Ozark, Mo. parents protest outside school board meeting; asking for accountability within administration

OZARK, Mo. (KY3) – Some Ozark parents are looking for change within the school district.

On Thursday, about ten people protested before the school board meeting, asking for accountability in the administration. Parent Christina Tonsing says it started with a specific personnel issue but has turned into something bigger.

”We tried to find some answers on that one small incident and as we were trying to find answers, we kept on getting rebuffed,” Tonsing says. “We couldn’t get any answers at all. Even if we followed the policy for how to get answers, we still were shut out by the school board. But mostly by the administrators.”

Along with other parents, Tonsing’s major complaint accuses the school district of not following policies when it comes to discipline issues.

“We just want to try to get as many people aware of the fact that something in the school district isn’t quite right and there needs to be some accountability for following the policies that the board has passed,” Tonsing says. “The board is our representatives, right? The citizens who pay the taxes.”

Although Ozark Schools Superintendent Dr. Chris Bauman isn’t able to talk about any specific incident with personnel. He says the district is properly following all policies in place. As part of the Missouri School Board Association, Bauman says that’s where the district gets its policies.

“The policies are pretty clear in how those then get implemented and how we’re held accountable to those,” Bauman says. “All of those policies are online. Anyone can log onto our website, go under school board and that has all of our policies listed there with the date they were adopted and how long they’ve been implemented at the school district.”

Tonsing is concerned about where the district may be headed if changes aren’t made.

“Our schools are great in Ozark,” Tonsing says. “We want to keep them great. We want to keep that reputation great so that people want to move here so their kids can go to school and teachers wanna work here.”

For Supt. Bauman transparency within the district is key.

“I would just want to make sure that we continue to communicate with everyone involved and to make sure that all of us have the best interest of children in mind,” Supt. Bauman says. “That is the focus for all of us is to do what’s best for the kids.”

Some of those parents spoke with board members in a closed school board session Thursday night.

Supt. Bauman is hoping a resolution between both sides can be met.

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