Petition confuses North Bolivar leaders
by Rory Doyle
Jul 18, 2013 | 2520 views | 0 0 comments | 42 42 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A group of disgruntled Shelby citizens created a stir Monday at the monthly North Bolivar School District Board of Trustees meeting.

According to Superintendent Jesse King, the upset citizens were calling for the resignation of three of the board's five members, but King is not completely sure of the group's motives.

"I don't exactly know what their issue is and why they're upset," King said. "They have not come before us with a defined list of issues."

King said the group did not disrupt the meeting's flow but waited until the end and handed the board a petition of signatures demanding the resignations to the board attorney.

"My understanding is that those people are upset about some information they were given that's not founded," he added.

While King has yet to confirm, he believes their dissatisfaction stems from personnel matters, including the recent resignation of Broad Street High School principal Lisa Davis.

According to King, Davis, who served for one year at the school, chose to resign and accept the principal position at South Pike Senior High School in Magnolia.

"I believe they might be disgruntled because they think she was forced to leave or asked to leave — which simply is not true," said King. "We even welcomed her to rescind her decision when she announced she would be leaving."

The district recently hired Tommy Molden to replace Davis. Molden previously served as the principal at Greenville-Weston 9th Grade Academy.

Mel Brooks-Thomas, a Shelby native, is one of the leaders calling out the district and is also the person who handed the signatures to the attorney.

Brooks-Thomas said there are a number of topics concerning to the group but a few major issues have given them the motivation to speak up.

She alleges that Davis was pushed out of her position and was not treated fairly by the male members of the board.

Brooks-Thomas also said there have been multiple trepidations about how district money is being used and the legality of budget distribution.

Lastly, she alleges that a NBSD bus driver has repeatedly neglected children by abandoning them on busses instead of returning them to their homes.

"Our long-term goal is about the safety of our children and parents," said Brooks-Thomas. "We are going to fight for our children — we are going to wake up the community and the school. We want the state to take over the district.

"This is why we've taken this to the attorney general."

While King said the opposition would not inhibit the district from moving forward with normal operations, he is troubled by the negative stigma surrounding the outspoken citizens, especially considering he has no knowledge of policy violations by anyone on the board.

"This is not preventing us but it is concerning," said King. "We have a number of new Teach For America teachers just arriving, new staff and new students. We don't want them to feel discouraged about choosing this district.

"They don't deserve a negative experience. This issue of disgruntlement is perplexing to us."

King said he was not aware of any rules that allow petitions to dictate school boards, and NBSD remains focused on the upcoming school year and improving student achievement.

"We have to work together, communicate and discuss our issues and concerns," added King. "I encourage anyone who is upset to come talk with us individually or talk to us as a committee.

"I have always told the board and the community that we can not be divided. We need to stick together and do what's best for the children."

For the meantime, King said things would move forward as professionally and efficiently as possible. He does not expect this to be an ongoing issue unless citizens ask to be put on the agenda at the board's meeting scheduled next month.

The Bolivar Commercial will provide ongoing coverage of this situation as it develops.