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Franklin Fine Arts Center Votes to Part Ways With Principal

By Mina Bloom | January 21, 2016 3:27pm
 Principal Margie D. Smagacz was principal at Franklin Fine Arts for four years.
Principal Margie D. Smagacz was principal at Franklin Fine Arts for four years.
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Franklin Fine Arts Center; Google Maps

OLD TOWN — The Local School Council at Franklin Fine Arts Center voted to part ways with Principal Margie D. Smagacz at a meeting earlier this week.

Nine of the 11 Local School Council members abstained from voting and two voted to renew Smagacz's contract at a meeting held at the school, 225 W. Evergreen Ave., Tuesday. None of the members voted no.

Since Smagacz did not receive the required six yes votes, her contract will not be renewed.

In an email sent to parents, Smagacz wrote, "I would like to thank everyone for their support for me over the years. I wish you all the best."

Smagacz, who did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment, was principal at the magnet arts school for four years. Prior to holding that position, she was the school's assistant principal for seven years and a teacher at William P. Gray Elementary School, 3730 N. Laramie Ave., for nine years, according to her LinkedIn account.

The reason behind Smagacz's departure is unclear.

An LSC member, who wished to remain anonymous, said only that the LSC meetings, as well as information related to those meetings, are public. She also said the November meeting had a high turnout. Other LSC members did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

Dennis Frank, a parent of an eighth grader at the school, said he was shocked to hear the news.

"[Smagacz has] got a great character. She's really involved with being inclusive to the whole school, which I think is really important," he said.

Frank believes LSC members with "subjective issues" may have influenced other members, creating a "vocal minority."

"It's not like the school is really going downhill. It's a magnet school with a great reputation," he said. "I don't think the issues would add up to something substantial in the end."

During her first three years, Smagacz scored the highest mark on evaluations, according to Frank. It wasn't until recently that Smagacz was downgraded to a "proficient" grade, one lower than the "distinguished" grade she was given three years prior.

The next LSC meeting is set for Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. in the school library.

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