As members of the Rockford School Board, we are shocked and dismayed to hear recent claims by three of our fellow Board members, charging that there is some clandestine conspiracy afoot to remove [Superintendent] Dr. [Dennis] Thompson if they are not re-elected April 17. The timing of this allegation, fewer than three weeks prior to Election Day, and the fact that these seats are opposed, raises our concern that this is simply a diversionary attempt by Mr. Kelly, Mrs. Ostergard and Mrs. Saudargas to win re-election through fear and innuendo. They should, instead, be running on the merits of their records and vision for the future of District 205. Indeed, a fourth member, unopposed in this election, makes no such charge.
Why might the three opposed incumbents make this allegation? This election is not a referendum on Dr. Thompson. It remains to be decided on the record of each of these three school board members, who possibly rested too long in the arms of Morpheus while the concerns and pleas of their constituents, parents of our public school children, went unheeded. Do they not know it is about the students, parents and taxpayers of our community?
No Board member, or candidate, to our knowledge, has suggested that Dr. Thompson be fired. Quite to the contrary, Dr. Thompson received a two-year extension of his contract last summer. More recently, after completion of his performance review, he was given a reasonable salary increase and bonus. So long as he continues to make progress in achieving the goals set by the Board, his job should be secure.
We trust the voters will ignore this smokescreen and have the wisdom to cast their votes April 17 for individuals who will truly represent themthe parents, children and taxpayers of District 205.
Michael J. Williams represents Sub-district A, and Jay A. Nellis represents Sub-district F.
from the April 11-17, 2007, issue