February 15, 2006
A few weeks ago Dr. William Crawford, the Orange County Superintendent, was criticized for looking for a new job in Charlottesville. Now he is being accused of placing a gag order on school employees.
Orange County School Board members said school employees contacted them about Crawford. They said Crawford is not allowing them speak to the board about their concerns without the fear of getting fired.
When the board members visited schools to get input on the budget, employees told the board they felt threatened by Crawford. They said Crawford placed some sort of gag order on them so they couldn't express their concerns about the budget and if they did they would get fired.
Assistant Chairman Mike Ross fielded some of the frantic calls from employees.
"I, at least, received phone calls from people that I've been working with for quite sometime and [they stated] that they would really appreciate it if I wouldn't talk to them anymore because they didn't want to lose their jobs," said Ross.
Crawford was not available to speak on camera, but he did tell us that he did not issue any gag order. The School Board had a meeting on Tuesday with the superintendent and they both said they welcome the viewpoints of the employees.
The School Board approved the $48 million budget Tuesday night as well.