Sweeping changes to Urbana schools leaves parents confused

Sweeping changes to Urbana Schools leaves parents confused. (WCCU)

More sweeping changes are happening to an already unsettled Urbana School District.

Most recently, Superintendent Don Owen and Assistant Superintendent Kathy Barbour were voted out and placed on administrative leave immediately.

Back in October, Assistant Superintendent Samuel Byndom was placed on leave facing charges of eavesdropping after bringing a recording pen into a closed board meeting.

These changes have left the school community with very few answers and people still wanting to know why.

When the board announced these changes last week, they provided little explanation, saying it is in the, “best interest of the district.” So far, that’s the only reasoning provided.

This now makes three high-level administrators gone.

In the meantime, the district has brought in three people to fill the empty seats.

Preston Williams will take over an interim superintendent until the district finds a replacement. Williams previously served as the superintendent at Urbana from 2007-2013.

Barbour is replaced by Gayle Jeffries and Byndom is replaced by Jean Korder.

For those shuffled out, like Don Owen, it has come as a shock.

In a statement from his lawyer, he said, "If the reasons for an employee's suspension or termination are vague, that definitely sends up a yellow flag."

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