Letter to the Community from MAPS superintendent

Dear Community Members:
First of all I want the community to know that I have great concern and compassion for what our staff members are going through emotionally and professionally right now. This is truly a historical moment for all Wisconsin educators. I understand the complexity and difficulty of the decisions they are all having to make right now.
That said, I am also deeply disappointed that we were unable to keep our schools open today (Friday, Feb. 18). I worked closely with our teachers all through the day and into the evening Thursday to come to a resolution that would maintain a safe learning environment and provide us with the ability to keep our schools operational. Regrettably, we were unable to fill the demand for substitutes for the volume of teachers who called in their absence. When the numbers hit 90 absences with almost 1/2 of the positions not filled, I could no longer guarantee a safe learning environment. I also wanted to provide enough time for our families to be notified, so they could make the necessary arrangements for childcare.
I want our community to know that the decisions our teachers have made today were not done without intense reflection on the local, state and national impact of their individual decisions. Each teacher had to make the choice that was right for them. In the end, 60% of our teachers reported to work today or had already verified their absence through the proper reporting and approval process, and 100% of our support staff, custodians, supervisors, secretaries and administration reported to work. Food service employees were excused from work. I fully expect all of our staff to report to work on Monday.
The administration and the Board of Education wishes to express their concern for the hardship that this has caused many of our families. In the coming days, we hope to continue to work with our community and our staff in creating the partnerships, mutual respect and collaboration needed in order to have a high-quality school district.
Today we have put the following procedures in place:
• We will honor the previously scheduled absences that have been in the system all week (medical appointments, family leave, etc).
• We will require a medical slip verifying the call in absences upon return. If we do not have that verification, we will follow our newly adopted policy on disciplinary action and the employee will not be compensated for the missed day of work.
• All after school activities and weekend events will be held, but any coach who has called in sick will not be allowed to coach.
• All staff present today were required to sign in and sign out.
• This day will not be made up by students as we can still meet the statutory requirements for instructional days and over half of our teaching staff and most all of our support staff are working today.
• If there are any additional loss of instructional days due to weather or the continued impact of the response to the governor’s finance repair bill, students and staff days will need to be made up at the end of the year.
We appreciate the many citizens who have called, emailed or posted comments to our MAPS Facebook page on this issue. We will use this feedback to determine our next steps and in helping us to determine how we can move forward.

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