Archive for Thursday, March 30, 2006

Poplin is out as BHS principal; policies are eyed

March 30, 2006

At a meeting centered on policy review, administrator reviews and the Insight Schools proposal, the Baldwin Board of Education decided not to renew Baldwin High School principal Allen Poplin's contract Monday night.

After a long executive session, the school board voted 6-1 to not renew Poplin's contract.

"The board decided it was time for a change," Board Member Ande Parks said.

Supt. James White declined to elaborate, claiming it is a personnel issue. Only Board President Lonnie Broers voted against the measure.

Poplin said he was surprised at the vote.

"I was completely floored by the board's decision," Poplin said. "School administration has become much more political and school administrators are now at the hands of the school board."

Poplin joined the district in 1992 as assistant principal at BHS. He became principal in the fall of 2001 and will complete five years at that position.

"I have absolutely loved my time with the Baldwin students and community," Poplin said. "I brought my family here so they could be a part of the Baldwin community.

"I have always admired Joe Gresnick (former BHS principal and current assistant principal at Baldwin Junior High School) and everything he has done," said Poplin, who replaced Gresnick. "I am proud of the achievements we have made in the last 14 years. We had added many opportunities for student learning. I am also proud of the recognition we have received on state assessments."

The other seven building principals and Curriculum Director Connie Wehmeyer had their one-year contracts renewed with a 7-0 vote.

Monday's special meeting was called to begin the school board's policy review with the help of the Kansas Association of School Boards.

Paul Getto, KASB policy specialist, met with the board and administrators about how to begin the policy review. Getto brought the audit that KASB did of the board's policy handbook. Then, he gave ideas on where to begin the review.

"What you need to do, in my opinion, is start the editing process in the next few weeks or months," Getto said. "Then, eventually, get a hard copy back to me. I think a lot of it is keeping up and paying attention."

Broers said the board has been reviewing the policies over time, but needed to update all of them.

"Over the years, the board has been reviewing the policies a section at a time," Broers said. "This isn't something that's been sitting on the shelf."

KASB's audit selected 44 policies of more than 300 that need attention first. Getto said most of those just deal with state laws and should be easy to fix.

The school board decided to look at those 44 policies and review them at the next meeting on April 10.

White said he was glad to begin the policy review, after the superintendent search postponed it.

"We have been somewhat delayed by other events over the course of the last several months," White said. "It's good to finally get the chance to finally sit down and talk about policy changes that we may need to look at for the future of the school district.

"We plan to have information to board members, administrators and site councils later this week, so that we can input for the meeting on April 10," White said.

The other two pieces of business at the meeting were the Insight Schools' proposal and a bank resolution.

Board Member Scott Lauridsen reported back to the board about his recent conversations with Kirt Nilsson, vice president of Insight Schools. Lauridsen said Insight Schools decided to hold off on looking at Baldwin or any other Kansas school this year.

"He (Nilsson) didn't want the board to vote on this, because it is too late for this year to think about it any further," Lauridsen said. "I don't think they want us to go into anything we don't understand. The financial proposal was looking a little less attractive than originally proposed."

The final piece of business at the meeting happened when the school board voted 7-0 to open a bank account at Baldwin State Bank. The account will be used to receive and disperse funds for its settlement last month on the heating and air quality situation at Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center.

The money in the account will go toward replacing the BESIC air units.

The next school board meeting will be at 7 p.m. April 10 at Vinland Elementary School.

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