Buchanan Community Schools works to fix public 'distrust'

NOW: Buchanan Community Schools works to fix public ’distrust’

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BUCHANAN, Mich. - After appointing an outside consultant to address Buchanan Community Schools' (BCS) Board of Education's strained relationship with the community, Mike Lindley, the consultant, gave the board his first report Wednesday night.

In that report, Lindley said the district must among other things work on transparency, rebuild trust, and have the superintendent develop a "highly effective leadership team."

Lindley said the key to rebuilding trust is to "keep your word and follow through on your actions."

District officials could not identify where the trust issues started with the public, but Jerry Flenar, a former Buchanan school board president for 12 years said something has to change.

"With my former involvement with the school district, and I have grandkids," Flenar said. "I had kids in the school district. Now, I have grandkids in the school district, and just listening to some of the board meetings that were going on and the public reaction, Buchanan is a very proud place. I serve on a number of boards in the community, and I just felt that something had to be done to get this back to being a productive school district."

District Superintendent Timothy Donahue said he felt after Lindley's presentation that he and the board have a lot of different projects to begin working on but wasn't ready to identify which project district leadership would pursue first.

He did say the public could help him, too.

"My frustration as the superintendent is there is not a lot of specificity behind the complaints people say they have, and in Dr. Lindley doing interviews I think some of those complaints may have been shared with him, but they have not been shared with me, and so, again, that makes it hard to respond when those complaints are not provided in detail," Donahue said.

Community members were given two opportunities to address district leaders: once during the regular public comment section of the board meeting then again after Lindley's presentation.

In total, one person came up to the podium.

Lindley put together his report after interviewing 49 people throughout the district.

He said the biggest thing that stuck out to him was how much pride there is in Buchanan

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