Throughout the last few months of negotiation between the Iron Mountain Education Association and the Iron Mountain School Board and administrators, our school's finances have been a topic of concern.
Iron Mountain's School Board has repeated several times that our financial situation started many years ago. With this being said, we have questioned why the district would then hire eight new teachers in the fall of 2012, only to lay off 10 teachers the following spring carrying over into the 2013-14 school year. This was financially irresponsible.
Recently, the Iron Mountain Education Association was given Mr. Jayne's board assessment of superintendent performance while he was superintendent for the Forest Park School district.
As a union, we were shocked to see that Mr. Jayne's lowest evaluation score was in the area of Financial Relations. This section of the evaluation included budget preparation and management, forecasting future financial needs, management of investments and cash reserves, financial reports, and dealing with over budget line items. Mr. Jayne received a 2.2 on a scale of -2 (poor) to +5 (outstanding). Some of the evaluation comments included:
"No more on the spur spending," and, "Mr. Jayne must show substantial growth and knowledge concerning the finances and budget. The board is very disappointed and concerned that there has been little improvement in this area."
These are very strong words on an evaluation.
If our school district was heading into financial concerns when we were hiring for a new superintendent in 2011, shouldn't we have been looking for a very strong candidate that had finance as their strength, not their weakness?
When hiring in any field, we would think that a company would look at their company's needs and try to fill that position with a candidate that will make the company better.
When a school district hires a new teacher, they would take the strongest candidate for the job, based on the position available. They wouldn't hire a social studies teacher if math scores were down in a district - they would be looking for the strongest math candidate to turn the situation around.
These actions by the board are reprehensible. This continued lack of financial insight by Mr. Jayne is apparent. Iron Mountain's Board of Education is showing irresponsibility with their complacency and their unwillingness to see the problem at hand.
Please also consider attending Iron Mountain's next school board meeting on Monday, April 14, at 6 p.m. at the Iron Mountain high school auditorium to ask about your concerns and questions.
Retired IMEA teacher
On behalf of the Iron Mountain Education Association