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Apr 5, 2016 4:59 PM

Alton superintendent walks out of school board meeting; parents seek her removal

ALTON - A months-long battle has pitted parents against administrators in the Alton School District, culminating in a meeting Monday night where the superintendent walked out.

One member of the five-member board was absent due to illness. The remaining four members tied on a vote about who would serve as chair and vice-chair. Ward was then asked to serve as chair.

Ward said she was not comfortable chairing the meeting and walked out, stunning the remaining board members and the audience.

NH1 News talked to Ward after the meeting.

“I don’t have any authority to chair the school board," she told NH1 News. "When they voted 2-2 on the new chair, I was kind of stymied." Ward said the board will not be able to appoint a chairman until all five members can meet.

But several parents say there is more to the issue and have even launched a Facebook page to address problems with the administration of the schools.

They launched a petition five months ago to cancel next year's contract with Ward and to defer the signing of contracts with two other administrators. Among their concerns are changes to the curriculum, staff reductions and plans to implement block scheduling.

Conflict is nothing new for Ward who left the Franklin school district several years short of finishing her contract.

According to the Union Leader, Ward took the top post in Franklin in 2010 and was under contract through the 2014-2015 school year, but received a $60,000 buyout at the end of 2013 after conflict developed with city leaders and other community members.

The school board chairwoman at the time blamed people who were out to "harass" Ward and said she'd made significant progress at raising the district's test scores during her tenure.

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