Mineral County Coverage

Jan 10, 2013 9:28 AM by Cristy Aranguiz - KPAX News

Emotions flare at St. Regis School Board meeting

ST REGIS - Tension was high Wednesday night at the St. Regis School Board meeting over a petition and about $100,000.

"We all feel so misled. You just told me awhile ago to shut up about spending $100,000 last year," John Cheeseman remarked.

"No just wait a minute. I never said anybody's name, any of that information, you just have to go to the office and get it. It shows how much money was paid out and where it was spent," he added.

Before exchanging words with board member Shelly Dunlap, Cheeseman presented a formal petition on Wednesday evening to the St. Regis School Board.

"We the undersigned tax payers and residents of St. Regis School District sign this petition to express no confidence in the St. Regis Board of Trustees and to the Superintendent of St. Regis School," Cheeseman said in reading the document.

The petition was on behalf of several St. Regis residents who don't agree with the way the board has spent taxpayer money.

"I was asked to present it because a lot of people are afraid to, because of fear of retribution from the school. Probably 50 people came to and told me they wouldn't sign it because they had kids here, they had people working here or something. I think if you're afraid of your school, you're in big trouble," Cheeseman commented.

Principal Tammy Demien was placed on administrative leave back in August by Superintendent Janet Hanson, and even after an investigative report was filed by the Montana Schools Board Association in November, Demien remains on leave. And that's what has petitioners angry.

"Actions of placing employees on administrative leave you have spent approximately $100,000 in taxpayer money, that has no positive benefit to the students, staff and community. This $100,000 has been taken away from educating our young people," resident Virginia Turner added.

School board members declined to comment on this story, but the superintendent said she may have something a comment next week.

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