Bailey frustrated with administration, attorneys
By Don Rush
And then there were five.
Last week, a week after Oxford School Board President Tom Donnelly resigned, board treasurer Korey Bailey also tendered his resignation.
In a statement to the community, Superintendent Ken Weaver said, “This afternoon, September 19, School Board Treasurer Korey Bailey announced that he is resigning from the Oxford Community Schools Board effective today. We are very thankful for the years he has served our students and staff through the most challenging of times.”
Bailey’s resignation came only a few months before his term in office was coming to a close, Dec. 31. He decided not to run for re-election this year. Bailey resigned because he was not happy with the direction the board was going after a Sept. 9 special meeting to discuss upcoming litigation against the district and not because of the consistent criticisms from members of the community.
“I coached middle schoolers at church for a number of years and discussed integrity many times,” Bailey said. “Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is looking. It is doing the right thing even when it is hard or will make you look bad. It’s holding yourself accountable and using good or bad situations as learning experiences to make you better for the future.
“My decision was made up when I left that September special meeting because I knew I could not consider myself a man of integrity and stay on the board. I was furious when we left the closed session and wanted to resign on the spot, but I am also one to hold my emotions to think things through. I told Tom (Donnelly) I was leaving for a business trip and would return the following Thursday. I shared with him that I would be disconnecting from board activities for a few days to think and pray about my decision but most likely I would be resigning on Friday when I returned. Tom shared my sentiment and resigned a few days before I returned.”
In an article by the Detroit News, Bailey said counsel for the district repeatedly told the board an investigation was not needed.
“That was the direction we were given by the attorneys, that there is no need for us to do one because everything will come out in the investigation by police,” Bailey said.
Bailey has been on the board since July of 2018, when he was appointed to serve out the remaining term of Mike Schweig. He ran for election and won that year. Bailey, a 1988 Oxford graduate, said he got involved with the school board because he believed in then superintendent Tim Throne’s vision for the school.
“I love this community. I grew up in this community and when my family had the option to move anywhere in the country we chose to move back to this community,” he said. “The evil that prevailed that day brought us to our knees and I pray one day God will help this community heal and help us to once again rise and stand as Oxford Strong.”
Bailey also said he has been frustrated with the direction the school administration has taken this school year.
“I challenged our new superintendent over and over again to start this year inspiring and pushing our administrators and teachers to make this the year that Oxford rises from the ashes like the Phoenix and show the world how strong Oxford really is by digging into our work and putting up the best scores possible” Bailey said. “This requires great leadership to be able to balance the healing with the push for academic excellence. The three-year plan that keeps being presented is only focused on emotional healing and we are over six months into his three-year contract and the plan is still a work in progress that changes with every different ‘expert’ who’s consulted.
“We say we are Oxford Strong so now is the time to show the world with our results. I understand that we still have students that need extra attention and healing. We need to have plans to address and help those students but we cannot hold back the other 1,800 students at the HS that have dreams of going on to the college of their choice but will not make it because we have not prepared them for the tests needed to get them in.
“Every time I challenged him to coach our staff, to coach our students, and set a real three-year goal to get our test scores back to levels that would make Oxford a beacon in the world he pushed back that our students just need to heal. The Phoenix did not sit in the ashes waiting for the fires to go out over time. It rose from the ashes, rose to its feet, spread its wings, and flew.
“I even challenged him, as well as the board, to set measurable goals which could be used in his evaluations to monitor his success over the three years. I shared that I would be very vocal about this lack of vision and ability to motivate our students over the next three years in his upcoming evaluation. When I was to be out of town the week of his evaluation and asked it be moved up or back a week so that all seven of the board could be present and provide feedback he refused to reschedule it in favor of having a facilitator from MASB (Michigan Association of School Boards) in to help buffer the information between the board and the superintendent.”
As with Donnelly’s seat, according to Oxford Community School policy on filling vacancies, the school board has 30 days to fill Bailey’s seat. The policy which was adopted in 1996 and updated in 2010 states, “If the vacancy is not filled within 30 days after it occurs, the board of the Intermediate School District shall fill the vacancy by appointment.”
The policy states the board needs to seek “qualified and interested candidates from the community through the news media, word of mouth, and contacts with appropriate organizations.”
All applicants are to submit their interest in writing to the superintendent. The policy states the board “may” interview all interested candidates. When they have selected a person to serve, the board votes. The person the board votes for will “hold office until the next regular school election.”
According to the district’s website board member Chad Griffith has been appointed the school board’s “current acting president.”
When asked what he would tell future school board members, Bailey answered, “Any leader must be willing to hold themselves to a higher standard of ethical values. Anyone serving now or in the future must be willing to do the right thing and what is best for the community no matter how difficult the task or how bad the outcome. You will be under a microscope so it is important to stay true to your values as everyone is watching. You cannot let the plans of others guide your moral compass.”