The Laurens-Marathon gym was packed with supporters for Middle School/High Principal Rose Davis at Monday's school board meeting.
Rumors were circulating that Davis was being ousted from the school but school board member Nancy Fuchs said there seems to be a misunderstanding. Davis was offered an early retirement package after inquiring about that possibility, then declined it, Fuchs said.
While some in the community seem to think the school board members are keeping information from them, Fuchs said nothing has been presented to the board on dissatisfaction with Davis' work.
Davis could not be reached for comment at presstime.
Davis, who served as the Spanish teacher at L-M for 15 years then as the principal at St. Mary's for five years, returned to L-M district two years ago, serving as principal.
Superintendent Braunschweig passed away during her first year back at Laurens and she took over all administrative duties as well as served as a counselor, according to community member Randy Frerichs, who came out to support Davis. "She had a lot of duties."
A new superintendent came on board the beginning of this school year.
The some 150 parents and students who packed the gym Monday made it clear to the school board that they wanted Davis to stay - not knowing for sure if that was the issue or not.
Fuchs said that the discussion wasn't on the agenda, but "we made allowances," she said, and some 14 people spoke, followed by applause several times.
"The students have heard rumors," said senior Diana Johnsen. "I heard the school board is still debating so hopefully they'll change their minds. I had Mrs. Davis for Spanish when I was young so I have known her for a long time. She is very good person who listens and will negotiate. She always listens to the students' side."
Davis, she said, has given the small school a big push in the fine arts. "Not long ago, fine arts was nearly totally wiped out and she helped bring it back."
She was recognized by the state this past fall for her involvement with the fine arts program.
Frerichs said he has a son that graduated from L-M last year and currently has a daughter who is a sophomore.
"What I understand is that the kids all love her," he said. "I've never heard a bad word about her. It bothers me that she was asked to leave...When somebody does an outstanding job you reward them, you don't let them go."
Board member Fuchs stressed again that the Davis issue is misunderstood. The principal, she said, inquired about the retirement package - "we don't know if it was for herself or for another teacher," she said. The details of who is qualified for the early retirement (so many years of working within the district) was explained and when offered to her, she declined.
"To my knowledge we have a budget meeting on Monday and our regular meeting in April. I've had a lot of people contacting me about this and that's fine. I don't believe there is any matter under discussion" concerning Mrs. Davis," Fuchs said.