MEQUON - Mequon-Thiensville School District Superintendent Demond Means may soon be heading down to Georgia — but why?
The district's superintendent since 2008, Means is the sole finalist for the superintendent position of the Clarke County School District headquartered in Athens, Georgia.
Means said CCSD is a “fine school system” and said it's doing "a lot of progressive work,” such as working to close the achievement gap as well as helping underrepresented kids. It’s that work and dedication that attracted Means to the district, he said.
On the district's website it says it has been recognized as "Georgia's number one school district for closing the achievement gap."
“They’re a tremendous community and a very impressive place,” Means said.
With no shortage of praise for MTSD, Means said it is “clearly one of the premier school districts in the state of Wisconsin.” He said the district is always working hard and is constantly looking for additional revenue to provide good services to the students.
“I’m very proud of the work we’re doing and that we continue to focus on,” Means said.
In early April, Means visited Georgia, speaking to a number of residents in a community forum. The districts have many similarities, he said, citing how they are both committed to equity and social justice, have high-level instructional strategies, and are both "truly innovative."
Means said the demographics of the two districts are different, however. According to the CCSD website, the district is comprised of 49 percent African-American students, 24 percent Hispanic, 21 percent White, 2 percent Asian, and 4 percent multi-racial.
Additionally, CCSD is larger with more than 13,000 students compared to 3,500 in MTSD.
The school board for the Clarke County School District will vote May 4 whether to formally offer the position to Means, who declined to say if he would take the position if offered, saying it's a bit premature.
In preparation, the MTSD school board met April 26 in closed session to "consider employment of a public employee over which the board exercises responsibility for the position of superintendent of schools," according to the agenda for the meeting.
Concealed carry could change
One of the last issues Means may deal with for MTSD also could affect school districts across the state.
A potential change to the current concealed carry law in Wisconsin could be on the horizon and would directly impact schools. Right now, the law prohibits those with a concealed carry permit to have their weapon on them while on school grounds.
Two bills are being circulated through the Wisconsin legislature — Assembly Bill 247 and Senate Bill 169 — that could change that rule. Means expressed a lot of concerns with these proposals, saying they “could put the health and safety of children at risk.”
Means said the bills, if passed, would weaken penalties for violating concealed carry law.
“I am personally adamantly opposed to the two bills,” Means said.
The MTSD school board is working on a formal letter that will be submitted to the Wisconsin legislature in opposition to the bills. Means said the board is planning to draft a formal resolution at the May 15 school board meeting, as well.