Home > Informational, News Articles > D-38 News Article – the Gazette June 22, 2010

D-38 News Article – the Gazette June 22, 2010

June 24, 2010

Some questions have been received regarding this latest article in the Gazette. The article is posted below – click on the title to link to the source, as well as to view the comments. To answer the questions: On Monday, June 21, 2010, Michelle Zeutzius announced her decision NOT to pursue a recall of Board members, due to personal reasons. The Elections Office of the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder has verified that as of Monday, June 28, 2010, no one from District 38 has filed or re-filed a form for petition to recall Board members.

High school principal named acting superintendent in D-38
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June 22, 2010 5:19 PM

John Borman, principal of Lewis-Palmer High School, has been named acting superintendent of Lewis-Palmer School District 38.

The school board Tuesday tapped him to carry out day-to-day business in light of last week’s sudden resignation of Superintendent Raymond Blanch. Later this summer, the board will choose an interim administrator for the coming school year, and will undertake national search for a new superintendent.

Gail Wilson, Jeffrey Ferguson and  Robb Pike voted unanimously for Borman. Two other board members were absent.

Pike said no other administrative changes are planned in the near future.

He noted that Cheryl Wangeman,assistant superintendent of operations, will be working on finances and academics.

“Our job is to get ready for school in August, “ Borman said. “There has been a lot happening that we can’t control, but we can get focused on the school year.”

Borman has been principal since 2007. He has 23  years in education, including 15 in administration. He came to D-38 from Northridge High School in Greeley.

Blanch, who was with the district nine years and superintendent since 2007, said in a resignation letter that he was leaving for “personal and professional reasons,” and  indicated a family member was ill and he might be moving back east to be closer to extended family.

However, his June 30 departure has ignited speculation that he was ousted. Parents supporting him say they are planning a recall of some board members because they were left in the dark if there were problems, and the board has been nonresponsive to community issues.

Michelle Zeutzius, a recall committee member, said petitions will target board members John Mann, Jeffery Ferguson, Mark Pfoff and Robb Pike.

Lewis-Palmer isn’t the only regional district to seek recall of board members who were handily voted in last November.

Last week a group launched a recall against three board members in Harrison School District 2,and last year, two board members narrowly survived a recall attempt in Falcon School District 49.

“It puts board members on notice that you must be accountable to the community and that we want a voice in our schools,” Zeutzius said earlier this week in an interview

Blanch had a two-year contract that began in July 2009  and would have automatically renewed this month.

His resignation letter, dated June 17,  came as a surprise even though a vocal group has been upset for some time about the way various district problems were handled.

“We know he would do best for his family, but the timing is what is leading people to think it was not his choice to leave,” Zeutzius said.  “Our group thought he was doing a good job, and the board has said he has strategic vision.”

In an online letter to the community, the board noted that Blanch’s accomplishments included creating a community-driven strategic vision for the district.

But a community blog and anonymous letters presented to the board say things aren’t rosey in the district, citing low teacher morale and fear of retaliation if they speak up.

Zeutzius said the resignation couldn’t have come at a worse time, considering the district’s financial problems and the resulting school realignments and staff layoffs.

Lewis-Palmer, which has suffered economically because of an enrollment drop and state funding cutbacks, slashed $3 million from the $39 million 2010-2011 school year budget, and eliminated 50 teaching positions.

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