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Board Ethics are questioned in open forum at meeting

By Kelsie Hoitomt

GLENWOOD CITY – The policy regarding Board Ethics was brought forth in a discussion at Monday night’s Board of Education meeting.

Board member Jon Mrdutt, asked Charlotte Heimer-Stout for clarification on her position towards the school district and the sand mine.

Jon stated that he doesn’t want the board to look bad or ineffective as the issue is important and Glenwood City is important to him.

Charlotte opened enrolled her children out of the Glenwood City School District due to concerns over safety regarding the sand mine, which has no legality issues.

Jon wanted to make sure that the facts weren’t misrepresented and he questioned whether or not Charlotte solicited others to leave the district.

Charlotte stated that she is very approachable in the community and people go to her and ask for her input.

“I asked that people please relay information to the board because the Board needed to know what the parents felt. Many families are choosing to stay another year, they will see how it goes and see if Vista follows the rules. They intend to leave the community if it is not regulated and that has nothing to do with my influence on them,” said Charlotte.

Board President, Dr. Charles Rasmussen spoke out and stated that he has witnessed three referendums go through the district.

“Members agreed and disagreed and the vote was not unanimous, but once the vote was done, all seven members were in favor of it and we went out as a united force into the community,” said President Rasmussen.

Rasmussen went on to explain that once a member turns into a “rogue” member and goes out into the community, disagreeing with the Board’s action, it makes the entire Board no longer united.

The point was that once the Board no longer appears to be united, the community questions their intention.

Charlotte stated that in the last few weeks she has seen/heard data that shows that Vista Sand is running behind schedule and the mining operation will not take place until next year, which is what kept her children in the school for another year.

Rasmussen addressed that by saying that once the MOU was voted on, the Board agreed as a unit to see what will happen with Vista Sand and the mine. However, Charlotte choosing to open enroll instead of waiting it out, created that rogue member.

Mrdutt praised her passion, but again questioned where she stood in terms of the greater good and not necessarily just on the sand mine.

“We do not have a difference of opinion in any other arena so unfortunately if the community feels that our reputation is tarnished because the rogue school board member doesn’t want a sand mine, then I guess we continue to show them that even though we are on opposite sides of the sand mine issue, student security and safety of our teachers and our students by implementing the badge system and we have made many decisions in a year and a half that have moved our students forward. Our ACT scores are high, you know so this is a hurdle. My children are going to Glenwood City this year. The sand mine issue has nothing to do with my investment in the other issues that are going on on our school board,” explained Charlotte.

There was only discussion had on the topic with no legal issues or actions taken.

In other news, the Board made a significant motion in favor of the staff that approved a pay increase based on experience for teaching and support staff members. President Rasmussen did abstain from this motion.

A new Family and Consumer Science teacher was hired at Monday night’s meeting. David Weikel will take over the position due to the resignation of long time teacher, Cindy Fahser.

On another positive note, it was shared that students in the District scored above the state average on the ACT test for the first time in four years.

This year will be the first year that the ACT will be mandatory for juniors.

The Community Education and Service Catalog came out on Tuesday. The catalog has a fresh look to it with new classes offered for this September through November.

One new program added is the STEP program that offers senior citizens a chance to volunteer in the school district for a certain amount of hours with a specified pay cap. The income made will go towards property taxes.

Community Ed. Advisor, Donna Thompson stated that this year they plan to start small and see where things go so about five senior citizens will be “hired” through the program.

The catalog itself will be updated three times in the school year instead of twice now.

Other items approved included the posting for a paraprofessional for up to 28 hours.

The Board approved to accepted a $1,500 grant from Healthier Together. This money will go towards organizing an “open gym” after school, which will have fitness activities as well as time for school work.

The Board also approved Amy Schutz as a middle school volleyball coach. And Jim Ward of Weld, Riley, Prenn and Ricci was approved as hearing officer for any expulsion hearings during this upcoming school year.

School is starting on September 2 and Superintendent Tim Johnson wanted to make a special note that the new security system is in place.

With that being said, the doors to the building will be locked 15 minutes after the school day begins and ends. Those who wish to enter the school must ring the bell and wait to be buzzed in.