With J-E school district's leadership in turmoil, community demands some answers

A flood of unexplained actions at the top of the Jordan-Elbridge School district's administration has left community members in the dark -- they're upset, and they're ready for answers.

High School Principle David Zehner was put on paid suspension Monday. William Hamilton, assistant superintendent for business and finance, was suspended in July and has been receiving a paycheck ever since.

J-E Superintendent Marilyn Dominick, who retires Nov. 1, refused to comment on personnel issues. School Board President Mary Alley could not be reached for comment.

Community members are concerned that administrators have been fired without due justification.

"If the teacher did something criminal, then get them out of there. If they didn't, put them in there until formal charges are made," said Mary Jo Wick, a J-E alumni who has two children in the district. Wick is also a member of the Jordan-Elbridge Parent Teacher Association.

Wick has scheduled a public meeting at 6 p.m. tonight at the Elbridge Fire Station on Route 5 to allow people to voice their concerns. It's also a chance for the community to organize its message in time for the Oct. 6 school board meeting, Wick said.

"I'm hoping that tonight we as taxpayers and community members can come up with good solid statements and questions to present to the board," Wick said.

A similar meeting was held in July following the transfer of Janice Schue from Elbridge Elementary Principle to a newly created job as special projects administrator in the district office. Based on the attendance of that meeting, Wick expects that most people who work in the district will not be in attendance tonight for fear of jeopardizing their jobs.

Wick has been contacted by concerned parents, J-E alumni, and business owners in the community who are not only concerned about the affect the turmoil is having on taxes, but on the reputation of Elbridge as a whole. She expects a large turnout tonight. If the attendance reaches a certain number, the meeting will be moved from the meeting room to the engine room, which "might take a few minutes," Wick said.

Organizers will provide a sign up sheet at the door for those interesting in speaking. People will also have the opportunity to write their question on an index card, to be read anonymously.

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