TCAPS School Board Interviews Show Current Board Members Are As Out of Touch As We Think They Are

There are lots of people running for Traverse City Area Public School Board. If you needed any more proof that the election is the old guard vs. the new guard, there’s the interviews that the Traverse City Ticker did with each candidate. Here’s the highlights:

  • The establishment candidates think test scores are all fine and dandy. The challengers point out that being slightly above average compared to other similar schools in Michigan still makes us crappy nationwide.
  • Pamela Forton – retired teacher – says Soma is a good superintendent because he walks the halls. She says it’s the administrators that are just giving Soma a bad name. Of course, the administrators are the people who work the closest with Soma. Also, it sounds like Forton would dismiss the voices of administrators if she were to win a seat on the board, in the name of good PR. (Pro tip, Ms. Forton – silencing public opinion in the name of PR is bad PR.) Forton plans to do nothing to address the administrator’s concerns or change the lack-of-accountability culture at the middle and high schools.
  • Sue Kelly calls the recent concerns about discipline at TCAPS nothing but a bunch of “unfounded allegations.” It’s not really clear what discipline issues she’s talking about — Do you mean the Soma investigation? The Spirit Rock drama of the century? The inability of the administration to respond appropriately to student vaping? The lack of student discipline in general? What discipline? Also, the fact that you talk about unfounded discipline¬†allegations and we’re left to guess exactly what discipline issue you’re referencing should tell you the extent of the problem, but you’re just blind to it, willfully or otherwise.
  • Jeff Leonhardt – former teacher – “not looking to make radical changes.” Wants to coast.
  • By contrast, the outsiders/challengers sound like a chorus of “accountability,” mostly for Superintendent Soma.
  • Outgoing board member Jane Gordon Klegman goes on a rant in the comments section of the article about how horrible the TEAM5TCAPS group is. She accuses the TEAM5 group of “false statements,” “blame where none exists” and “[slapping at] Superintendent Soma…for every thing they don’t like.” She goes on to call the TEAM5 team “naive.” She calls West principal Joe Esper a liar. She says the TEAM5 team doesn’t understand what being a board member involves. Wow. I think it’s fair to say that Klegman calls these candidates who disagree with her every name in the book. Whew, is she rant-y. The venom. There’s some spittle on my shirt all the way from here.

The November TCAPS board election is very much a referendum on TCAPS. Are we happy with where we’re at? Are we happy with Soma’s professional demeanor or the lack of it? The way he treats administrators? The funding schemes? The lack of discipline¬†for students at our schools? Our student achievement?

The candidates have very differing opinions. One side is decidedly, and defensively, status quo. The other side is not. Decide where you stand and cast your vote. You can offer your opinion in the comments below. Just please don’t go all Keglman on us and call people names for expressing a different opinion.

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