Ray Elementary Local School Council abandons task of picking new principal

Ray’s deadlocked local school council listens to the audience during last week’s meeting at Ray, 5631 S. Kimbark Ave. -Marc Monaghan
Ray’s deadlocked local school council listens to the audience during last week’s meeting at Ray, 5631 S. Kimbark Ave.

-Marc Monaghan


Staff Writer

The Ray Elementary Local School Council did not choose a new principal Thursday at its final meeting of the school year. The group is leaving the process up to the incoming members of the council, said LSC chairman Gordon Mayer.

The meeting, which took place in the lunchroom at Ray, 5631 S. Kimbark Ave., began with a brief overview of the principal candidates’ meet and greet sessions with the community and teachers Monday and Tuesday and an open comments period. After a four-hour closed session the LSC returned to open session to report that they had not made a decision on a principal candidate.

“We have no decision, we are deadlocked,” Mayer said.

He said the LSC could not get a majority vote on its two finalists Beth Bazer and Lisa Dallacqua, and even brought interim principal Toni Hill back into consideration but the idea did not receive enough support. An alternative decision to give Network Nine the names of three candidates and allow it to choose the school’s next leader also did not receive enough votes.

The current LSC’s 90-day period to select a principal ends on June 26. The group said it will not attempt to vote again.

The network will appoint an interim principal, who will start July 1, while the new LSC begins a new principal search. The network can retain Hill as interim principal at Ray if she has not accepted a position at another school.

During the open comments session parents expressed their disappointment in the LSC’s inability to make a final decision.

“I am outraged,” said Ray parent Silvia Ellis. “Not making a final decision was a terrible idea.”

Ellis said this was the worst thing that the LSC could have done because it is “putting the next LSC in a precarious situation.”

Ray parent Terri Roback said the LSC failed in its responsibility to keep the culture of the school intact because its decision alienated teachers.

“The culture is going to seep out of the school by way of our teachers,” Roback said. “It was the incumbents’ responsibility to take care of our school culture. We missed our chance to rebuild the culture of our school.”

Steve Daniels, Ray parent, said the lack of a decision may also cause some parents to remove their children from the school.

“The people in the neighborhood are voting with their feet,” Daniels said. “[The LSC] has made the problem worse I am profoundly disappointed.”