Hire a New ACPS Superintendent
Hire a New ACPS Superintendent
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Update: The petition has been submitted to the Albemarle School Board and has been closed. If you want to express your concerns, email the School Board at email@example.com
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Attention Albemarle School Board,
This is an apolitical petition and not the product of any candidate or political organization. The undersigned voters of Albemarle County request the School Board not renew the contract of Dr. Matthew Haas upon its expiration on June 30, 2025. We also request the Board start the process of searching for and hiring a new Superintendent which may include but not limited to stakeholder surveys, self-study for requirements, focus groups, and hiring a consulting firm. It has been stated by Ellen Osborne, Scottsville District, that this is an 18-month process, so we ask it to be started immediately to ensure a qualified replacement prior to the end of Dr. Haas’s contract.
Dr. Haas has lost the confidence and trust of the public, including parents, teachers, bus drivers, staff, administrators, and students. Below are some causes of concern, but this is not an all-inclusive list:
- Transportation: Albemarle County Public Schools (ACPS) is failing to provide transportation for approximately 1,000 students for the 2023-2024 school year. Although the school bus driver shortage impacted the 2022-2023 school year, under the guidance of Dr. Haas the school district was unable to solve the issue. According to a former bus driver at the School Board meeting on Aug 10, 2023, bus drivers feel unheard by and don’t want to work for the current administration.
- Failure to Understand and Consider Ramifications: Upon announcing the unfulfilled bus routes, ACPS failed to have plans in place related to early/late drop offs and other actions needed to support parents who are now unexpectedly in charge of setting up carpools and other arrangements for their students’ transportation. This was also seen during the Covid pandemic when the Superintendent routinely waited until the last minute to announce changes such as if school would be in person or virtual causing hardship to parents who could not make plans.
- School Renaming Process: Independent of one’s feeling about if the schools should have their names changed, the process to do so has been riddled with problems. The community and multiple committee members feel the decisions are predetermined and the committees are a farce which wastes resources and the time of parents, teachers, administrators, and community members. School stakeholders are routinely surveyed and the results disregarded if they don’t match the predetermined decision of the Superintendent. In addition, the first “name change committee” was formed in 2019. Due to Dr. Haas’s decision to spread out the review of individual school’s names, there has been a cloud of controversy and disagreements throughout the district for the last four years with more to come as each committee reopens the same debates.
- Achievement Gap of Students of Color and Economically Disadvantaged Students: A recent audit done by Bellwether, a national nonprofit focused on changing education and life outcomes for students of color and their communities, found five root causes notated below. These root causes demonstrate a failure of the ACPS leadership to put their staff and teachers in a position to properly address the needs of all their students. The need for this audit also demonstrates a lack of knowledge and understanding of the needs of his district.
o Instructional tasks do not consistently match the level of rigor required by SOL tests.
o Adults do not have all the knowledge and skills necessary to meet the instructional needs of all students.
o Gaps in the curriculum around K-5 interventions and Algebra I are serving as barriers for teachers and students.
o The alignment of the division’s structural approaches to the goals in its strategic plan (thriving students, affirming and empowering communities, and equitable and transformative resources) is unclear.
o Both internal and external stakeholders are not experiencing the level of engagement with the division that allows them to be valuable contributors to the closing of achievement gaps.
- Attempt to Relocate Mountain View (MVES) 5th Graders to Walton Middle School (WMS): Prior to the 2021-2022 school year it was discovered ACPS was planning to move 5th graders from MVES to WMS to deal with the overcrowding at MVES. Parents learned of this when they attempted to sign their 5th graders up for the after-school program. Dr. Haas had the Principals of the two schools meet with parents to discuss the idea in which they stated the decision was not made yet. At the same time, Dr. Haas was talking to the Parent Representatives of the local PTOs and stated the decision was already decided. This had to be backtracked and a committee of parents was formed to review options and figure out a solution. The solution was to add a six-unit portable building which was a commonsense answer that should have been decided months earlier. As an added note, if the 5th graders were moved to WMS, there would be additional bus routes needed since half the 5th graders are in the Burley School district and would not be able to ride their local middle school bus.
- Communication: Dr. Haas’s lack of communication and at times dishonest communication is the most glaring of his failings as Superintendent and has broken the trust of the community. Here are three prominent examples. Although the school bus shortage was unresolved for a year, ACPS waited until two weeks prior to the 2023-2024 school year to announce which routes wouldn’t be supported. On Feb 13, 2020, Dr. Haas sparked unneeded controversy at Mountain View Elementary School when he commented on a local radio show host’s blog objecting to a Black History Month poster at the school rather than first talking directly to the school’s administration. This showed a disregard for the school’s administration, teachers, and staff. Dr. Haas’s continual failure to properly communicate to ACPS stakeholders is not conducive to a strong school system.
The citizens, teachers, administrators, bus drivers, school staffs, and most of all the students of Albemarle County deserve an effective school system that delivers quality education, reliable transportation, clear communication, and a Superintendent that is part of the solutions rather than a main contributor to the problems. We request the Albemarle School Board prepare ACPS to move past the Dr. Matthew Haas administration and hire a new Superintendent to return ACPS to the respectable school system our students deserve!
Respectfully submitted by the parties signing this petition.
Petition ClosedThis petition had 1,644 supporters
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