BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – A review of the Fort Madison Community School District superintendent’s contract will continue Monday night in another closed session at the district’s administrative offices.
The school district’s board of directors will meet again on Monday after a three-hour closed session review of Dr. Erin Slater’s rolling contract was conducted June 19 with no action taken on the contract. Slater has requested the review be done in closed session, according to Iowa code Chapter 21.5(1)(i).
Board President Dr. Tim Wondra said the meeting Monday would also be a closed session meeting. The agenda for that meeting does not include any possible action out of the meeting, therefore the district will not be able to take action on the contract review at Monday’s meeting.
Wondra said another closed session will be held July 15, as part of the district’s regular monthly board meeting, to continue the review
It isn’t clear whether the review was triggered as a regularly scheduled annual review, or as a special review in light of recent revelations from Head Varsity Basketball coach Ryan Wilson that Slater made demands on her son’s playing time on the team’s junior varsity squad.
Wilson came forward publicly with his concerns after an email was obtained by Pen City Current that Slater had sent to the Board of Directors outlining concerns over playing time given to Holy Trinity Catholic students in shared programs with Fort Madison.
Slater said the current shared baseball program had resulted in less playing time for Fort Madison students due to the “heavy presence” of Holy Trinity players and she advocates for the Fort Madison students and wanted to schedule a meeting to address the issue.
A meeting was scheduled but was canceled prior to taking place. In the email, Slater also said.. “Our students don’t have the choice to attend a private school…a private school this district continues to programmatically support over and over without return. Our students entrust us to provide opportunities for them.”
The controversy was ramped up when a video of Slater’s husband Scott surfaced on social media channels confronting Wilson at a basketball camp in Quincy in June. Slater’s husband was also suspended for one Fort Madison High School baseball game this year after violating team rules about parents approaching the dugout during games. He was also reprimanded by an Iowa High School Athletic Association official during a game at Holy Trinity Catholic for outbursts during the game.
The Slaters have open enrolled their son into the West Burlington School district for the 2019-20 school year citing “pervasive harassment”, according to then interim-WBISD superintendent, and former Fort Madison superintendent, Dr. Ken Marang.
Pen City Current has requested from the West Burlington district all forms submitted as part of the open-enrollment request, but were denied access to part of the submitted forms. The 2017-18 Iowa Open Enrollment Handbook, the most recent available, classifies the documents as public records with redaction of personal student information allowable. However, language in the handbook does not allow for withholding the documents in their entirety. The Current has also reached out to the Iowa Department of Education for clarification on access to the documents.
Slater started with the district just prior to the start of the 2016-17 school year and will be entering the fourth year of two-year rolling contracts.