It’s time to set the record straight.
Louis Burgess, an official with the Michigan Department of Education, issued an Oct. 2 correction letter to Kallie Roesner and Oxford Superintendent Tim Throne clarifying that, in Roesner’s correspondence with the state, she never explicitly stated that Oxford operates a boarding school.
“Due to misinterpretation of information provided in (Roesner’s) original telephone call to (Michigan official) Ken Micklash, the following correction is being provided.
“1. You were representing TEAM 20 and specifically referencing the Anchor Bay School District and whether that district may be operating a boarding school.
2. The reference concerning Oxford Community Schools pertained to safeguards and regulations for placement of foreign students into people’s homes or other entities within the community.”
Roesner, a board of education candidate and longtime member of the Oxford Township Planning Commission, requested the letter after her communications with state officials prompted an inquiry on Sept. 17 into whether Oxford Schools was operating or not operating a boarding school, which the state defines as a place of education that also provides board and care for five or more students under the age of 16.
After the state alerted Throne of the, at the time, allegation, Throne investigated the claims and sent a Sept. 26 letter of response stating that Oxford does nothing that would fall under the state’s definition of boarding.
“Please accept this letter as our confirmation that Oxford Community Schools does not run, oversee, or support a boarding school, nor have we found any information that Oxford has ever run a boarding school in our district’s history,” Throne wrote.
Roesner expressed frustration with the board’s actions and conduct in a written statement issued to this reporter. In her statement, she wrote the five board members made “false accusations” against her during the Sept. 25 meeting.
Roesner has asked Board President Tom Donnelly to correct the record on comments he made regarding the number of FOIA requests she has submitted, to which he said he was simply speaking with the assumption that his constituency would realize that he does not know the exact number off the top of his head.
“No citizen should be ridiculed or chastised by a school board in an open and televised public meeting,” Roesner wrote. ”Is this how (the board) lead(s) by example? Is this the conduct you would permit on student council or by our teachers and administrators? You violated your own oath.”
The portion of the oath taken by members of the board of education Roesner is referring to reads as follows:
“Serve with commitment and integrity and to lead by example . . . treat others with professionalism, consideration, and courtesy . . . take responsibility for actions . . . conduct business with the public and co-workers in an equitable, impartial, and honest manner, without prejudice and favoritism (and make) decisions (that) are based on objective and balanced judgment and are in accordance with the district’s mission, established rules and procedures.”
Throne expressed frustration with Roesner’s continual questioning of the district and feels having to respond to it is not the best use of the district’s resources.
“This is yet another case in which Oxford has had to spend time and resources to deal with false allegations made by Kallie and (TEAM 20) which she oversees,” Throne wrote in an email. “(TEAM 20) attempts to perpetuate an inaccurate representation of our present programs, administration, and staff. Calling the State of Michigan was not the first nor only organization Kallie/TEAM 20 has called and made allegations against Oxford since I have been superintendent (for approximately the last three-and-a-half years).
“No, we do not operate an illegal international program. No, we do not board students illegally nor do we have a boarding school. No, we do not use ‘payments from the public’ to board students. Yes, we do ensure the welfare and safety of all our students. I can’t be more honest than that.”
Throne said that despite the conflict, he plans to keep Oxford Schools running as usual.
“The bottom line is that Team O(xford)’s primary mission is to provide an education that challenges all students to achieve their maximum potential in academics, arts and athletics and prepares them to succeed in a global society,” Throne wrote.
“Our international program is just one of a myriad of programs we offer, many of which do not exist in other districts, have been cut in other districts or the district has passed on costs to parents . . . Unless I am told differently by our Board of Education and the Oxford Community, we will continue to pursue excellence in all that we do.”