Statement: Board, Carson have to go
By Lynn R. Parks
A group of citizens is demanding that Woodbridge superintendent Kevin Carson be fired and that all board members resign.
At last week's school board meeting, a group of five, including Daniel Kramer, Ed Bauer and Eunice Bauer, read statements that accused the board members and Carson of having failed in their jobs. The group then demanded that Carson's employment contract be terminated and that the board members resign.
"We need people who will do what the community is asking," said Kramer, 54, Greenwood. "We need somebody who is honest. I don't trust any of them. They have lied to the public and I don't think anybody in the community with half a brain would trust any of them."
The demand follows on the heels of two failed referendums. In February, the district asked voters to approve a 69.5-percent hike in school taxes to pay for a new middle school and for renovations at existing schools.
Voters defeated a second referendum in May that asked for a 59.5-percent tax hike and a boost in the capitation tax.
According to Carson, the new school is needed to ease overcrowding in the elementary and junior-senior high schools.
"All I hear is 'overcrowding,' " said Kramer. "But there is no such a thing."
"When you have 900 enrolled in a school that was built for 700, that is overcrowding," said board president Debbie Stogner, Greenwood.
"When the state mandated class size reduction in kindergarten through grade three, we were one of the few districts in the state that did not ask for a variance. We were really proud of that, but there are ramifications. You can't have classes meeting in the auditorium, in the gym, in the hallways. You have to put them someplace."
The elementary school in Greenwood will get four new modular classrooms next year - it already has seven - and the junior-senior high school in Bridgeville will get four. It already has one trailer with two classrooms in it.
In their statements, the group accused the district administration of "destroy[ing] the trust and respect of the community" through "lies, half-truths and deceitful propaganda."
It adds: "Your idle thinking and your thoughtless and uncaring spendthrift ways have destroyed the morale of the teachers and the learning interests of the entire student body É Your administrative leadership has been unable to nurture sufficient growth for any of the reform efforts put forth by you É You have consistently failed to provide the appropriate high level of educational services to the students of the district."
Stogner said that she was "hurt by the generalities" contained in the statement. "Specifics are a lot easier to address," she said. "But generalities are hard to address. It gets to the point that it doesn't matter what you say."
She said that in the second referendum, the district tried to address concerns expressed by members of the community. While the February tax hike would have paid for a new administrative building, that was dropped in the May referendum. The capitation tax hike was meant to answer complaints that property owners bear an unfair portion of school costs. But the fact that new athletic fields were left in the second proposal angered Kramer.
"There is nothing wrong with the fields we have," he said. "They can expand the current football field."
Kramer said that the fact that last year's Raider football team won all its regular season games points to the fact that the field is adequate.
As for the Woodbridge-Middletown playoff game that was played on Seaford's football field after the state ruled that the field in Bridgeville was too small, even though Woodbridge had home-team advantage, "That [Raider] football team would have lost no matter where they played," he said. "It wasn't the field, it was the other team. They were better."
Stogner urged all Woodbridge district residents to get involved with the schools. "There are a lot of things we are doing that are good," she said. "Being involved helps people see the whole picture. I don't like to criticize. I'd rather get involved and then offer ideas, so we can work together for the benefit of students."
Kramer said that he intends to visit the district's schools, to "look them over from top to bottom."
But he foresees little that would prompt him to support another referendum.
"They need to forget that new school," he said. "They need to get rid of the idea that they need new athletic fields. A good teacher can teach in any setting.
"Years ago, we had one-room schoolhouses and teachers taught six grades. Today, you have teachers teaching one subject all day long, and they can't teach that. What's wrong with that picture?"