TCAPS may fire new superintendent amid disagreements on school funding

Oct 11, 2019

Ann Cardon took over as TCAPS superintendent in September.
Credit Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

The board of Traverse City Area Public Schools could look at removing recently-appointed Superintendent Ann Cardon at a special meeting today, sources tell IPR

A "Special Board Meeting" is scheduled for Friday afternoon at 3 p.m. at the district's administrative building in Traverse City. The meeting is open to the public, but board members will go into a closed session "for the purposes of receiving privileged attorney client communication as allowed by the Open Meetings Act," states the agenda.

TCAPS Executive Director of Communications Christine Guitar did not confirm what the special meeting will be about via email, saying only that the board will go into a closed session.

Erica Moon Mohr is on the TCAPS board and called what’s happened to Cardon a “bullying campaign.” She says tension on the board has been building over disagreements on school funding.

 

Under the previous district superintendent, TCAPS passed a resolution condemning the School Finance Research Collaborative (SFRC), which recommended a weighted formula for public school funding.

 

“[This] inaccurate narrative misinforms policy makers and therefore leads to policies that do not reflect optimal funding practices called for in the research,” the resolution reads.

 

But according to minutes from a Sept. 23 meeting of the school board, Cardon seemed to support the SFRC findings.

 

“Superintendent Cardon reported that districts were pleased with the consent formula that came out, although there is always hope for a more weighted-formula,” the meeting agenda reads.

 

Mohr says this disagreement split the school board. She says four members of the board, led by President Sue Kelly, want to remove Cardon while three others, including Mohr herself, want her to stay on.

 

“There was the bullying behavior around ‘you’re not doing what we’re telling you to do,’ so it became a power struggle,” Mohr says. “This is so embarrassing … it’s absolutely humiliating. No one is going to come to lead this district unless changes happen at the board level period.”

Now Cardon’s future with the district remains unclear.

Cardon took over as TCAPS superintendent in early September. CEO of TraverseCONNECT Warren Call worries about how this could impact the region as a whole.

"This is really early on in (Cardon's) tenure. It gives me a lot of concern about the board," says Call. "Part of my role is to help grow businesses here and attract people. That's definitely going to hurt our chances for economic growth."

In an interview with IPR in September Cardon said she would build strong relationships with stakeholders across the district.

"I am steeped in relationship building, that's one of my strong attributes," Cardon said. "We've been ... building that trust."

As of this publication, Ann Cardon cannot be reached for comment.