Marietta teachers union votes no confidence in superintendent
MARIETTA, Ohio. (WTAP) - The Marietta Education Association, a local teachers union, gave a vote of no confidence for Superintendent Will Hampton. That vote was announced Wednesday night at a special board meeting.
It’s a vote Union President J.D. Benson said some members had talked about having for some time.
He said 75% of the union voted and 78% of them voted no confidence.
Hampton said of the vote, “Because of the ethical and legal constraints of my position, I can’t properly defend myself to the public...,”
While the poll did not include why teachers had no confidence, Benson told WTAP that members were upset over multiple situations…the overarching theme being Hampton lacking in planning and communication.
One incident brought up was the contract negotiation.
“It took us well past almost a year of negotiations to settle that contract - probably at least eight months and that was a little frustrating because we just were not being able to reach the same levels of negotiations,” Benson said.
Hampton suspected that hurt feelings over the contract negotiation was part of the reason for the vote.
He said, “When our negotiations began, we were in an incredibly difficult financial position and, over the course of almost nine months, our position changed and it changed significantly.”
Hampton added that, while negotiations were happening, the school system was also downsizing its staffing, which ended in over 30 employees being notified that they lost their job.
Other incidents Benson mentioned include the failed school levy, an alleged lack of efficient planning with the consolidation in which a couple buildings were closed, and the handling of Covid.
“Obviously the Covid pandemic has come around and just sometimes the handling of whether we’re wearing masks or not wearing masks and all of those different things. All that comes with being a leader...,” Benson added.
What comes next after this vote of no confidence is in the hands of the Board of Education. They’re in charge of whether or not Hampton’s contract gets renewed.
The board’s president, Eric Reed, said, “..., and I promise the community that, when the decision is made, we will articulate why that decision was made, and what the path forward is.”
Reed added that the board will try and talk with the union about the situation.
“We care about our community, we care about our administrators, the rest of our staff, and their opinions. Most importantly we care about the kids so we have to make the decision that’s in the best interest of our students...,” Reed said.
He also clarified that the decision should be made by March first.
Still, Hampton is looking forward.
He said, “Our better days are in front of us. I really believe that and right now we’re starting to see some of the data that is showing that the changes that we’re making are having an impact on the learning of our kids.”
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