Parents, teachers call for Oakridge superintendent removal

Batten says the district and teacher's union have been negotiating a memorandum of understanding since August.

Posted: Dec 13, 2020 6:31 PM

OAKRIDGE, Ore. -- Oakridge has one elementary school and one joint junior senior highschool. It's the center of this community, and teachers and parents say the foundation is cracked.

In their words, communication is virtually nonexistent and now they're calling for change.

"In 22 years of teaching, I have never felt so disrespected and disposable," 14-year Oakridge Jr./Sr. High School Spanish Teacher Karen Batten said.

"The overall lack of trust and respect for the teachers and the staff is leading to a toxic working environment," 6-year music teacher for both schools Michael Wilson said.

RELATED: DOZENS PARTICIPATE IN 'VOICES FOR EDUCATION' RALLY IN OAKRIDGE SUNDAY

Teachers say they only found out they'd be required to teach from the building nine days before the start of the school year.

"As we got closer to the school year, we were told there isn't a plan, we have to wait and we aren't quite ready yet," said Wilson.

"So we either had to scramble for child care, which for me wasn't a choice, because I didn't want to expand my contact circles," Batten said.

Another option was request a leave of absense, which is only paid for 12 weeks.

Batten says the district and teacher's union have been negotiating a memorandum of understanding since August.

"There have been times where the district has stalled for 5 or 6 weeks," Batten said.

Parents say they are fed up.

"I do not get regular communication from my school like I did before superintendent Doland came," Nicole Sulick, mother to an 11th grader at the high school, said.

Sulick said the district is hemmoraging good staff at the hands of Doland.

"She's driving off so many good teachers, and the teachers we do have are not being treated professionally," Sulick said.

The community has created a petition calling for the school board to remove Doland as the superintendent -- saying recent weeks have shed light on a much larger problem being a lack of respect and ethics from the superintendent.

According to them -- there has been no explanation as to why teachers can't teach from home.

Batten even said it was reccomended to her that she resign if she didn't want to teach from the building.

"Resignation just gets mentioned like that's your option if you don't do what I say," said Batten.

The school board will be having a Zoom meeting Monday evening.

"If they are able to conduct their business from home and they don't meet as a group of seven to eight, then we should be allowed to do the same thing," Wilson said.

Public comment is on the school board meeting's agenda, however it says complaints about personnel will not be heard.

We are waiting on a response from the district or the school board on the matter. 

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