Menomonie School Board - new staff, new technology, same old ethics tussle

Menomonie, WI

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Published
April 8, 2019

This was a complex and contentious meeting - please watch the upcoming video for details of the discussion. The video is processing and should be available by Noon on April 9.

Revenue and Expenditure Reports for Month Ended March 2019

Reports were read. Funds are on schedule in general. 

Board Member/Superintendent Communications

Board member Jim Swanson reported on spoken word event at the Tainter

Dan Paulson reports on trip to National School Boards conference.

Dave Styer reports on the good behavior of students  on the trip to Costa Rica

Supt. Zydowski speaks about the feedback from students, staff, and faculty for new principal for the HIgh School. 

Thanks to the two board members who are stepping down after this meeting. 

Consent Agenda was adopted with no discussion. 

This approved a new hiring plan for teachers for the next year.

      Motion to approve the following personnel actions, as presented:

  1. The resignation of David Munoz, Principal, at Menomonie High School, effective June 30, 2019. 
  2. The resignation of Deanna Munoz, Physical Education Teacher, at Oaklawn Elementary, effective at the end of the 2018-2019 school year. 
  3. Employment of Casey Drake, Principal at Menomonie High School, beginning July 1, 2019. 
  4. Employment of Kurt Mueller, Counselor at Menomonie High School, beginning August 20, 2019. (added 4/8/19) 
  5. Employment of Katie LaBuda, Special Education teacher at River Heights Elementary, beginning August 20, 2019. (added 4/8/19) 
  6. Employment of Mykayla Sygulla, Counselor at Menomonie Middle School, beginning August 20, 2019. (added 4/8/19) 
  7. Employment of Anna Tempus, English/Theater/Intervention Teacher at Menomonie High School, beginning August 20, 2019.(added 4/8/19)

Closed Session - .

There was a vote to move to closed session, but none of the board members voted for entering a closed session.

Some confusion followed whether to go in to closed session and whether to discuss the board member issue at all. 

Dan Paulson reads a statement on the complaint that had been made about him re: a complaint from a constituent.  Please see the video of the meeting for the statement since we do not have a written copy of the statement. Paulson stated that he does not condone prejudice based on race and that he did not step down as board president due to any culpability, but because of the distraction about the issue.  Paulson has withdrawn a part of is statement that was written in which he apologized for board policies that were broken. 

Some heated discussion followed on this issue as to whether Paulson violated ethical policies for the board. 

Board Member Jim Swanson calls for regular order in the discussion. 

Discussion continues on emails sent by Mr. Paulson, and the issues of various statements made on social media.

Member Husby states that there need to be penalties for ethical violations.  

A discussion followed about the fact that the current ethical policy does not include social media. 

Dan Paulson asks for a written code of conduct for the board. Heather raises the issue of chain of command and how issues are resolved when the board president is target of the issue.

Board member Styer raises a question about how a public statement will be constructed and by whom. 

Some discussion occurs about what the actual statement is since member Paulson removed part of it when reading it. 

Member Thompson asks what it will take to move on and to stop talking about this in multiple meetings. 

Amy Thompson board president asks for moving forward on this issue soon so the board can go back to doing the work that needs to be done.

Supt. Zydowski states that this is a board issue, and had hoped that the synthesized statement would allow the board to move forward, and asks the board to reach a compromise and make a statement before the new board comes in April 22. 

Member Paulson states that he interpreted the policies as he understood them and did not intend to violate them and again asks for a clear code of conduct so that members will know what is allowed. 

Member Klanderman says the community still wants to know what is going on since the discussion has been in closed session and she believes there were ethical communications lapses and that the statement holds the entire board responsibility.

Member Styer asks to have the statement re-written to make it clear that only the president violated the policy. Wants to have SDMA board members changed to hold Paulson responsible. Member Burstad objects to the part of the statement that says the board took action when she feels it was just discussed. Some discussion follows on whether Paulson's use of board email was personal or board-related, and if personal was probably inappropriate. 

Jim Swanson moves that the first sentence of the statement be changed to clarify who is being held responsible. Member Styer asks that the matter be put to rest so that the new board does not have to keep dealing with this. Member Klanderman says the statement is still vague and will not make it clear to the community what the policies were that were violated and what actually happened. 

Clarification is made that the statement needs to be re-written and released as a press release. Discussion occurred on what the statement should say, and what particular school policies were violated. 

Question is called by Jim Swanson and the board votes on whether to produce a statement or not - the vote fails 5/4 and the board has decided not to release a statement and just close this issue before the new board is seated.

School Board Canvassing -

Member Jm Swanson reports on the canvassing process for the recent school board election and congratulates the new board members. 

Annual technology report -

Continuing migration to Google Suite. Report on Helpdesk statistics. Technology coaches from each building were sent to an Ed Tech conference this year.

Report on the technology and learning survey given to staff. Teachers for one asked for more information on multi-media skills. 

There are some gaps in access to broadband in the district, but better than many districts in the state. 

Improvements in redundancy in the network, more access points, more security, etc. Continue to work on disaster recovery planning and bandwidth needs. Currently on 1 Gig bandwidth and possible interest in an increase to 2 Gig or 10 if required. 

Member Styer asks what the impact is of the 3% of teachers who do not have Internet connections at home. Some off-line capabilities in Google Docs, which helps to cover over that issue. 

2018­2019 Budget Revisions

The majority of the budget changes are transfer requests and are revenue neutral. Most of the income changes are also revenue neutral. 

Quarterly Review of District Work Plan

Many changes, were not read out.

Policy 187, Public Participation at Board Meetings (First Reading)

A question was raised whether the policy of public participation conforms with other districts and the First Amendment. The School Board Association has made some recommendations.  It is recommended that the board consider the proposed changes and vote on them in the next board meeting.  

A suggestion was made that it would be suggested that people speaking at the meetings prepare a written copy of their statement or question. 

Some other questions were raised on the wording of some of the new policy. 

Question is raised about the policy and what public statements can be made about staff and students in the meeting. 

Strategic Planning Update

Not much has changed since the 3/11 meeting. More information about the plan will be shared at the next meeting. 

There is no second meeting in May due to Memorial Day, so some agenda items will be shuffled.

Closed Session. - 

Action to move to closed session for the purpose of considering employment, promotion, compensation or performance evaluation data of any public employee over which the governmental body has jurisdiction or exercises responsibility, pursuant to Section 19.85(1)(c), Wisconsin Statutes and for the purpose of considering financial, medical, social or personal histories or disciplinary data of specific persons, preliminary consideration of specific personnel problems or the investigation of charges against specific persons except where Par.(b) applies, which, if discussed in public, would be likely to have a substantial adverse effect upon the reputation of any person referred to in such histories or data, or involved in such problems or investigations, pursuant to Section 19.85(1)(f) and (1)(b), Wisconsin Statutes.

B. Action to Approve Closed Session Minutes from March 11, 2019

C. Discussion and Action to Approve Issuance of Preliminary Notice(s) of Non­Renewal of Teacher Contract(s) for 2019­2020

D. Discuss Retiree Health Insurance Issue

E. District Administrator Performance and Goals Review (Quarterly Update)

Menomonie School Board 4/08/2019

Attached Document

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