School Board Hears Public Support for Litchfield Principal
Thu, 04 Oct 2018 10:26:41 CDT
During a special Litchfield School Board meeting Wednesday evening, two members of the public spoke in support of High School Principal Doug Hoster, who has been on administrative leave since September 13, following allegations of misconduct.
Former school board President Jeff Helgen was the first person to speak in front of the crowded Panther Gymnasium. He began his speech by saying as a former member of the board, he understood the difficult position board members were in as they were not allowed to respond during the public comment portion of the meeting. He then expressed his concerns over the way the board and Superintendent Debbie Poffinbarger have handled Hoster's situation, saying he believes certain employees in the district have had targets on their backs, which he said should never be the case. He also said school board members should not have hidden agendas, as some members have allegedly been accused of having.
Helgen also noted the substantial changes in staff that have occurred since Poffinbarger took over as superintendent. He concluded by saying that he believes employees and residents of the district have lost confidence in the board and superintendent. He said he fears the district's reputation is taking a hit negatively and the ability to recruit top employees will continue to be increasingly difficult as a result.
The other person to speak on behalf of Hoster, who was not in attendance, was Scott Schmidt. The gentleman said he has known the principal for a long time, and even called Hoster “one of the finest principals the school has had in many years.” He also said, "if the district loses him, it will be a sad day."
After Schmidt concluded, the board moved to enter into closed session, where they remained for almost an hour and a half. Once returning to open session at 7:40 p.m., the board voted to adjourn without taking any action.
The next regularly scheduled Litchfield school board meeting is set for Thursday, October 18, at 6 p.m.
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