FLORA, Ind. (WLFI) - After two months of community members battling against this decision, the Carroll Consolidated School board made its final vote. It will not renew Carroll Elementary School Principal Amanda Redmon's contract.
News 18 has been following this story since December. There has consistently been a group of 50 to 100 people showing up to meetings in support of Principal Redmon. More than 850 people signed an online petition asking the board not to end her contract.
Tuesday's meeting started with several prayers. One was a large prayer circle including everyone in the room. They prayed that the board would reconsider its stance on Principal Redmon. Next, the board opened the start of the meeting with a prayer, urging people to "accept things that can't be changed."
The meeting quickly progressed and the decision of Redmon's fate was over in a matter of minutes. The motion was read out to not renew Redmon's contract. Secretary Patrick Hickner quickly took roll call, and it was decided. President Bordner, Vice President Allbaugh, Secretary Hickner and Member Jon Johnson all voted in favor of the motion. Member Eric Johnson voted against it.
"I hoped our voices would be heard," said Kristen Ray, a supporter of Principal Redmon.
After the decision was made, there were several audience members left in tears. Some shouted at the board members as they left the stage. One mom stood and said her child will not take the ILEARN test this year. She told News 18 this was because he told her he was scared his teacher would be fired next.
This is also the first time we are hearing a response from the school board in the form of a written statement. News 18 has asked school board members to speak on camera after each meeting, to which they have declined.
The statement read this in full:
"The Board of Trustees would like to first express their thanks to the residents of the School Corporation for their civic engagement over the past two months. It is encouraging to see so many people aware of and invested in their child's education. We have thoughtfully reviewed all public input shared with us through social media, email and phone calls.
The law does not require public input at this meeting, and we are confident that there have been ample opportunities for public input over the past two months. Further public comment during the meeting would not have been productive. For that reason, we decided to forgo any additional public comment at tonight's meeting.
To protect the privacy of the School employees, the School Corporation does not discuss details pertaining to individual employees. Because of this, we cannot discuss the factors that went into our decision.
We have carefully considered the responsibility of tonight's vote, and as the Board of Trustees, it is our duty to consider not just one employee, but what is best for the students, for the staff, for the school corporation as a whole, and for the taxpayers and community served by Carroll Consolidated School Corporation. We believe our decision tonight reflects that obligation."
Many in the crowd of the Carroll Junior-Senior High School auditorium felt otherwise.
"I'm incredibly disappointed as both a community member, as a staff member and as a parent of an elementary aged student," said Ray.
Dana Crum and Megan Longenecker are long-time friends of Redmon's. They said they were floored, shocked and confused when they first heard Redmon's job was on the line.
"She deserves her position," said Longenecker.
"She's here for the right reasons, she's here for the kids and for the community," said Crum. "We don't live in this community but we're here to support her."
Staff members were also told they were not allowed to hold posters of support for Redmon during the meeting. They all passed their signs to non-staff members in the crowd to still be held up.
"It feels very much like we were dismissed," said Ray. "As a community member, I'm angry that a panel of elected officials did not listen to what the public wanted."
Principal Redmon will continue to serve as principal at Carroll Elementary School until the end of the school year. After the meeting, Redmon's husband urged the crowd to get out and vote in the next school board election.
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