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April 16, 2015

Dear Hillcrest Board of Trustees

by Andreas Schaefer

It came to my attention that you sent out an email yesterday stating this:

We understand that there is a parent meeting being called tomorrow night by some families to discuss the organizational changes happening at Hillcrest, under the guise that the changes are going to be harmful to the school. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Personally I find that statement troubling in many ways and I want to use this opportunity to respond to it here in public:

  1. Since our family joined Hillcrest the Board acted in a cloak of secrecy. There are no minutes of board meetings contrary to bylaws section 7.01, no discussion of decisions before they are made and there is no review of the board performance.

  2. The Board of a private school should encourage parents to engage in a discourse rather than trying to prevent it.

  3. Hillcrest has continuously lost children since the ousting of Maureen Manion and neither the Board nor the Head of School did change that. Therefore Parents are rightfully concerned about their school and its future.

  4. At Hillcrest there is no volunteer for a extended period of time (excluding the Board). Parents are welcomed to help the school for free but as soon as they want to bring in their experience and opinions they are shut down.

  5. After Maureen left the Board had to step up and help the school back on its feet but since then the Board never stopped interfering with the daily operation of the school making if difficult at best to lead the school.

  6. Section 11.01 in the Bylaws state that the board hold themselves to the highest standard of ethical standard. That said in the past we had Board members which could not pay tuition or took their kids from school and still remained on the Board.

  7. The Board of Trustee is understaffed and filled with parents pushed their own agenda like not raising the tuitions or adding additional fees. With that the weight of a single vote is too big making it look like the Board is run by 2 members.

  8. Any Open-Board meeting in the past year were attended by only a few, die hard parents which is an indication of the Board’s lack of backing by the parents. In the past 8 years there was a gradual decrease of attendance to this meetings.

In my view the board either needs to open up and work with the parents, staff and faculty with mutual respect, transparency and acknowledgment of the others work and accomplishments or should resign in unison to make way for a new start.

Four years ago the school, staff, faculty and parents were is the same situation after Maureen left. Since then the school got back on its feet but the number of pupils dropped each year despite the Board’s reassurance that everything is fine. Why should any parent believe the Board now that the latest staff changes are helping the school in any way especially considering the fact that this change is in the making since November last year and nothing has changed yet.

I call on the Board to open up, work with us parents, its staff and faculty. Its time to bury the secrecy of the past and show the world that Hillcrest is different and has Academics, Character and Leadership.

Cheers – Andy Schaefer

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