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Board pauses to consider resignation

BAYVIEW — Bayview School students have started a petition drive to keep Scott Mauk as director of their school.

But it may not be enough to keep the popular leader of Bayview School in place. Mauk is deeply dissatisfied with the status quo in his role as teacher and director for the alternative school and said he still plans to step down from the director position.

“I don’t feel like fighting about it anymore,” Mauk said. “I’m tired.”

“I have asked that my job be a principalship because I don’t believe anyone can do a good job teaching and being an administrator,” he added. “That’s not good for kids.”

“I guess the district believes differently,” Mauk said.

Mauk submitted a letter of resignation to the school district in early March. During last week’s school board meeting, however, Mauk’s desire to step down came up again. The school board gave itself a month to figure out what to do about Mauk’s departure.

The school board had hoped to discuss Mauk’s resignation letter as part of an overall talk on personnel issues. But plans changed after several people spoke out in support of Mauk during the meeting.

Debbie Torget, of Freeland, is a mother of Bayview School students. She wanted the board to hold off on any decisions it might make about Mauk.

“I ask you to take no action on Mr. Mauk’s letter of resignation at this time so that decisive actions aren’t taken that will limit options and opportunities available to the school,” Torget said.

“Scott’s like the light in my darkness; all of ours,” added Heather Nielsen, a Bayview School student.

Nielsen later started a petition drive to keep Mauk in place.

“Basically, if something is going wrong, he is who we go to,” Nielsen said. “He is the person who gives us voice. He gives us something to look forward to every day at school.”

District Superintendent Fred McCarthy said the school board has not officially accepted Mauk’s resignation as director of Bayview, and Mauk had indicated earlier that he wanted to finish out the school year as director.

“The board has to accept his resignation for it to take place,” McCarthy explained.

Mauk submitted his resignation letter to McCarthy on March 6. The letter said Mauk did not want to serve as director for the school but that he’d stay on as a teacher.

Mauk said later he needs more teachers — teachers that the district likely will not provide.

“There are a lot of reasons I think we need an increase in staffing. Most

of them revolve around having to do too much with too little,” he said.

“We currently have no special education teacher. In order for us to serve

everybody, and stay in compliance with the state, we need a designated

special education teacher. That’s new staffing. That’s just one piece,” he said.

More opportunities are what the students need, he said.

“We serve about 110 to 120 students every year, in order for us to hang on to those, rather than lose them to dropping out, we need to expand opportunities for them,” Mauk said.

“The increased teaching force will allow us to spend more time with individual students who are at risk of dropping out, rather than doing triage, choosing the ones we know we can ‘save’ and letting go of those that will take too much work.”

“We have the most vulnerable, challenged and challenging kids in the district. It takes more energy and resources than we are given to do that,” he added. “I think I have proposed a funding model that will be more self-sustaining than it appears at first glance. In order to grow and serve all the kids, we need a little more than we have.”

It all comes back to state formulas for funding, McCarthy said.

“He wants more staffing than what we can provide through formulas,” McCarthy said, noting that there had been incremental additions to the teaching staff and made other improvements at the school.

McCarthy also noted that a school needs 250 students before a principal is added to the staff; Bayview School has an average of 90 students.

“Part of the challenge for Mr. Mauk is that he’s such a good teacher. And he likes to teach and he wants to teach and the students want him to teach,” McCarthy said. “But there are also a number of administrative tasks that need to be done in a school and you can’t do two jobs. You can’t teach all day and do the administration. Where he sees the answer of adding another teacher, we see it as how you’re using your existing resources.”

“I have the greatest respect for Scott Mauk,” McCarthy added. “I think he cares about his students. And I think he works hard at what he does. I understand his frustration. It’s a typical frustration of a school district not having enough state provided resource to provide support that you’d like to put in each school.”

Spencer Webster can be reached at 221-5300 or swebster@southwhidbeyrecord.com.

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