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TEA files formal complaint against superintendent

Editor’s Note: The story in the Wednesday, Jan. 31 edition of The Tuscola Journal regarding a formal complaint filed by the Tuscola Educators Association is not clear, and we regret that. An updated story has been posted to help clarify.

By Kayleigh Rahn

The Tuscola Educators Association on behalf of one Tuscola teacher filed a formal complaint against Tuscola schools superintendent Michael Smith.

There was no grievance filed.

“All grievances are complaints but not all complaints are grievances,” according to the Illinois Association of School Boards.

The Tuscola Journal filed a Freedom of Information Act request to legally obtain information regarding the formal complaint. The request was denied citing personnel confidentiality laws.

While the action in question was a complaint, according to the Illinois Association of School Boards, the grievance procedure, by law in Illinois, must be included in all teacher union contracts. The current Tuscola teachers contract, in Article 20, outlines the definition of a grievance, steps through the process, and proper action items if the grievant does not feel satisfied with the result.

The teachers’ association declined to publically comment about the complaint.

“We are not able to comment on specifics concerning our members due to the confidentiality and sensitivity in this situation,” the TEA statement said. “As in the past, our school board has worked tremendously well in communicating and seeking to work collaboratively with TEA and the district as a whole in order to make sure that all students’ needs are met. Our vision is to continue that collaboration with the school board and members and most of all the community as a whole.”

Likewise, the board of education declined to comment regarding the specifics of the complaint.

“I have to say ‘no comment’ on any specifics that you requested,” said school board president Khristi Boyer, citing guidance from the district attorney Brandon Wright. “However, I will say that I know that a ‘no comment’ leads people to think there is something terrible or secretive going on in a situation when there really just isn’t. The school board always does its best to deal with any and all public issues and personnel issues as quickly and fairly as possible. There are however some issues, especially the ones that may deal with personnel, that cannot be shared due to confidentiality and respect for our employees.”


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