The Clay Community School Corporation Board of Trustees met Thursday at the North Clay Media Center to discuss the non-renewal of administrative contracts to a standing room only crowd.
A 4-2-1 vote resulted in the termination of North Clay Middle School Principal Jeff Allen's contract and the resignation of Clay City Elementary Principal Jon Russell, with both having the option to stay in the corporation as teachers.
With all seven members of the board present, discussion ensued.
"In all the years that I have been on the board, the topic of students transitioning to the middle school has been a common thread with people in the past," board member Ted Jackson said to the crowd.
"I have never received as many phone calls about any topic as I have had about this one," he continued. "I think it would be a mistake and though I have my opinions and facts, I am an elected member in the community and based on my experience and the conversations with parents I will not support this."
With a round of applause from the audience, the topic continued to gather steam.
"I have heard very positive things about (Allen)," board member Tina Heffener said. "It is not an end-all, I would encourage you to stay in the corporation as a teacher as well as request a meeting with the board."
"I encourage people to voice their opinion on this matter and give feedback," she added.
Dottie King spoke next and commented on how she missed the meeting where this was discussed because of her husband's father being ill.
"I was a little surprised," she commented. "As well as being very sad by this decision, and I am not convinced the board allowed the right process to take place."
Amidst the applause from the crowd, board member Forrest Buell voiced his decision and reasons for his vote.
"Since I have been on the board, I have wanted to learn what was going on in the middle school," he said. "I don't feel that I know enough about the situation or about (Allen) to make a decision, so I will abstain."
In the closing discussion board member Terry Barr, who was noticeably upset, commented on the issue.
"Regardless of what has happened, we are here and this is an issue that I have struggled with, but with the information that we have and with what we are basing it off of this is the best decision," Barr said.
The vote was motioned by board member Jennifer Kaelber, with Heffener giving the second.
Board President Brian Atkinson, Barr, Heffener and Kaelber voted in favor of nonrenewal, while King and Jackson voted no. Buell abstained.
Russell, who submitted his resignation from his position as principal, was voted in favor 7-0 with the option of staying within the corporation as a teacher.