Anonymous donor to pay for exam re-takes

chilton high

CHILTON - The Chilton school board met behind closed doors Friday to talk about what happened in the exact same meeting room a few weeks ago.

A district investigation found that five students cheated on the AP exams. The guidance counselor, who was supposed to watch the students, admitted he left the room during the tests. The College Board, which oversees the testing, found that students were sitting too close together during the tests.

"In my history exam, I was almost touching shoulders with the person next to me," said junior Austin Dawson. He says he took several AP exams. Dawson says he had to re-take one exam but chose not to re-take a second.

"We did not get a lot of time to re-study for that exams so the circumstances aren't desirable," Dawson said.

Other students didn't mind the re-takes.

"I'm okay with it," said junior Donna Bartel. "To be honest, my first test I knew nothing so I actually learned a lot cramming."

In all, 70 students had to re-take the exams. That's not the only fallout. The guidance counselor involved resigned.

"It's shocking I guess," said junior Abby Sabel. "It definitely surprised me that it was that extreme that that's what had to happen."

The re-takes were expected to cost the district $5,760. But Superintendent Claire Martin says an anonymous donor saw our story Thursday night and offered to pick up the entire bill.

The superintendent refused to speak with FOX 11 on camera for our original story so we asked again. But Martin still will not do any on camera interviews, neither will members of the Chilton school board.

After the meeting, the board left through a side door while Martin told us no one would be doing any interviews.

In a written statement, Martin said, "The Board expressed its gratitude and support for all Chilton staff members who have worked together to support students during this serious breach of testing protocol, and who have diligently communicated to keep the affected Chilton parents and students well informed."

The statement went on to say, "The Board of Education was informed that after the Fox 11 broadcast on Thursday evening, June 5, 2014, an anonymous donor came forward to cover the cost of the exams to the School District. This amount totaled $5,760.00. The District is grateful for this generous gift, and show of support. At this time, Chilton High School students are completing the original retesting schedule for the Advanced Placement exams. Those students that were unable to meet the retesting dates and times, will be given another scheduled opportunity to retest. The District remains committed to meeting the needs of all students affected by this situation, and will work throughout the summer to administer retests as needed."

Meanwhile, Ben Schoenborn, whose daughter had to re-take one exam, says he has no problem with how district is handling the situation.

"For the most part, the school district is following procedure and getting it well taken care of and I'm satisfied with that," Schoenborn said.

Parents will have a chance to learn more about how the district handled the situation next week. The district has scheduled a question and answer session for Tuesday night. The superintendent says that meeting is for parents and is not open to the public.

As for the five students who cheated, the district is allowing them to re-take the tests.