Crandon group: school district administrator has 'outlasted his usefulness,' wants Kryder removedSubmitted: 03/09/2018
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter

Crandon group: school district administrator has 'outlasted his usefulness,' wants Kryder removed
CRANDON - A new group in Crandon wants the school's district administrator removed.

The group calls itself Citizens United for Education. It's frustrated with the Crandon School Board and district administrator Dr. Doug Kryder.

It also believes Kryder gave former middle and high school principal Andy Space, who resigned in February, a raw deal. New information suggests inconsistencies in Kryder's accusations against Space.

A current teacher also told Newswatch 12 Friday many members of Crandon's staff have little confidence in Kryder.

Citizens United for Education is just three days old. On Monday morning, Tim Reeder, the parent of an eighth grader and a sophomore at Crandon, made a Facebook post. He asked people concerned about the direction of the district to meet on Tuesday night.

By Reeder's count, between 60 and 100 people showed up.

"There were a number of things that were concerning [to people]. The lack of leadership from our current administration was probably number one," Reeder said.

Reeder said the group was in agreement. Kryder needs to go.

"I do believe he has outlasted his usefulness," Reeder said.

Citizens United for Education believes Kryder bent the truth in his claims about Space, the former principal.

On Jan. 15, the Crandon School Board voted to give Space a preliminary notice of non-renewal, signaling it didn't want him back next year. Space last showed up at school on Jan. 26 and signed a resignation agreement on Feb. 2.

According to Space, he got a letter signed by Kryder only after he signed that agreement. That letter presented four pages of claims about Space's behavior.

This week, Space threatened a lawsuit.

"Had I been furnished a copy of the letter prior to my decision to voluntarily resign, I would have never entered into the separation agreement," he wrote in a statement.

How the district handled Space's situation helped spark Citizens United for Education's backlash against Kryder.

"Kind of kicked it in gear," Reeder said.

For example, Kryder accused Space of referring to a female staff member as "Jugs." But this week, Space showed Newswatch 12 a statement from that staff member refuting the claim.

On October 13, four boys threatened a sixth grader with knives at a football game. Kryder's letter claimed Space mishandled the situation, asserting Space didn't properly search the boys before they left, let them come to school the following Monday, and didn't make contact with the sixth grader until Tuesday.

But in a letter to the community in October, Kryder wrote the situation was handled properly.

"There was a search, seizure, and police involvement within minutes, and all protocol was followed at the time," Kryder told Newswatch 12 on October 19.

Citizens United for Education also blames Kryder for poor open enrollment numbers.

"We are losing students by large numbers...because of our lack of good leadership," Reeder said.

Last year, 66 students living in the Crandon district enrolled in a different public school. Just 23 students outside Crandon came to the school. That imbalance cost the district nearly $300,000 in state aid.

The group believes Kryder controls the school board, saying it's the opposite of the way the relationship is supposed to operate. Reeder said, instead of being responsive, the board directs all communication to Kryder.

"If I, as a parent or a community member, have a problem specifically with Dr. Kryder, and I want to speak with somebody, I'm not going to go speak with Dr. Kryder immediately. I want to speak with his boss or bosses, [the school board]," Reeder said. "Obviously, I'm not going to go complain to the guy that I have a complaint about."

Citizens United for Education plans to have a large presence at Monday's school board meeting. According to Reeder, the best short-term result would be the removal of Kryder and the board.

Kryder couldn't do an interview on Friday, but promised one early next week. He said he's eager to open a dialogue with Citizens United for Education.

School Board President Brian Tupper did not return an email.

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