School board decides fate of Charter Oak principal

By WEEK Reporter

January 27, 2014 Updated Jan 27, 2014 at 11:57 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Charter Oak School parents are continuing their support for Principal John Wetterauer.

But he's not going to be their principal any more.

District 150's administration has made major changes at Charter Oak.

"Every district 150 principal is expected to be the instructional leader in their building. This case is about a principal's lack of leadership," said school board president Rick Cloyd.

It's a decision that parents of Charter Oak students have been waiting months to hear.

But it was not the decision they hoped for.

Principal John Wetterauer will be re-assigned to another building as principal on special assignment.

As for the four staff members involved -- Deborah Lowe and Joan Schifeling will be re-assigned to other buildings.

"For their failure to follow ISAT protocol for special education students," Cloyd said.

Two others will have disciplinary action brought against them, but Cloyd said no formal board action is needed.

Parents were visibly upset with the decision.

"How dare you take these people away from our kids in the middle of the school year," said Charter Oak Parent Brenda Wilson. "And shame on you for not supporting these people who've dedicated their lives to our children."

"It's not too late to say hey, let's take a step back and see this climate of fear that happening in our schools," said another parent.

School Board President Rick Cloyd said this whole situation was very difficult for everyone.

He realized the board's unanimous decision would be unpopular with the community, but says not investigating the claims would have been a cover-up.

But the parents say this fight isn't over.

"Short-term, we're going to do everything in our power to ensure our teachers, hard-working, honest, forth-right teachers, are vindicated. And believe me they will be," said Jeffrey Adkin-Dutro, District 150 Teachers Union President.

The Illinois State Board of Education has received a copy of the investigation. It is not known if they will take any action.

Jane Cushing will remain Charter Oak's Principal for the rest of this school year.