STROUDSBURG -- Parents and students in the Stroudsburg Area School District are fighting back, trying to save their superintendent, Dr. John Toleno.
The school board voted just last week not to renew Toleno's contract and now the community is rallying to keep their leader.
The Stroudsburg Area School Board has been at odds with Dr. John Toleno since last spring over contract disputes. The board voted 5 – 4 last Wednesday not to renew Toleno's contract when it expires at the end of June, but a large number of parents and students are working to let the board know they don't agree with the decision one bit.
The leader of the Stroudsburg Area School District has his days numbered.
"I was expecting it, but you always hold out hope, you know that there might be a board member that decides this isn't the best move for the school district, but clearly that didn't happen," said Superintendent Dr. Toleno.
The board has been at odds with Toleno since last spring over contract issues. But now parents are stepping up. About 20 volunteers are gathering to put in phone calls to the community.
"Call the people in the district, call the community members, the taxpayers, parents, students alike and let them know that we stand with Dr. Toleno," said parent Erica McCabe.
Backlash against the school boards also began on social media. A Stroudsburg student began #SaveToleno, tweeting:
The hashtag caught on.
"#SaveToleno was ingenious and it motivated a lot of parents and people who were past alumni to get involved," said McCabe.
Students are also circulating a petition at the school to #SaveToleno.
Even with the overwhelming amount of support from parents and students to keep their superintendent, the school board says their decision has already been made.
"The reality is the vote's been taken. It's not going to change the outcome. We're in the process of getting proposals and so forth to hire somebody to help us with the search," said board president Richard Pierce.
The majority of the board won't discuss the vote, saying this is a personnel issue, and they are looking for the best candidate to run the district.
Parents say the fight for Toleno isn't over.
"It's very humbling. It's very interesting as well. It makes me curious to see where it's all going to wind up but I can't say enough about the people who've come out," said Toleno.
Parents calling many people in the Stroudsburg area are trying to drum up support for their superintendent and get taxpayers to the next school board meeting on January 21.
Toleno could reapply for his position, but as of right now, he says he is exploring several opportunities for next school year.