BY KARISSA MILLER
The Iredell-Statesville Schools Board of Education voted 4-3 on Monday evening to oust Mike Kubiniec from his position as vice chairman.
Board members Doug Knight, Charles Kelly and Abby Trent joined Chairman Bill Howell in supporting the motion to remove Kubiniec from his leadership role.
“In my opinion, it’s your goal to tear down public education and not build it up,” Howell said of Kubiniec. “Some of the board members are unhappy with you and your behavior. That’s why we are discussing this tonight.”
After Kubinec was officially ousted, the chairman asked for nominations for a new vice chairman.
The board then voted 5-2 to elect Kelly as vice chairman.
The board room was packed with community members Monday night. Half of the audience appeared to support Kubiniec, and the other half wanted him out as vice chair.
After the vote, some cheered and clapped, and others expressed their dissatisfaction by booing.
In an otherwise orderly meeting, a small rift occurred when a Kubiniec supporter became vocal and began arguing with the chairman. The man was quickly removed by Troutman police.
Next, Chairman Howell raised the possibility of censuring Kubiniec.
“Censure means that the board is unhappy with some of the things Mr. Kubiniec has been doing. It’s nothing more than slapping his hands and saying stop,” Howell explained.
During last week’s meeting, the chairman handed out a letter that cited numerous reasons for sanctioning the then-vice chair, including:
♦ Bringing a non-school visitor for a visit to a school without prior permission or notice on more than one occasion. Not requiring the visitor to sign in upon arrival at the school.
♦ Not providing an inviting environment for staff and students.
♦ Working against the Superintendent and the Board in policy decisions regarding students.
♦ Making multiple requests from employees without the full approval of the Board. Treating employees as though they report to you and monopolizing employees’ time, which takes away from their normal duties.
♦ Not following process and procedures for school district operations.
♦ Breaking school board policies by sending out a survey on I-SS email.
Howell shared some specifics, including “accusing the personnel director of not doing his job because we still have open teaching positions” to “questioning the superintendent on many issues that are state law.”
“You waste time to make yourself look important,” Howell added.
Kubiniec then addressed the board for more than 30 minutes, defending his work as a board member and denying any wrongdoing.
“My rights to due process have been grossly violated,” Kubiniec said. “These charges are so nonspecific — that I don’t know what they are referring to.”
For example, he said he had no idea what employees time he was monopolizing.
“That’s poor leadership and that’s what is happening here today. All of these so-called charges aren’t even alleged charges. These were first brought to my attention last week,” he said.
Board member Anita Kurn made a motion to table the vote on the censure. Her motion failed to pass.
School board attorney Dean Shatley advised the board that Kubiniec has the right review the evidence against him before the board voted on whether to censure him.
The board then voted to meet in closed session to review personnel matters and “give Kubiniec his due process.”
After about 30 minutes in closed session, the board returned to open session.
“It has been decided that we give Mr. Kubiniec some time to review the information that I had. I did caution him that there were names on there that they should not get into the public. I will be very unhappy if that happens,” Howell said.
During the open session, however, board members made pointed comments about Kubiniec’s work as a board member.
“Since joining this board, I have noticed a strong sense of discord, which is now obvious. Rather than working together to accomplish what’s best for the children, some on this board have become sidetracked with other agendas,” Trent said.
Knight, who said he supported the motion to censure Kubiniec, admitted that he made mistakes after he joined the board member.
“I did some things I wish I would have done better. … I’m a big believer in grace,” Knight said.
Knight, also prefaced his statements by explaining that he wasn’t there to put anyone on trial, but said that last week at the Committee of the Whole meeting he discovered another reason he felt Kubiniec should be censured.
He explained that during the Q&A with Oakwood IB School, Kubiniec found a way to ask a question that put the superintendent in a bad light.
In a statement like question, which Knight mentioned, Kubiniec accused the IB middle schools of taking all the high-performing kids and wondered why the district is spending money on the IB program when there are so many low-performing schools in the district.
“That question — why would it be asked in a public session? It’s only to sew public discord between the IB program and the superintendent. It’s the opposite of what a school board should do,” Knight said.