Disgruntled school board member talks about resignation

Author: , Reporter, JFarris@wfmz.com
Published: Aug 23 2013 05:00:24 PM EDT   Updated On: Aug 23 2013 05:28:27 PM EDT

Members of the Allentown School Board didn't see it coming: Two of their own called it quits on the same night.

Julie Ambrose stepped down because the meetings conflict with her PhD course work; Joanne Jackson Bauer resigned because she said some of the school board members act more like children than civic leaders.

Jackson Bauer described how some board members allegedly acted toward her during her last meeting.

"Smirking, mocking me, sleeping on me, being on AOL or newspaper on their computer when I spoke, which is totally not allowed, turning a chair, leaving the room," she said.

"I'm not saying they don't close their eyes for a minute or rolled their eyes or something, but I don't know if they were sleeping," said Robert Smith Jr., the school board's president.

While the board is passionate, Smith said he wouldn't characterize what happened among the members as being disrespectful.

Jackson Bauer said she resigned because the behavior made her feel like she was ineffective.

To the contrary, Smith said Jackson Bauer was effective, getting votes on key initiatives and raising a lot of money for kids in the district.

Even so, he said the district has a lot of work to do and is down two board members.

"Here is an opportunity, two seats open, two years left on it. Anybody who is a resident can do this and be a Democrat," said Smith.

School board member Andrew Wiess attributed the stress among board members to the recent furlough process.

Wiess said once the two new members are selected, the board can refocus on the issues facing the district.

69 News spoke with several board members who said they wish Jackson Bauer and Ambrose well.

Anyone wishing to replace them on the board needs to send a letter of intent and a resume to the board secretary before the next meeting.