Greenville community members address Superintendent Douglas Fries


GREENVILLE — During the participation portion of the school board Thursday, Dave and Stacy Urnst addressed the Greenville School Board, specifically Superintendent Douglas Fries.

Dave Urnst asked Fries three questions. First, he asked Fries if he was happy with everything he has done while working as the superintendent for Greenville City Schools. Fries said he was but felt there was always more to do. Urnst then asked Fries if he was content with being the superintendent and if he was why he had applied to several other superintendent positions last summer and this winter.

Fries denied ever applying to Troy City Schools

“I think a person is always entitled to see what’s best for a family and different things and different locations,” Fries said.

He said there were some personal family issues factoring into the best decision regarding his career. Later in the meeting, the board passed a motion in which Fries would be considering retiring on July 21 and would be seeking to be rehired to the board.

Stacy Urnst has a concern with the school hours for the elementary being changed to 9 to 4. She wanted to know why it was being changed and who decided it would be a good idea.

Fries said the elementary principals and the transportation department brought this to the forefront. He said they thought it would solve some attendance and transportation issues.

“My understanding is that there is no issue with busing,” Stacy Urnst said.

She said there was nothing wrong with kids getting picked up on time or getting to school on time, so she said she didn’t understand why the time was being moved. Fries said after everything was looked after through the principals, transportation and administrative team, changing the school hours would not be a huge negative.

Stacy Urnst said the times for the elementary have been changed, equating to nearly a half hour difference over the last few years.

“So you think moving the time is going to make a difference with attendance?” Stacy Urnst said.

Fries said a lot of parents are dropping off the kids late and as a result, a large number of children are tardy. He said they were moving the time back to see if this would change those number of tardies.

She said the transportation department did not request the change to the time, rather it was a suggestion. She said the time change was an issue for the elementary school staff. It would make it harder to schedule doctor’s appointments and as a result, more subs would be needed to cover those later appointments.

“If an attendance issue, then I personally don’t feel that that has anything to do with the teachers or the busing. It’s more of a parent issue and that needs to be addressed, not to move the time,” Stacy Urnst said.

In other business: Laura Bemus was approved, with a vote of four to one, for a two-year contract for the 2018-19 school year to be the assistant superintendent/director of curriculum and instruction. Board member Fred Matix voted no for this new contract, saying she should not be working a four day work week, regardless if she works from home.

The next board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. June 21.

By Mary Jones

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