Monday, July 20, 2009

Debbie Wolfmeyers campaign promises

Update - I may be wrong about Wolfmeyers vote on the Edison project. I'm checking into this...

District 150 Board member Debbie Wolfmeyer is vying to become the President of the School Board tonight, after a 3 - 3 tie at the last board meeting. She was absent at that meeting, and will presumably vote for herself this evening, giving her the win unless one of the original three board members that voted for her changes their vote.

Our District 150 Watch group strongly supports Martha Ross for President, because we feel she is the most qualified in both education and experience. We also feel that through her actions, she has demonstrated a high regard for the needs of the community and the students. She consistantly votes on the side of the students over the nepotistic, self preserving, money squandering policies of the Central Administration that has left us virtually bankrupt.

Debbie Wolfmeyers performance on the school board has been, to be polite, disappointing. Most feel that she has not even remotely lived up to the promises she made to her constituency during her campaign for school board.

A quick check of the PJStar archives confirms we have good reason to be disappointed. On March 17, 2006, the Peoria Journal star issued the following endorsement of Ms. Wolfmeyer:

Wolfmeyer, 54, retired from District 150 in 2004 following 27 years as an administrative secretary in special education. For a decade she headed the district's clerical union. She says School Board members don't ask enough questions of administrators, that generally the district and board do a poor job of communicating with both staff and public, that she'd be a notable change on both counts.

Oh really?? That was what she said. Here is the reality:

From an e-mail:
Mrs. Vespa - I must respectfully decline your invitation to meet with you. It is not my role as a Board member to meet with individuals or groups. None of us as an individual Board member has any authority. Our authority comes as we work as a body. Also, I am not an educator. Therefore, it is important that any ideas, solutions, etc that are presented go through the administration so that they can assess them and report to us.

Another example of her disregard for the community she serves - At a recent board meeting, Ms. Wolfmeyer voted to decrease public input sessions from 2 sessions to 1, thereby reducing public input time from 40 minutes to 20 minutes - unless an extension is agreed to by the majority of the board.

PJStar writes:

She'd terminate the Edison contract on the basis that "I have a hard time catering to the 30 percent at the expense of the 70 percent." She wants a real alternative school for chronic discipline problems and believes vocational education must return to the high schools. She'd downsize central administration. She wants local schools to emulate best classroom practices.
Page: A4
Record Number: 0000727930
Copyright (c) 2006 The Peoria Journal Star, Inc.

The reality: She has voted to extend the Edison contract at least twice. Of course we still have NO alternative school, and Central Administration has grown like a toxic fungus under her watch.

Here is more:

From the PJStar, March 25, 2006

Wolfmeyer has said money is being wasted on administrative salaries, and she'd like to see the elimination of some positions. I don't know if we need four people with the word superintendent in their names. A lot of times School Board members don't ask enojugh questions of the administraiton, and I think it's sometimes because they don't know what to ask.

It's one thing to have a hunch that someone isn't walking the walk. It's another when it is right before your eyes! Ms. Wolfmeyer was elected by her district based on promises to do exactly the opposite of what she has been doing. For all the board members who vote FOR Debbie Wolfmeyer for President, I have to ask - What can you possibly be thinking? Her election as the representative of your body will be a bizarre tribute to everything that is wrong with you.


Teach said...

Just saw this comment at - thought it tied in with your post.

Diane - recently spoke with a D#150 staffer and they asked me how one of the candidates for BOE president has managed to garner a 4-vote majority on their candidacy? Well, I didn’t know the answer to that. The person went on to inform me that in their opinion, the former #150 employee/now school board member/BOE president candidate didn’t deserve the president’s spot. This person alleged that while employed at the District, the candidate’s car was repossessed and towed away in front of a number of District Admin Bldg staffers. For what it’s worth, I checked this story out with a couple of other current and former Admin staffers of my acquaintance and they verified that it did happen.

If this is true, won’t it just be great to have a BOE president of a district deep in red ink who had their car repossessed? What a confidence builder!

C. J. Summers said...

Good post.

Just to play devil's advocate for a moment, there are those that object to Ross on the grounds that she has an entitlement mentality toward the board presidency ("it's my turn"), and that she is perceived as being soft on school discipline because she votes against all expulsions, even for students who shoot guns off inside school buildings. What does the District 150 Watch group say to these objections? Is it possible that there really is no good choice for board president?

serenity said...

This is a great write up. Wolfmeyer is a huge disappointment. I do not thin Ross is soft on discipline she just understands how much this district needs alternative programs and NOTHING is being done about it. Most cars pulling out of Wisconsin only know how to turn right.

PrairieCelt said...

A while back, Martha Ross was interviewed in an article in the PJS. She addressed - publicly - the issue of why she voted against expulsions. To paraphrase her words, she votes the way she does on expulsions because there is no place for these kids to go except to the street. She has suggested and continues to support the concept of an alternative facility for these (and other) students. Funny thing is, when Martha first suggested this concept 8 years ago, no other board member expressed interest and basically blew it off. It's interesting to note that when other board members recently made the same suggestion, it was suddenly the greatest thing since sliced bread. How much more blatant can these people be?

General said...

You know you have to get started right away to get someone to fill Gorenz seat. They start circulating petitions in either September or October. Find a good candidate now and come April of next year we can change things and give them some real help on the board.

Karen said...

Diane, will you see if you can set up an interview with her now?

Kara Harris said...

GREAT post! Thanks Diane! This is one to keep in the file for the (God help us) if Debbie decides to run again.