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Wausau teachers outline lack of confidence against superintendent

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Wausau teachers union president Mary Jarvis addresses school board members December 14, 2009, during their regular meeting.  The teachers union has no confidence in Superintendent Steve Murley's leadership and has called for him to be fired.
Wausau teachers union president Mary Jarvis addresses school board members December 14, 2009, during their regular meeting. The teachers union has no confidence in Superintendent Steve Murley's leadership and has called for him to be fired.
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) – Wausau Superintendent Steve Murley lacks the leadership necessary to lead the district and should be removed from his post, the teachers union told school board members Monday night.

“It is time to go in a new direction,” said union president Mary Jarvis.

Jarvis and six other teachers publicly laid out for the first time since the union wrote a letter of no confidence December 6th the reasons why they think Murley should go.

The letter, union officials say, was developed after 85 percent of teachers who participated in a survey said a lack of trust and collaboration exists in the district.

The union alleges that the district lacks an educational plan, that teacher ideas for reform have been ignored and that district administrators do not allow for diversity of thought.

Teachers also raised concerns that Murley's absence from school buildings and events has fostered doubt about his commitment to the district and new policies and curriculum are implemented from the top down without applied research or teacher input.

“We are willing to meet with them,” school board president Dale Lawson said of the union's request to sit down and work through their differences. But Lawson added that he will talk with other board members before such a meeting occurs.

Murley responded to the criticism and calls for his termination by explaining that the district has to make tough decisions as it figures out how to cut $8 million from its budget over the next three years.

“I didn't get into education to cut programs and we're doing what we can with the resources that we have available,” Murley said.

Still, Murley has proposed two budget options that will help the district find cost savings.

One would require 40 teachers to retire over the next three years or else the district would be forced to make deep layoffs at the elementary, middle and high schools.

The second option would not fill vacancies gained through attrition and would require teachers to pick up teaching a sixth class.

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