SCARBOROUGH (NEWS CENTER Maine) — The Scarborough school board is offering a compromise to changes in school starting times, as a way to ease tensions in the community.
Tensions have been high since high school principal David Creech submitted his resignation. His attorney and supporters say he was forced out by the superintendent. They also say one of the reasons was because of his opinions on those new starting times.
School board members discussed a compromise by scaling back their proposed changes to school starting times. From 8:50 a.m. to 8 a.m. for middle and high school students and from 8 a.m. up to 8:50 a.m. for K-5 students. Some parents say it’s too late for compromise, because they no longer trust the board.
“I have asked for a compromise, you ignored me, the community has asked for a compromise, you ignored them,” said parent Alicia Giftos.
While the topic was school starting times, the elephant in the room was the resignation of principal Creech.
“Listen to us, hear us, hear these kids, hear these parents, hear your community and bring back our principal,” said parent Kristen Nilsen.
One board member made good on her promise to leave if audience members failed to stick to the matter being discussed and tried to speak about Creech.
“We are here for a specific issue. They did not respect that. I’m not gonna sit and listen to it anymore,” said member Jackie Perry after she left the room.
The issue of starting times brought out both opponents and supporters. Several people praised the board and the superintendent for their work on this issue and urged them to stick to their original proposal.
“While the compromise seems what’s best for the community right now, compromising ignores the scientific research that says our kids really need to be starting after 8:30,” said Betsy Chalmers, an Ed Tech at the Wentworth School.
Earlier in the day, Scarborough High School teachers voted 83-1 that they have no confidence in Superintendent Julie Kukenberger. Kukenberger said she only learned of that when she arrived for the meeting.
“I’m not going to say that that feels good, but I know I will continue to work hard for this community and do the best I can,” she said.
Kukenberger says she hopes the offer of a compromise will begin the healing process for this community. A vote could come at the board’s meeting on April 5.