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Lentz remains chair of Kingsland school board

Fri, Jan 22nd, 2010
Posted in Education

After two meetings that had tie votes for a board chairman, the Kingsland School Board elected the current chair, Mitch Lentz, as chairman. In the past two unsuccessful attempts the vote was three votes for Mitch Lentz and three votes for Mike Zimmer. At last night's meeting the only nomination was for Mitch Lentz to continue in the chair position for the remainder of this year. He had previously announced that he would not be running for school board in the next election. Kristin Beck and Al Williams were the two board members that voted for Zimmer and now there was a unanimous decision to elect Lentz.

Prior to the regular board meeting there was a workshop that started at 4:00 pm. The workshops are rather informal gatherings of the board to discuss various issues, but they are prevented from taking any action until the regular board meeting which follows the workshop.

Most of the time during the workshop portion was devoted to gathering information to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of high school Principal Jon Ellerbusch the end of this month. He is leaving Kingsland to assume a superintendent's job in Royalton, MN.

Board members will be looking into filling his position based on several options:

Superintendent Darrin Strosahl said naming a Dean of Students might not be something a teacher might not want to do. Basically, it would mean that a teacher would leave the classroom to fill the position until the end of the school year and then not have the ability to return to the job as teacher. Strosahl said he posted the position on Monday to all teaching staff and he has had no applications. There is also the possibility of hiring a long term retired principal. Administration is also looking at a long-term social studies teacher.

Also at the workshop, there was discussion about the contract of Superintendent Darrin Strosahl. The board has been weighing the pros and cons of a 3-year old contract. At the last meeting some of the members asked for more information about length of contracts and salaries in other districts. Mitch Lentz asked if all members had received the information they requested, and they said they did. Al Williams took the lead in saying, "I think there should be something in the contract that allows us (the board) the authority to add duties as stated on the last page." Lentz and Strosahl commented that the paragraph already gives that opportunity but, "If the duties are outside the job description of the superintendent, you have to change and renegotiate the contract," said Strosahl.

No other items were brought up in the workshop and the regular meeting of the school board followed at 5 pm.

Principal Heckimovich reported to the board that the next round of testing for special ed students is underway.

High school Principal Jon Ellerbusch said that when he leaves on Friday, all of the classroom goals will have been accomplished and "there shouldn't be any loose ends."

Kathy Beevers informed the board that the finances are in line and said, "In fact, spending is slightly below what we approved in the budget." She also stated that a few new students have enrolled in the Kingsland District and that $496,000.00 has been invested at a rate of 1.25 to 1.75 percent. She said, however, that she expects a spring cash shortfall based on impending cuts from the state.

Towards the end of the meeting the board approved a new three-year contract with Superintendent Strosahl. Salary increases will be zero percent the first year, one percent the second and third years.

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