EXCLUSIVE & UPDATED: “No Confidence” in Sussex Tech School Board

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Are storm clouds once again gathering over Sussex Tech in Georgetown?  The Sussex Tech School Board has won a vote of “No Confidence” from staff, teachers and support staff, who have accepted the Board’s invitation to the next School Board meeting on June 11.  WGMD has received a copy of a letter sent to the school board ahead of next Monday’s meeting.

“Dear President Cooper,
In an effort of good faith, transparency and professionalism, we are sending this correspondence in advance of the June 11th board meeting. The following statement represents the collective voice of many concerned staff members:
As a result of the incumbent board members’ inability to uphold proper administrative oversight, provide fiscal responsibility, communicate a well-articulated vision for the future of our school and promote a culture of trust and collaboration, 48% of the Sussex Technical High School professional and support staff, many of whom do not benefit from tenure or extended contracts; 63% of the teaching staff; and 100% of the staff members who voted offer a collective “Vote of No Confidence.” As a result, we respectfully ask that School Board President Pat Cooper, Vice-President George Torbert, Teresa Carey, Judy Emory, and Warren Reid voluntarily resign their appointed positions so that the Sussex Technical School District can better serve its students, its staff, and its neighboring communities.
We appreciate the invitation you extended on May 31st via email to have our voices heard and look forward to speaking with you at the June 11th board meeting.
Sincerely,
The Voting Members of Sussex Technical High School”

A year ago the Delaware State Auditor’s office reported that Tech lacked appropriate scrutiny of transactions and enforcement of fiscal policies and procedures.  Sussex Tech’s response to the State Auditor’s report –

“Sussex Technical School District is currently attempting to improve both process and procedure as it pertains to the appropriate scrutiny of transactions and enforcement of fiscal policies. Decreases in personnel over the years has led to many individuals wearing various hats and/or splitting job duties, this has presented challenges as all we are learning and continue to learn their role and responsibilities. Sussex Technical School District will continue to do the best job possible while serving our community. All input will be synthesized and assist with our efforts moving forward. As of June 30, 2017, the contract with Common Sense Solutions (CSS) will come to an end. There are no further plans to utilize CSS’s Construction Management services beyond that point.”

According to the letter to the school board, which was also sent to the State Board of Education and other state and school officials, Sussex Tech fallen shy of remedying the problem.

On July 1st, the Sussex Tech District’s new superintendent will take the helm.  The School Board voted to hire Stephen H. Guthrie as their new Superintendent during the Board’s April meeting. Mr. Guthrie comes to Sussex Tech after serving the past eight years as Superintendent of the 25,500 student Carroll County Public School District in Westminster, Maryland.

UPDATED:  Sussex Tech English teacher, Jinni Forcucci tells WGMD that teachers are reserving any comments with media until our board members have an opportunity to respond to our concerns.  Monday’s School Board meeting is a public meeting.