To The Daily Sun,
A recent article in The Laconia Daily Sun, "Resign! Alton Residents Protest School Leadership" gave a distinctively one-sided and biased presentation of the situation at hand. Does anybody see any irony in the fact that the presenter of the petition and ringleader of the faction is none other than the disgruntled former principal, Linda Wilman? The same Mrs. Wilman was part of a consortium of administrators, led by former superintendent William Lander and former Alton/Gilford principal Sydney Leggett, who were thwarted in a backdoor attempt to privatize the administration of Alton Central School. This would have been unprecedented in the history of public education in New Hampshire and would have resulted in a dramatic shift in local control in Alton away from its elected officials to a private LLC.
Willingly stepping down as principal, Mrs. Wilman has chosen to influence education in Alton by being a community organizer against the new administration, which was hired by the Alton School Board in lieu of the aforementioned consortium. I call into question the ethics and practices of this group with their distortion of the facts and heavy-handed tactics.
The calls for the resignation of the superintendent, principal and special education director came as early as late-October, with a table set up on Main Street., with an earlier version of this same petition, while the children of Alton were trick-or-treating. Observers of public education know that it takes at least a year to gauge whether an administration is effective and it would be uncommonly rare and exceptional to clean house barely two months into the school year!
This group has engaged in vicious personal attacks on social media, aided by the fact that the former technology director, Pamela McLeod, and supporter of the petition movement, is the gatekeeper of most of the local parent/community social media pages. There appears to be a strong association with the teachers who support the petition movement and their proximity to the former administration. I've been told cronyism was common practice with the former regime; teachers who were close to the inner circle seem uncomfortable with a new administration that endeavors to treat everyone the same. The petition laments the unfavorable working conditions at ACS; yet, not a single teacher has filed a grievance against the administration — which is the ordinary protocol. The facts don't add up.
In my opinion, the petition itself is a farce, misrepresented in the article as a product of Alton residents. A little research reveals that among the signatories are residents of New Durham, Bow, Hampton, Wilton, Wolfeboro, Farmington, Gilmanton, Salisbury, Kittery, Maine, Richmond, Virginia and even Summerville, South Carolina. Among the 248 who signed are high school students under 18 and some duplicates. A sample of the first 47 names on the petition reveals that 33 were registered to vote in Alton. It should be noted that these are not signatures in the traditional sense; rather, they were typed onto a spreadsheet. No deceased individuals have been found to have signed (yet). There is no attempt at reconciliation or negotiation in good faith from the petition movement, only brute force and shameless demagoguery, in my opinion. This is Chicago, mob rule, Alinsky-ite politics is totally unseemly for Alton. Of course, it's the children who will suffer the most with sad role models like this and I believe this petition movement is bad for Alton.