesday, May 14th, Board meeting.

Laura Domoto

Laura Domoto fell short of re-election this year.

Dear Friends,

Your child’s education and programming at Prairie Grove Schools are being threatened.

The newly elected board wants to revisit many items that were studied and voted on previously by your board of education.

Things are definitely in jeopardy. If you want to save our school we need your HELP NOW.

Please show up and address the board on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 7pm. [See below for restrictive instructions.]

You cannot sit back and watch our school district spiral down in failure. It is time for you to take action now.

We know what has happened out our neighboring school in Cary and we cannot let that happen here at Prairie Grove.

Attached you will find the agenda for Tuesday, May 14, 2013 Board of Education Meeting.

PLEASE come. You have 3 minutes to speak, and no one can be denied the opportunity to do so. Please speak for the 3 minutes and say what you think. This is a very important day.

PLEASE forward to you friends and if you have questions please feel free to contact me or other current or past board members.

I am going to be frank and not beat around the bush, this agenda is ludicrous.

The newly elected board members have put on the agenda the following items which should be of concern for you:

Visitors in the Lunchroom

We all know that what has happened in our country and Sandy Hook. It is the schools priority to provide a safe place for the students and staff.

Yes, we would love to spend time with our kids at lunch, but the safety of our children is of utmost importance.

Last year the district worked with area police departments to make sure our students were safe while we had two lock downs.

There also were other incidents where administrators had to step in to insure children’s safety.

The administration and past BOE eliminated visitors at lunch to protect our students, but now the new board wants to throw away that decision and make the school an unsafe place for our children.

Their recommendation does include limiting where visitors go, but in order to do so, the district would need to hire additional staff to monitor these visitors. Is this what we should be paying for?

2013 Prairie Grove Grade School Board results.

2013 Prairie Grove Grade School Board results.  Four incumbents–Laura Domot, Charlotte Kremer, Board President Vicki Marconi and Mischelle Yantis–lost their bids for re-election.  Those who won are Rick Salvo, John Bowman , Laura Barker and Margaret Ponga.

Master Schedule

This new JRHS master schedule has taken the administrative team a year of careful and meticulous research to make sure that the needs of our students are met as we change to ‘common core standards’ and while our enrollments are decreasing.

Many man hours were put into a well planned schedule for our students, and the administration has worked with teachers to set the staffing for next year.

A parent advisory group provided input, and there was a Board meeting that all district parents were invited to where the changes were discussed.

Teachers are working on next years plans, and in some cases have modified the topics they are covering this year to address the upcoming changes.

And now the newly elected board members are the education experts?

They feel that and a different approach should be taken, and that a new committee needs to be formed to address and evaluate this.

I guess if it isn’t the newly elected board members vision, it must be wrong.

I must also say that none of the new board members are certified teachers, or have PhD, or Master’s degrees in education.

New Lawyer

One of the new Board members has been very vocal about her unhappiness with the District’s legal council during the teacher’s contract negotiations.

The lawyer was present, however, to protect the assets of the taxpayers.

The past board feels that there several occasions during negotiations where the law firm saved the district considerable money with their recommendations.

This board member stated that the money spent on legal fees should have instead been given to the teachers.

This board member has now decided that the firm that we had PRIOR to our current law firm, should be hired for a new ‘temporary’ appointment.

This is NOT in the best interest of our district, taxpayers, employees, or students.

We have a contract with the current law firm; they were chosen during a formal bid process.

With this firm our costs have been considerable lower FOR EACH OF THE PAST 4 YEARS than they were with that previous law firm (the one they are suggesting re-hiring!).

The proposal is to hire this law firm without going through a bidding process?

Have rates been determined?

AT WHAT COST TO THE TAXPAYERS?

Who negotiated those rates?

That SHOULD be the job of the Superintendent and Finance Director.

Superintendent

The agenda has a full page of directives for the Superintendent that have not been discussed in public with all the board members.

It is my belief that the new board members are trying to set up the Superintendent for failure, have no understanding that she has a job to do with the school, and are piling up numerous items at once, to make her fail.

The Superintendent has a contract that specifically lists her deliverables for the upcoming school year, so if she spends all her time on these new items, she will not be able to fulfill her contract.

Committee meetings

Several years ago the Board changed committee meetings to be open Committee of the Whole events in the evening where anyone with an interest could voice an opinion.

The Board now wishes to go back to ‘closed committee’ meetings, where the members are appointed by the board and attendance is limited to ‘a chosen few’ attendees.

Finally, at the meeting it will be interesting to notice whether or not the 4 new members come to the meeting already having made decisions related to all of these new items.

If so, how was that done?

Board discussions of district issues need to take place in an open meetings setting; if not, it is a violation of the OPEN MEETINGS ACT.

These board members have not even been on the new board for 1 week and they are making substantial changes that would negatively impact our district and students.

They have not taken any training or learned about our policy and procedures.

They don’t have the slightest understanding of governance or the role of a board member, and they do not understand how a board is supposed to work collaboratively with the administration.

Over the past 10 years while I was on the board, our school’s financial status improved WHOLE our test scores and the quality of our education also increased.

These are all decisions and actions that the new board will try to take on Tuesday that will detrimentally affect our students and our taxpayers.

Please attend the meeting to voice your concerns so that the new board doesn’t start tearing away at all of the decisions that have generated these successes.

Sincerely,

Laura Domoto
District 46 Board of Education Member 2003-2013

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The Board must want to discourage people from speaking in public comment, because it has the following rule listed at the bottom of its agenda:

“Any District resident may request time to speak to this Board by notifying Mary Sutfin, Recording Secretary of the Board of Education, prior to 4:00 P.M. on the Monday immediately preceding a regularly scheduled Board meeting or be heard by this Board at this time. The Board asks that comments are held to under 3 minutes and that no personnel names are mentioned and/or individuals by job title.”

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Here’s an article about the 2007 elections. Domnoto was Board President when she ran that year.

A teacher about to lose his job spoke to the new school board.

In 2009, the old Board renewed the Superintendent’s contract before the new Board was sworn in. Election results are shown.


Comments

Former Prairie Grove School Board Member Laura Domoto Urges Attendance at Tuesday Meeting as Four New Board Members Assert Power — 8 Comments

  1. Ms. Domoto,

    You and your majority lost.

    Essentially, rightly or wrongly, you were fired.

    Does that need further explanation?

    3

  2. Ditto… this is all sour grapes on Domoto’s part.

    Go away… you and your sick agenda were defeated.

    Under your leadership the school and the morale of the teachers was dismal!

    The parents voted you out…. go get your greeter job at Walmart you sick, sad little woman!

  3. From the length of the agenda, the meeting should only last 96 hours, give or take an hour.

  4. What could she be hiding that she wants the meeting to mbe in shambles?

    A poor loser if I ever saw one.

  5. The even funnier thing is the woman doesn’t not even have children in the district anymore.

    If you want to get into politics and effect change run for public office.

    Also, if you don’t want ‘your’ superindent to fail maybe make her work a full week.

    I would love to see her attendance record along with the rest of the administration.

    Those people are never there.

  6. Newly voted board members, new rules.

    Ms. Domoto, if the boards you presided over and sat on had not treated the public who wanted to be heard by the board and board presidents (several), you wouldn’t now be behaving the way you are, which is unacceptably.

    One think I resent and feel should have an open airing is the way the board coddled the former superintendent who according to certain info at the time transferred money from teacher funds to her own benefit funds.

    She was not brought to justice but was allowed to walk away with full benefits, less the money she tried to steal.

    Thank heaven district voters have awakened and your failed “watch” is over.

  7. Holy Carp! Sonya baby, you must have got some really bad smelly fishy information. There was never ever any money transferred by the former superintendent. And there is no such thing as “teacher funds” – educate yourself please so you don’t sound so ignorant. You really gotta watch those false accusations and liable and slander. The person(s) who told you that LIED to you something bad. Be very careful there.

    So in order to be a board member you have to have kids in the schools? I have never heard that one before. What about that Bowman dude or his wife who was the board president when he was employed a the district? They don’t have kids or even grand-kids in the schools. That type of nepotism never smelled quite right either. Wasn’t he let go? Another disgruntled former employee from Oakwood Hills sitting on the board, don’t you all learn?

    It is amazing to me that those of you who support the Union don’t know what the real costs to the taxpayers are when they do their dirty deeds, led by Mr. former board member now Union leader himself and Mrs. Ponga. How many actions has she had or caused in the school district recently in which the district needed to be legally protected/represented against. Lots!

    And Mr. former board member now Union leader, you had some dealings that caused a lot of taxpayer dollars to be frivolously spent. So whatever happened to that baseball field you wanted? How was all of that planning paid for? The answer – by taxpayer dollars? And the land purchase with the back-door referendum you orchestrated? Those bonds you structured cost the district a lot in interest when the impact fees didn’t come to fruition.

    How about the significant expense to portend that we needed to build a new school and the taxpayer dollars that went into all of that planning and campaigning for it not once, but twice? Again, taxpayer resources spent on your far fetched extravagant half-baked ideas. You would lead bison over cliff to their certain death wouldn’t you?

    You people should be very appreciate Mrs. Domoto, she and the board she served with helped not only cleaned up Mr. former board member’s messes but also held the costs of the district down during very turbulent times. We are all better off for her dedicated service and the district is in great shape thanks to her and her sound leadership.

    The actions of Mr. former board member and Mrs. Ponga are forever engraved into history. There is no possible positive spin you could ever put on the damage caused by these two people. Give up promoting that they are good. They are not. It’s like trying to put lipstick on a ‘you know what’.

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