SoCal not to renew middle school principal’s contract

The South Callaway School Board is tight-lipped about its reasons for voting against renewing Middle School Principal Michael Auer’s contract for the 2011-12 school year.

The decision was made during an executive session at its Feb. 9 meeting, at which time — according to meeting minutes — the board discussed employment of district administrators for next school year. According to the meeting minutes, Superintendent Mary Lynn Battles recommended employment of all administrators for the 2011-12 school year. According to the 4-2 vote, some of the board members did not agree regarding Auer’s future with the district.

School Board President Erin Howard said she could not say anything about that meeting.

“I can’t discuss anything with you in regards to executive sessions,” Howard said Tuesday afternoon. “All I can say is the correct policies and procedures were followed.”

Asked why she voted against the motion to employ Auer as middle school principal, Howard said she would not comment because “that is privileged information about an employee.”

Board member Susan Ward — who, along with Gary Jungermann, was one of only two board members to vote in favor of Auer’s employment — also said she could not comment on the board’s reasons for its decision.

She did, however, explain why she supported Auer.

“Michael is showing a lot of growth,” Ward said. “He’s moving in the direction of turning things around at the middle school.

“We’re doing some new programs, and he was leading that. I think he’s a good guy.”

Jungermann offered a little more insight.

“I’ll say this much. The board had voiced concerns over the last several years to upper administration. Numerous members thought it was time to take action,” Jungermann said. “I’m part of the board, so I support that decision.”

He gave a reason similar to Ward’s for his vote to bring Auer back as middle school principal.

“We’re under the second year of a three-year goal. We had some new things at the middle school that we were trying,” Jungermann said. “We were only in the second year ... I felt like when you put up a three year (deadline) you should at least give three years to see if there are any changes.

“That said, it wasn’t all just about that. There were several other reasons.”

Like the board members, Battles said she would not comment on anything that happened or was discussed during the Feb. 9 executive session. She said Auer — whom Ward said has been with the district for approximately 10 years and has served as middle school principal for seven years — has earned tenure as a teacher with the South Callaway district. Asked whether there would be a teaching position available for Auer next year, Battles said “that is always an option.”

Calls to Auer and to other board members were not returned at press time.

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