Change150 Questions Changes in Discipline after Testing Irregularities

Published 02/19 2014 06:45PM

Updated 02/19 2014 06:51PM

PEORIA- The president of the group, Change150, says he hopes to replace District 150’s school board and president within two years.

Change 150 formed after former Charter Oak Primary Principal, John Wetterauer and two special education teachers were reassigned following an investigation into test score discrepancies. On Tuesday night the group held its first public event, which was a rally before the city council meeting. The city has no official authority in the matter, but the group's president, Jim Powell said he just hopes they can help put pressure on District 150.

"There were over 1,000 signatures turned in to the city council last night asking for the resignation of Dr. Lathan," Powell said.

And he says they have a lot more supporters, some of them are just hiding.

"I have emails I can show you off camera of people that sent me emails saying, we support this but we cannot show up out of fear, out of fear that it will affect our kids out of fear that I’ll lose my job," he said.

Powel said he sees that culture of fear making its way into the classroom.

"When my child, both of my children do not want to go to school because they sense the pressure the tension, when they have discontinuity in their classroom, that's a problem,” Powell said. “We’re the people who want to succeed we just want to be heard and we're shut out of the conversation."

And so far, he hasn't heard too much from Superintendent Lathan or the board. He hopes that changes, before his family has to.

"My family, we have been supporters of 150, we have been vested in 150 and this past week for the first time we went to visit a private school looking at options for next year."

WMBD 31 reached out to Superintendent Lathan through the district spokesman about the goals of Change150. He said they didn’t have any comment at that time. WMBD also either called or emailed every board member. The only response was from the board’s president, who said he didn’t want to comment either.
What the district is commenting on is information requested by Change150 on testing irregularities in other schools.  District reports show teachers and principals in other schools violated testing protocols. They received suspensions, and written and verbal warnings. Because of that, Change150 is questioning the punishment of former Charter Oak Primary Principal, John Wetterauer. He was reassigned to a different school after testing irregularities.

District 150 said in a statement, “The information released indicates there are other disciplinary actions that have been taken within the District for similar policy violations. However, the details of each incident are reported to the Board of Education, which considers ALL facts of the investigation in executive session prior to making a decision regarding employee discipline.”

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