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Published: Tuesday, 7/19/2011

Blissfield residents seek school superintendent’s resignation

BLADE STAFF

BLISSFIELD, Mich. — The leader of a group seeking the removal of Blissfield Community Schools Superintendent Scott Moellenberndt Monday night delivered a petition to the Board of Education asking for his resignation.

Ken Rupp, who organized a community meeting July 11 to address complaints about the superintendent, told school trustees that more than 100 people who live in the Lenawee County school district signed the petition.

“In the best interests of the Blissfield Community Schools District, I hereby petition to have Scott Moellenberndt relieved of his duties,” he said during the meeting that was attended by more than 150 people.

Mr. Rupp, the father of two school-aged boys and a school booster club member, was among approximately 20 people to address the board. Most of them spoke against action the board took last month to privatize the district’s support staff to help offset a budget deficit.

The cost-cutting proposal recommended by Mr. Moellenberndt and approved by a 4-1 vote gives teachers’ aides, librarians, custodians, and cafeteria workers the option of working for a third-party employer or having their wages slashed by 17 percent.

Gary Sullivan, president of the Blissfield Education Association, told the board that a majority of the 71-member unionized teachers gave Mr. Moellenberndt a no confidence vote when the issue was presented to the membership on June 30.

Tanya Loar fought back tears as she told the school board that their decision to privatize jobs will mean that her husband will no longer be in the state retirement system and their family will be without health insurance.

She said the switch from being a school district employee to working for the third-party employer resulted in him only being paid for six days of work in July. “But, yet he worked every week for 52 weeks this year,” she said, drawing a large applause from crowded room.

Her husband, Brian Loar, has been a maintenance worker for 12 years.

School board President Noel Eisenmann said he was surprised at the demand sought in the petition.

“We don’t know why,” he said. “We need to know what is going on out there. If there are issues we need to have the opportunity to correct them,” he said.



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