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Discussing Superintendent's role

Fri, Jan 15th, 2010
Posted in Education

The Kingsland Board of Education met in special session on Wednesday night and attempted to elect a board chair for 2010. Two people were nominated for the position:

The current board chair, Mitch Lentz, was nominated by Deb Dahl and seconded by Peggy Merkel. He received 3 votes.

Board member Mike Zimmer was nominated by Kristin Beck, and seconded by Al Williams. That nomination resulted in 3 votes also, so there were two ties, which is how it went at the previous meeting.

During the discussion period, various members spoke out in support of either Lentz or Zimmer, but it didn't change the tie vote.

A board chairman was not selected because of the tie votes between Zimmer and Lentz. The business of the board continued with Mitch Lentz at the helm in charge of the meeting.

After the vote last week which resulted in a tie, Lentz and Superintendent Strosahl were to call the Minnesota School Boards Association to see if they could recommend a solution to the tie issue. At the meeting last night there was no mention from Strosahl or Lentz at the start of the meeting as to the outcome of that inquiry. None of the board members seemed surprised that the tie vote was the same as the previous meeting. After the meeting, I asked Superintendent Strosahl about the tie and what the recommendation from the state organization was. He said that their recommendation was to put the board chair election issue as the first item of business at every meeting and if the tie remains unbroken Mitch Lentz will continue as board chairman. "We could go weeks or months before we have a board chair," said Strosahl.

Other nominations received complete support. Kristin Beck was elected vice chair, Peggy Merkel was named treasurer and Mike Zimmer will be clerk.

The major item of business was in the workshop portion of the meeting. Discussion centered on filling the position of high school principal vacated by Dr. Jon Ellerbusch who has taken a job in Royalton, MN, as superintendent. With tight economic times there were suggestions from the board such as Al Williams, "It might be a good time to have additional duties given to Superintendent Darrin Strosahl; he could be ½ time superintendent and ½ time principal."

Mitch Lentz spoke about the importance of moving programs forward and to fill the vacancy for the rest of the year.

Mike Zimmer said that "there are things of value that don't fall into the numbers."

Kristin Beck asked Strosahl, "What do you want tonight?"

Strosahl replied, "I need to know how you want to act. I need a decision from the board on your thoughts of how to fill the vacancy for the rest of the year."

Last week in error I reported that Strosahl was working without a contract; that needs to be clarified. He is under a contract until June of this year.

Superintendent Strosahl said that he has accomplished additional duties without complaint and will continue to do so.

A regular meeting will be held next week to discuss this issue and in the meantime Strosahl will look at the various options that are available to the board.

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