Williamsville School Board questions superintendent about delayed start for remote students during special meeting

Posted at 4:32 PM, Sep 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-06 16:35:46-04

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Williamsville School Board spent nearly two hours questioning the superintendent, Dr. Scott Martzloff, on the decision to delay the start of the school year for fully remote learners on Sunday afternoon before going into executive session.

The board called a Special Meeting after learning on Friday that the superintendent decided to delay the start of the school year for students working remotely in grades five through 12.

During the heated meeting, board members were given the opportunity to ask Dr. Martzloff how he came to his decision and why the district is not prepared for a remote start.

According to the superintendent, he learned on Friday at 1 p.m. that the district didn't have enough teachers for remote learning due to resignations and leave of absence requests. The school board says that they were not notified ahead of time. A board member stated that she received an email as a parent minutes before getting an official email.

Dr. Martzloff says the district has hired several teachers, but is still in need of 21 teachers. A board member asked if the superintendent has a "Plan B" -- with a response that there "is no fall back" if teachers are not hired soon.

The superintendent says new teachers will be expected to teach remote classes and will be receiving ongoing training.

Some board members proposed alternative ideas to help remote learners, but the motions did not gain enough support to pass.

According to a board member, around 1,100 people were viewing the board meeting on Sunday.

Several board members also used the meeting to apologize to parents and students. The superintendent also issued an apology.

The start of the school year for hybrid students begins on Tuesday.

Public comment was not on the agenda for Sunday's special meeting. The school board is expected to have a regular meeting on Tuesday, September 8 at 7 p.m. To view the board meeting agenda, click here.