Rockford Schools Superintendent Presses on Despite School Board Turmoil

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Just days into the new school year, tensions are already boiling over on Rockford's school board.

Do you have any thoughts on Tuesday's special meeting?" reporter Brad Broders asked.

“No comment," Superintendent Dr. Dennis Thompson said.

The superintendent declined his thoughts on board member Mike Williams written request for his resignation. While Thompson is silent, other board members shared their thoughts with 23 News by phone.

Member Bob Evans labeled Williams' move as stunning, a bolt out of the blue. While Evans doesn't know what, if any, action will be taken Tuesday, he said sometimes you see the seeds of dispute, and sometimes you don't.

School Board President Nancy Kalchbrenner was also surprised, adding Williams' letter demanded immediate discussion before the next scheduled board meeting weeks away.

Meanwhile, Thompson zeroed in on classroom related issues Saturday in front of Rockford's League of Women Voters. The superintendent says he's encouraged by the early results of people calling the district-run truancy hotline.

"I think nine (phone calls) is pretty good. I've been driving all over the city, going to schools, and I have to tell you, I don't see, I haven't seen any kids on the street, so they're either hiding indoors or they're in school. I'm hoping it's the latter," Thompson said.

Thompson also defended the new alternative school, formerly Wilson Middle. He argues the school's staff is ready and trained to harness the district's troubled teens.

"This is really the school that's designed to help children. We've got the right people in there to do that. We just have to stop what we're doing in terms of suspending them out of there, so I'm confident those students see some positive changes while there," Thompson said.

He’s a superintendent moving forward, despite in-house School Board drama lingering on the horizon.

Williams could not be reached for comment. It's unknown whether any resolutions or votes will be made by the School Board on Tuesday's meeting.

In March of 2003, Rockford's School Board voted in favor to terminate the contract of then Superintendent Dr. Alan Brown.

Kalchbrenner says no such resignation attempts have been made during Dr. Thompson's 15 months as superintendent.
The meeting will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Rockford's Board of Education. It is open to the public.