Public comments criticize emails
By Jane Myhra
Members of the Iola-Scandinavia School Board were asked to resign during public comments at the March 13 meeting.
The request did not include newly appointed board members Adam Wolberg and Paul Huettner.
“I respectfully ask all other board members turn in their resignations immediately,” Chad Bestul said.
He based his request on past actions of the board and on email conversations he acquired through an open records request.
“I am floored by the attitude of this board,” Bestul said.
According to Bestul, some of the comments in those emails included “I’m done being nice” and “although I would love to go nuts and wrestle in the mud, wrestling with a pig just gets everyone dirty.”
Bestul said the email conversation between several members of the board was in violation of open meetings law.
“Instead of being proactive, I find this board to be constantly reactive,” Bestul said. “I no longer trust this board.”
Iola resident Mary Olson said the board’s website posting of “Frequently Asked Questions” included a change in the district administrator’s status. When the document was read during the Feb. 13 board meeting, it stated that David Dyb’s sabbatical leave was granted through March. The website posting now states that the leave is through June 2017.
“How did that get changed without a board vote?” she asked.
Diana Jones, of Iola, said she was embarrassed at how the school board handled its Feb. 13 meeting.
“I can’t remember having seen people treated so disrespectfully as I did at the last board meeting,” she said. “I was embarrassed with how the board members set up the agenda – not in a way to promote community involvement and to listen to the community, but as a way to bully them into silence – a one-hour lecture and a four-hour wait to speak.”
“I was embarrassed at the language that was used towards people asking questions at the last board meeting because they couldn’t find answers – you said you were saddened and sickened,” she continued. “I was embarrassed as one member of the board rolled their eyes, mocked and ridiculed members of the community while they were speaking.”
Jones also asked that the board members, except for Huettner and Wolberg, resign.
“I am disappointed at how this school board has treated a community that trusted you,” she said.
The school board made no response to any of the public comments.