Liverpool residents petition district FOCUS Academy, Dr. Johns

Nearly 100 Liverpool residents came out on Saturday to sign petitions calling for alterations to the preliminary Liverpool Central School District budget and the resignation of Superintendent Richard Johns.

The two separate petitions were made available for signatures to district residents March 19 at the American Legion Post 188 in the village. Concerned residents Sharon Yager, Julie Matson and Pat Ruf provided information to those that stopped by, and encouraged individuals to sign both petitions during the event.

"This is by no means a witch hunt," said Yager. "We just want the board [of education] to see that people have concerns, and we'd like them to reevaluate the situation."

Yager, the brains behind the petition text, has an eighth grader at Liverpool Middle School and two children that have graduated from the district. While she has been one of the more vocal residents during this year's budget season, Yager prefers to think of herself as a "co-leader" of the petition movement.

Red flags were raised for the Liverpool mom starting with the closure of Wetzel Road Elementary. It was then that she began paying closer attention to the actions of Dr. Johns and the board of education. After her numerous questions about district spending were left unanswered, and Dr. Johns stated that he should have taken more time to consider the closure of WRE in a television interview, she had had enough. She compiled the petition text and set out to collect signatures door-to-door.

"This isn't just about my child, but our children," Yager said.

Julie Matson, mother of a ninth grade daughter at the Annex, has been attending board meetings since Dr. Johns was hired in 2009, and her distaste for the superintendent has also grown.

"Sharon's been saying a lot of the same things that I've been thinking," Matson said, so she decided to get involved with the petitions and help spread information to those that may be less informed on the topic.

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