Principal proposes a new fundraising plan that’s, well, bizarre.
Redell Middle School principal J.L. Williams is at it again. To the amusement of some and to the undying crankiness of Green Lake parents, the eccentric educator has announced a controversial new plan to bring money into the fund-gutted District 909: airing after-school fights on the Internet.
“We’ve got like twelve burnout kids at school that fight behind the gas station next door,” Williams told reporters in a press conference. “They’re bringing all our test scores down and lowering our state funding, so it’s only fair that we milk a few bucks out of them.”
District parents were almost unanimous in their disapproval at a board meeting last week. “I hate your plan, I hate what you’ve done to our schools, I hate what you’ve done to our kids, and damn it, Dad, I hate you!” Redell parent Tom Williams said, to thunderous applause. Several times the meeting broke down into shouting matches, and Board President L. Dalton Haru had to use Williams’ head as a gavel to restore order.
Williams’ plan can go forward without voter or board approval, but doing so could anger his most ardent foes, some of whom have lived in tents on his front lawn for three years. “I got me a big wooden board, son,” said Meyer Lomax, 81. “I’ll spank his behind when he gets his newspaper tomorrow.”
Strangely, the principal’s most ardent supporters are the “burnouts,” the delinquent dozen chosen as stars of the proposed e-fights. Justin Jenkins, 12, said, “Dude, I’ll be totally famous! Yeah! Hey Knowles, dude, I’m gonna kick your !#&ing hinder, man, on the computer!” To illustrate his point, Justin punched his father, Mark Jenkins, who fell to the ground cursing. Jenkins-Knowles is the first fight scheduled for webcast, at 3:15 Wednesday. Hector Loman, high school junior, will serve as guest referee.
Williams and his colorful career at Redell is known statewide for fiscal frugality at the expense of normally essential school services. His most audacious move since coming to Redell in 1993 was a 1995 cost-cutting measure that used videotapes of other schools’ teachers in place of live ones so as to avoid hiring (and therefore paying) new instructors. He won a libel suit against the PTA the following year after the group accused him of being a gambling addict; he was found the next night at Downville Downs asking patrons for rides home after losing his $108,000 settlement at the track. Still, as Williams says, his plans have one major advantage over other districts “My idea’s touched a nerve in a town that gave up long ago on quality education, but at least my way doesn’t cost you much.”