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Support comes out for Suamico teacher Murphy

By Ben Rodgers

SUAMICO – The Howard-Suamico school board heard two pleas from district residents regarding the resignation of Suamico Elementary School physical education teacher and high school girls track coach Victor Murphy at the Monday, March 16, meeting.

“I’m pretty disappointed in what happened with Mr. Murphy,” said Amy Rubright. “My son came home crying, all my kids had him. … As a parent, I think it was really lousy what happened to him, because people do things wrong, nobody’s perfect. This man’s career is now ruined because of one family.”

The district has been mum on details of any incident since Murphy resigned Feb. 17.

“If you let people’s families bully you guys and make these decisions, we’re going to have problems like we’ve had in other states, with bad things happening in our schools,” Rubright said. “It’s not good. These kids are going to get away with whatever they want.”

Doug Gronski gave the board a petition with nearly 6,000 signatures of people who want to see Murphy reinstated.

“It’s just as baffling how the school board didn’t take the time to investigate the situation more thoroughly without investigating his resignation,” Gronski said

Murphy released a statement Feb. 24.

“My family and I want to express our thanks to the Howard-Suamico community for their love and support,” the statement reads. “I have truly enjoyed my 26 years with the district and will continue to support HSSD. Teaching and coaching has been an absolute joy. I will honor my decision to resign from the school district. Bringing closure to this will allow me to look forward to other opportunities.”

The district said in a statement it will not share any further details regarding Murphy’s resignation.

“Out of respect for the privacy of all parties involved, the district is not sharing any further details regarding Mr. Murphy’s resignation,” the statement reads.

Debt defeasance

In other news, the board heard an update about a debt defeasance proposal it will vote on in April.

Matt Spets, assistant superintendent of operations, said the move will reduce the district’s debt by roughly $1 million to $18 million, or 4 percent of the total amount of allowable debt.

“Any move we make now or this fiscal year to prepay debt provides more flexibility as we go forward looking at future a referendum,” Spets said. “Meaning $9.19 (the district tax rate) could stay stable, if we paid down now.”

The district is one of only three in Wisconsin to have kept a stable tax rate over the past five years, Spets said.

The vote April 6 could put funds into an account for prepayment of debt that is currently not eligible for repayment.
It would also reduce interest costs by about $35,000.

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