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Marion Community Divided After Superintendent’s Contract Renewed

A community divided.

The Marion superintendent’s contract was renewed, but now there is some backlash to that decision.

It all started last Friday when the Marion school board met at the elementary school to evaluate the superintendent.

Marion public school board members voted five to two to renew Mort Meier’s contract as superintendent.

It all stems from a noncompliance letter the state issued in November of 2015.

As a result, Marion public schools’ Title I funds have been frozen.

We had a crew at the meeting last week, most of which was behind closed doors and not many questions were answered.

9&10’s Taylor Jones spent her day in Marion Wednesday trying to get some answers.

We spent lots of time in Marion working to get questions answered from both superintendent Mort Meier and the MEA.

“Marion is the highest school district in the area with a poverty rate of 33 percent. The Title I and II funds are allocated from the state and federal government to assist students in math and reading,” says Chad Williams, MEA.

The superintendent’s contract renewal concern to the MEA especially after Title I funds were frozen in a district that needs that money.

“To provide resources in the form of books, staff support, staff to provide one on one assistance with those students.The loss of those funds is exacerbated by the high need that exists in that district,” says Williams.

But the superintendent says the Title I funds being frozen was a miscommunication with the state back in 2015.

“We then go through and adjust our plan, then we send that plan off to Lansing, then we wait to hear form Lansing to say your plan looks good, now provide the evidence that shows your completing the plan, that piece of communication didn’t occur so we have been on hold. Our Title One plan is in place, we have instructors doing the Title One instruction, all the boys and girls are getting the instruction they need and typical in a fiscal year Title One funds are released throughout the year in Lansing,” says Meier.

The MEA is also concerned after conducting a survey for teachers as part of the superintendent’s evaluation. Some of the responses were alarming. But Mr. Meier says a lot of those comments are not true.

“In the survey, one of the points is I arrive late and leave early, it’s just not true. What concerns me is we do what we can for our students and that is what we are doing, is a very good job for our students and frankly I don’t know who filled out the survey. Its anonymous no one signs their name, do we know it was the teachers? I don’t know that,” says Meier.

Other teacher comments say Meier "doesn’t realize how poorly he does his job."

But some on the survey were positive saying Meier "genuinely cares about students."