A member of the South Bend school board, frustrated with how things are going within the district, is resigning.
Roger Parent says he will step down at the end of the month after more than five years of service.
His resignation came as a surprise to other board members, but they say they could tell he was discouraged by some of the dysfunction on the board and what he felt was a deteriorating relationship with the superintendent.
Parent handed in his letter of resignation on Thursday. In it, he says he worked hard to elevate standards in the district, giving the example that he helped establish a minimum 2.0 GPA for students who want to participate in extracurricular activities.
Now, he says its impossible for him to be productive as a board member and that he's obliged to resign because he says he cannot make a significant difference.
"I understand how he feels," said fellow School Board member Bill Sniadecki. "He's frustrated, and I've been frustrated. I don't like the way the school corporation, the direction it's going and how the superintendent is handling things."
On the other hand, School Board member Michelle Engel says, "I don't sense that myself at all. Do I sense that from him? Of course, I do. He's made his frustrations public, but I'm not frustrated at all and have a lot of hope, and I wish he was staying around to participate in the positive change that we're making."
Parent sent WSBT a copy of his resignation letter -
I resign my position as Trustee-at-large of the South Bend Community School Corporation effective May 31, 2014. I’ve worked hard to increase expectations for our schools by trustees, administrators, teachers, students and their parents. As one example, upon taking my seat on the board in January, 2009, I pushed successfully for a mandate that students must maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA to participate in extracurricular activities. Throughout my tenure, I’ve continued my efforts to elevate expectations and standards in many other areas.
I’ve spent thousands of hours doing what was possible to improve the schooling of our students, with considerable success. Now, I find that the prevailing circumstances have made it impossible for me to be productive as a trustee on important challenges facing the district. Since, as a matter of principle, I don’t stay on a board unless I can make a significant difference, I’m obliged to resign. Furthermore, to continue on the board not being able to satisfy fully my oath to serve our community would be a disservice to our students.
I commend the many hard working persons who prepare our students to be productive citizens in today’s world. Serving our citizens and students for the past 5 ½ years has been an honor for which I’m very grateful.
Statement from Superintendent Carole Schmidt:
"We are sorry to receive Mr. Parent's letter of resignation from the Board of School Trustees. During his tenure on the Board he provided his extensive experience and leadership toward improving the district. It is with great appreciation that we acknowledge his service and commitment to the South Bend Community School Corporation's staff, students, and families. He will be missed and we also wish him well in all future endeavors."
Read more from the South Bend Tribune: http://www.southbendtribune.com/news/community/roger-parent-leaving-south-bend-school-board/article_86e71102-d145-11e3-ac97-001a4bcf6878.html