Parents lash out at Dearborn Heights School Board over Superintendent search

Posted at 11:21 PM, Jun 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-16 05:43:15-04

Frustrated Dearborn Heights parents attended a special school board meeting in droves Thursday night.

"You failed us," said one parent in reaction to votes taken by Dearborn Heights District 7's school board over the search for a new superintendent.

District teacher Jennifer Mast has been serving as interim superintendent of the district since April. In a 4-3 vote, the board on May 16th approved Mast to become the district's permanent superintendent.

But a month later, when voting to approve Mast's contract on June 6th, board member Phil Cubitz skipped the vote.  The board deadlocked at 3-3, essentially cancelling Mast's ascension to superintendent.  Cubitz would resign the next day.

"When there is a tie, the vote fails.  So the contract was not approved," said Dearborn Heights District 7 school board president Marcia LeBar.

That prompted concerned parents to speak out at WXYZ's 20/20 Town Hall. On Thursday night, parents supporting Mast filled the library at Polk Elementary.

"I cant think of anyone better for the job," said one parent who brought a stack of 550 signatures petitioning on Mast's behalf.

A former coach in the district implored the board to find common ground, saying " lets get our lives together get something better for these students so they can look forward to their future."

When it became the public's turn to speak, tensions were already high as board members bickered between each other.

Board member Mandi Diroff verbally objected to Mast being allowed to read a statement.

"That’s not OK with me. It's not part of this agenda," said Diroff.

LeBar allowed Mast to read a prepared statement addressing a Facebook post that's allegedly circulated around the district.  Mast claimed details in the social media post are false. Mast then lodged a complaint of her own against another board member, Vicki Bracket.

Mast claimed Bracket provided privileged information on Mast's contract negotiations with her daughter, a claim Bracket denies.

LeBar notified the board of her intent to rescind the failed contract vote at the next board meeting on June 20th. Supporters of Mast are hoping the move will allow time for a new member to join the board and a revote on Mast's contract.