The decision to allow a community member to address the school board for expressing the desire that Ardmore High School Principal Kim Holland keep his post is now in the hands of the superintendent and school board president, who will decide if the request becomes an agenda item for the April 15 meeting.
Attorney Glen Burns, one individual actively involved in last week’s petition effort from a community group that has rallied behind the well-liked administrator, says a letter requesting an agenda item at the upcoming regular school board meeting, along with letters written in support of Holland and a petition with 1,176 signatures, was delivered to the school district’s office Friday afternoon.
“We actually met with the superintendent and gave him our request to be on the agenda,” Burns said. “We attached a couple of letters and all of the signatures to that.”
Burns said there was no indication given from district administrators on how soon a response to the request would be given.
Identical packets with copies of the letters and petition were delivered Friday afternoon to all five members of the Ardmore Board of Education, Burns said.
Last week, “a significant number of community members” began circulating a petition in support of the AHS principal after learning the administrator had sent a letter to the Ardmore Board of Education and Superintendent Sonny Bates withdrawing the letter he had submitted in early March.
The petition was signed by parents, teachers, students and members of the Ardmore community. The petition document stated those who signed “wished to show our appreciation for Principal Kim Holland for his service and dedication. By our signatures below, we indicate our support and hope that he will remain principal of Ardmore High School.”
The letter addressed to Bates stated, “We understand that Kim Holland has delivered a letter to you and the school board requesting that your decision to accept his resignation be rescinded and that he be allowed to remain in his position as principal of Ardmore High School. As concerned members of the Ardmore community, we totally support Mr. Holland remaining in the position of principal of Ardmore High School.”
Additionally, the letter requests the school board vote in open session at the April 15 meeting “to waive its policy regarding the revocability of resignations and to rescind the decision to accept his resignation.” The final request is that four minutes be given to address the board for expressing why the board should consider and take action.
The letter is written by Ardmore alum and former AHS football coach Ronnie Tipps, who was selected by the group because of his education background and long-time ties to Ardmore, Burns said.
Burns says the group is anticipating that if the request to be on the agenda is approved, the district will stick by board policy and allow only one individual to speak for a four-minute period.
Board policy states that those wishing to be added to a school board agenda must turn in a request at least 10 business days prior to the next regular scheduled board meeting.
The policy states, “The superintendent will discuss the request with the board president and they will determine if the item is to be placed on the agenda.”
Attached to the petition and letter by Tipps were two letters in support of Holland. One letter was written by Bill Buckner, president and CEO of the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation. The other is by Larry Pulliam, president of Southern Oklahoma Memorial Foundation.
Holland’s resignation was made public at the school board meeting on March 11. Bates addressed the school board and stated he had received and accepted the resignation of Holland and two other district employees. Holland’s resignation would take effect at the end of the school year.
Reasons for Holland’s resignation have not been made public. School board members told The Ardmoreite they were surprised to see the well-liked administrator resign after about three years with the district.
Burns says the community has “rallied” in support of Holland, and signed the petition because of the positive progress he has made in the school and his ability to lead staff and students.
“We had people saying there was a lot of folks that wanted to sign, but we just hadn’t gotten to them,” Burns said.
The number of signatures is not far from the number of voters that led to the passage of the district’s last bond.
Last May, 1,169 voters said yes to the district’s $31 million bond issue that included the financing of construction for various building projects, including a new Lincoln Elementary building, Jefferson classroom addition and middle school roof. The bond brought in 642 “no” votes, according to the Carter County Election Board.