Political Action-Connecting the DOTS
Political Action Committee Report for Executive Board
STATEMENT TO SAGINAW SCHOOL BOARD
April 4, 2018
This statement is directed to the Saginaw School Board on behalf of the membership of the NAACP Saginaw Branch and Saginaw area residents who seek understanding, stability and improvement in the Saginaw School District.
Members of the Saginaw School Board we want you to know that your recent decision to not renew the contract of Superintendent Nathaniel McClain has left many in the constituency you serve confused and frustrated. As a duly elected governing body, there’s no issue regarding your authority to take the action you’ve taken. The question rests with your responsibility to be forthright with parents, students, district staff and citizens in this community about the reasons for what we perceive to be your very untimely decision.
The confusion and consternation among many of those you represent stems largely from the notion that the public facts fail to support the decision to terminate the Superintendent. Allow me to list a few of the publicly reported facts. First, media reports and statements from some board members indicate Superintendent McClain has received favorable performance evaluations from the School Board in 2016 and 2017. Next, the Superintendent and district administration worked cooperatively with the school board and the State of Michigan Department of Education to eliminate the district’s budget deficit and restore a fund balance. Further, available information confirms that the Superintendent and the district’s administrative team successfully teamed with the school board to execute a partnership agreement with the State of Michigan Department of Education to address academic performance issues at several district priority schools. Finally, available information also indicates that student test scores on mandated achievement tests have improved over the past couple of years as well as an increase in district graduation rates and a decrease in the drop-out rate.
Given this information, hopefully you can understand the confusion and frustration being expressed by many citizens. For some of us, your decision only contributes to further chaos and disruption in the education of this community’s most important asset, our children. Over the past decade and a half, the Saginaw School District has experienced significant turnover in the Superintendent’s office and other key administrative positions. In our view, it is imperative that the district maintain employment stability with the district’s administrative leadership in order to make progress in addressing the well-documented problems many urban districts, like Saginaw, continue to experience.
In our view it is the responsibility the Saginaw School Board to communicate to this community a clear vision for the district, detail how the district will maintain leadership stability and deliver a high quality education to all students. Thus, we call on the members of the Saginaw School Board to provide precise clarity as to the reasons for not renewing the contract of Mr. McClain. Secondly, we request that the Saginaw School Board articulate to the community its plan for putting in place an effective, experienced and qualified administrative leader for the district by the end of the current school year. Finally, we request that you set forth the definitive criteria you will use in the selection of a new Superintendent and present this information to the community. We are asking that you respond to our request within 30 days.
The NAACP, along with others in the community, feels it is important that Saginaw School Board members address these concerns and issues to immediately quell the chaos and confusion in the community and to avoid a very legitimate fear that many of us have. The potential for direct intervention by the State of Michigan
To paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we accept that from time to time we must accept some disappointment in the decisions of our leaders, but yet most of us remain hopeful about the future. Thus, many gathered here today stand ready to assist your efforts. The important work you have ahead of you requires concerted unity, cooperation and effective leadership.
Our children deserve responsible adult leadership that demonstrates transparency in their decision making and who have an ability to direct the appropriate effort toward delivering the best quality educational program for Saginaw’s children.
We encourage you to move expeditiously to calm the fear, lack of understanding and frustration among citizens in the community. Simply stated, we need to hear from you, our elected leaders regarding your recent action.