The approval process for recent administrative raises was again scrutinized by the Clintonville School Board at its meeting Monday, Nov. 26.
Resident Mike Krueger continued to question the board over their decision to approve raises for administrative personnel, and reiterated his desire to see the issue reconsidered.
“How many school board members knew that the Administration was going to stay in closed session for the discussion on raises?” asked Krueger. “In my opinion, the private conversations which allowed this to happen were done outside the open board meeting, which predetermined the school boards course of action on the closed session business.
“By doing this it is considered a definition of a meeting and was not open to the public. I believe you will find this against states statutes,” continued Krueger. “Then, no one admitted they did this, but someone said in a previous meeting they had private conversations about this.”
Board member Ben Huber said that to his knowledge, no board members discussed the issue prior to the closed session meeting.
Krueger then asked who invited the administrative team to be part of the closed session meeting, and the board replied by saying that administrators often stay for closed session meetings, depending on what is being discussed as it relates to each administrator’s duties.
Board Member Jim Dins said Superintendent Tom O’Toole asked administrators to stay for a discussion on administrative raises, and Board Member Clyde Tellock confirmed that the board allowed them to stay so that they could present their case. Tellock said once the administrators had given their statements, they left prior to the board’s discussion of the issue. The only administrator to remain in the meeting during the board’s discussion was O’Toole.
“Tom (O’Toole) was here, but he was not part of our discussion,” Tellock said.
“Isn’t it intimidating to have a member of the administration stay in the meeting when you’re talking about his wages?” probed Krueger. “O’Toole is not a board member and has no authority to ask anyone into closed session. Only board members can grant permission.”
Board President Tim Schultz said he didn’t think any board members were intimidated by O’Toole’s presence during the discussion. He also said that he would investigate whether or not it was proper to have administrators present their case at the meeting. “I will double check to see if we handled this correctly,” Schultz said. “I have no interest in doing something improper.”
Krueger went on to point out the Wisconsin statute regarding closed session requirements, reiterating his position that the board did not correctly list the items to be discussed in their closed session meeting on Oct. 22.
“Wisconsin Statute 19.85, which you recite and use as your closed session requirement, specifically states that enough specificity is needed in describing the subject matters of the contemplated closed meeting to enable the members to intelligently vote on the motion to close the meeting,” said Krueger. “It goes on to give examples and says if more than one item is to be talked about it must be clearly stated and nothing else can be talked about.”
O’Toole responded that an agenda item entitled “Support Staff and Other Staff Wages for 2012-13” was on the agenda for the Oct. 22 meeting, and the board voted unanimously to move that item to closed session when they approved the agenda for that night’s meeting.
“There wasn’t anything done intentionally wrong,” said O’Toole. “There are enough checks and balances in place to prevent that. I don’t believe the board intended to address this issue deceitfully or underhandedly. They’re not trying to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes. They represent the district well and will continue to do so.”
Krueger also said he didn’t feel the board had an adequate reason to give the administration a raise.
“Just because they were never denied a raise before is not a reason,” said Krueger. “There are many people who don’t get a raise and even get a cut in pay.”
Krueger did give some credit to the board for making the decision to give two of the administrators half the amount they gave others, but said he was disappointed when O’Toole told the board that he will recommend that the teachers get a raise this spring.
“In my opinion this was very uncalled for and shows me not only his believing he has power but it also puts all board members as the only ones in between what happens to their wages,” said Kruger. “By giving the administration a raise, the board pretty much stated that they will be giving teachers a raise; how could they not?”
The board went on to discuss meeting agendas, including where agendas can be accessed online, along with other documents such as board meeting minutes. Agendas are usually posted the Thursday prior to the meeting. These items can be found online at http://clintonville.k12.wi.us/district/board.html.
Middle school Student Council representative Xander Huber briefly addressed the board regarding activities taking place at the school.
District math instructors gave a presentation to the board regarding the revised math instruction, math interventions, and math coaching. Watch for a story on the district’s math instruction in an upcoming issue of the County Post East.
In other business, the board approved the following:
• The purchase of a motorized bleacher moving system for the middle school gymnasium;
• The second reading of policy #5119 – Open Enrollment; and
• The first reading of Policy #9365 – Construction of the Agenda. An addition to the policy reads: “A school Board Member may call the office of the Superintendent of Schools on or before five days prior to the meeting to have an item placed on the agenda. A staff member or citizen who wished to place a matter of District concern on the agenda shall, by written request, make known the nature of their business to the Superintendent at least seven (7) working days prior to the meeting.
Upcoming events within the district include:
• High School Band Concert – 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11, in the high school auditorium;
• K-1st Grade Winter Music Concert – 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17, in the Longfellow auditorium;
• High School Choir Concert – 7:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17, in the high school auditorium;
• 2nd-4th Grade Winter Concert – 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 18, in the Longfellow auditorium; and
• Middle School Band/Choir Concert, 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 20, in the middle school gymnasium.
The next school board meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 10, in the middle school IMC. This will be the board’s only meeting in the month of December.