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Petition submitted to remove Freeman superintendent

FREEMAN -- More than 100 people signed a petition recently in favor of dismissing Freeman Public School Superintendent Don Hotchkiss and gave it to the school board.

Parents, residents in the school district and some outside the school district allege Hotchkiss intimidates students and parents, doesn't properly confront bullying, prevents exchange students from enrolling in the school and lacks concern for finding ways to help the school increase enrollment, among other issues.

"There is plenty of misinformation, opinion and outright untruths," Hotchkiss wrote in an email to The Daily Republic. "I addressed the petition in detail with the individuals at the board meeting the other night. It is time to move on with the business of the Freeman Public Schools and that is what I intend to do."

Chris Eisenbeis, spokesman for the group that gathered signatures for the petition, is a parent in the Freeman School District District. He said what triggered the petition "was the way Hotchkiss addressed the volleyball team last fall."

Eisenbeis declined to elaborate, but said it was enough for a group to organize the petition. The petition was hand-delivered individually to each school board member two days prior to the May 12 school board meeting.

"Our goal is to get new leadership for the school," Eisenbeis said in an interview with The Daily Republic.

Eisenbeis said he was unhappy that after the petitions were delivered to school board members, Hotchkiss received notification of the petitions.

"We asked the board to keep the petition to themselves," Eisenbeis said. "We thought they'd go into executive session and talk about it. We were told it would be handled in a different way."