Parents, students hold rally, want answers from Westfield school board after principal moved

WESTFIELD, Ind. (WISH) — Parents, students and teachers are wanting transparency from the Westfield school board after the longtime high school principal was appointed to a new role. More than 100 people took part in a rally Tuesday night outside an executive session meeting at Washington Wood Elementary School.

Those at the rally said their focus is still getting Dr. Stacy McGuire back as the principal of Westfield High School, but the bigger picture is where the money is coming from to fund her newly-created position, Administrator of Alternative Learning.

The move didn’t sit well with many parents and students.

“When I turned the corner and saw the entire parking lot filled, my heart was just overjoyed,” parent Erica Strahm said. “It just shows the support from the community. The board should be the advocates of the community and the taxpayers.”

McGuire’s mother was also at tonight’s rally but declined to comment.

Former high school counselor Carrie Larrison says there has also been a lot of discussion on how to fund the start-up costs for Dr. McGuire’s new role.

Almost two weeks ago, the school district said Dr. McGuire would be the administrator of alternative learning, which would include overseeing student alternative programs and services that meet district and state learning objectives.

In a press release to News 8, the district says the position is part of a five-year strategic plan called Growing the Rock Way.

Larrison says this is a big project, and now with the pandemic and the construction of the high school, why now?

“We’re trying to get as many people as possible to stand outside when the school board comes in,” she said. “We just want to be visible and we want to let the school board know that we’re there and we’re not going to stop asking questions. We’re not going to stop trying to find out what is really going on and how the money is being spent.”

A poster is making its way around social media. It’s asking people to use their voice to promote school board transparency. It’s encouraging people to email school board members and sign the petition to reinstate Dr. McGuire.

The meeting Tuesday night was an executive session, which means there was no public agenda.

News 8 did ask the district about contracts.

They say Dr. McGuire’s contract is up in 2022 and superintendent Dr. Sherry Grate’s contract is up in 2023.

The district also has said multiple times in emails with News 8 that they cannot share any more details in regards to Dr. McGuire because it is a personnel situation and that there has been both positive and negative feedback.

That petition to bring back Dr. McGuire now has almost 4,000 signatures.

The next school board meeting is set for July 14. Several people at today’s rally said they plan to be there.