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The Optimist

The student news site of Bloomington High School South

The Optimist

The student news site of Bloomington High School South

The Optimist

School Board takes over scheduling decision from Hauswald

Cheers erupted from the crowd last night as the MCCSC School Board voted to take scheduling matters into their own hands, stripping the decision from Superintendent Dr. Jeff Hauswald. Due to this transfer in power, the board was allowed to vote for a delay of any proposed changes to the schedule until the 2025-2026 school year at the earliest. 

The meeting began with 45 public comments, taking two and a half hours, with a range of community members showing up to share their opinions and show support for others doing the same. 

Many MCCSC parents highly disapprove of this proposed change. North parent R.J. Woodring, who is an Associate Dean at the O’Neill School at IU said, “It seems to be driven by administrative arrogance.” South parent, Chris Martoglio, agreed, saying, “You get an F in real-world change management” when addressing Hauswald. 

Several spoke of the distrust they feel toward Hauswald. Some community members who have supported MCCSC in the past said the lack of trust in the administration is causing some to reconsider their position on the school referendum that is up for a vote on Nov. 7. North parent and public school advocate Emily Reynolds said, “Trust is the thing that keeps us connected and without it, we fall apart.”  

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Signage from those in the audience also shared student opinions. One sign read, “I should be studying,” as South approaches finals over the next two days. In addition to this stress, a number of speakers shared about the toll this process has taken on students. South junior Jael Davis said, “These changes have not only caused stress for our teachers but also for our students.” 

South student Noah Torres said that South’s teachers and trimester schedule has allowed him to create an academically balanced schedule that has helped him deal with some challenging circumstances. Torres said, “It severely angers me to see these [teachers] that I have so much respect for being completely neglected like this.”

After hearing from the public comments, the Board Agenda planned to progress to other matters, had it not been for one Board Member, April Hennessey, who spoke up and changed the course of the evening. 

The original agenda did not include Board discussion on the schedule change because it was originally a Superintendent decision and thus did not require Board discussion or approval. However, Hennessey interrupted to offer an amendment to the agenda. The Board agreed, thus adding “New Business Item 5.06: Scheduling As a Board Voting Matter.” The Board had an at-length discussion concerning the schedule change and eventually voted in favor (4 to 3) to take over the schedule change decision, also including the following in the decision:

  • Gather feedback and collect data from focus groups 
  • Share data in a transparent and timely manner
  • Create a citizen’s advisory committee to help evaluate data, research potential solutions, and recommend a course of action
  • Consult the Teacher’s Association (union)
  • Revise the timeline for potential change to move to the 2025-2026 school year at the earliest

The amount of time spent on this issue and the stress and anxiety it has caused has had an effect on mental health. Davis said the impact of the proposed changes “can be underestimated when it comes to the stress and anxiety that they can trigger.” She also said, “We are offering a path forward. We wish for a more transparent and inclusive decision-making process. I do not want this change. I am tired of speaking and not being heard!” 

Finally, the Board of Trustees members took action. They hope to improve this process by building in more layers for feedback and data sharing and slowing it down to do so properly. As the final decision was made, the crowd cheered and South’s Jake Cocalis even waved to the camera to celebrate with those watching online. With the board’s action, there will be no schedule change next year.

The full meeting can be viewed here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8IRuAmtI-k

 

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