Action by Mannenbach tires D9 board, majority vote to censor him

School District 9 board members voted to censor one of their own members at the end of a nearly three hour board of directors meeting last week. Ted Dole made a motion to officially censor Jim Mannenbach for violating the policy regarding standard of conduct for a board member.

This is the second time in recent months that the board has had a vote regarding Mannenbach. The first vote removed Mannenbach as vice-chair of the board of directors.

Each of the above votes found fellow board member Mark Bateman joining Mannenbach in voting against the motions.

Dole’s motion came after much of the lengthy meeting dealt with issues Mannenbach had raised. The most serious issues involved formal complaints Mannenbach had filed regarding compliance with state standards. He charged the district did not meet standards in three specific areas- class size, media services and counseling.

The standards compliance report had been approved by the board. Because of the complaint, a committee had to be appointed for each of the allegations to determine whether the district was in compliance. Director of School Improvement Tina Mondale reported the committee findings to the board of directors last week. She presented a brief version of the material considered by the committees. Each of Mannenbach’s allegations went beyond the state’s description of compliance. He included references to the Northwest Association of Accredited Schools Standards (NAAS) which are different than state standards and had no relevance to the state’s compliance report. “The lack of distinction seems at the heart of Mr. Mannenbach complaints,” said Mondale. She said NAAS are recommendations, not requirements. In addition, Mondale said Mannanbach also included personal opinion in some of his allegations.

The committees in a roll call vote unanimously found the district in compliance on each of three areas. At last week’s session, the board needed to vote to either approve or disapprove the findings of each of the three committees.  Bateman was the board member serving on each of the committees and was part of the voted unanimous vote. However, when it came to a vote by the board last week, he voted “no” on the class size standard.  Bateman voted “yes” on the other two compliance issues. In each case, Mannenbach voted “no” .

Mondale reported staff time to generate documentation for the committees cost approximately $6,000. 

Last week Mannenbach brought up two more issues for which he wanted motions to obtain information. The first concerned donations and read: “I moved that the board authorize an attorney investigate the donor confidentiality concerns and that the district generate a report of a list of stadium cover donation records with any recorded donor names and amounts from each of the donors and any other sources of stadium cover funds.”

Upon completion of the stadium and the track, the community some 20 years ago aimed their sights on a cover for the stadium. In recent years the Boosters Club tried to generate interest again in covering the stadium. There is a fund of some $49,000. The district has been trying to put together donor data.

Board members queried Mannenbach on his purpose and he was reminded of board protocol. After considerable discussion, Mannenbach decided to wait for more information.

His second motion request was, “I move that the board authorize the generation of a report from the staff members who attended the “Chicago trip” describing the new knowledge gained by attendance on this trip.”  Supt. Rickert asked why the interest in this trip when the district attends a number of sessions outside the district.  Board members said if there was time at a board meeting, they saw no problem in hearing about the Chicago trip.

Neither of the above motions came to a vote.

Board Chair Scott Grissom introduced a policy that would remove language that the district include a procedure for direct appeal to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. This request to change policy was due to the three standards complaints, the time and money spent ($6,000) to investigate and report.

A revised policy for appeal to the state superintendent presented by Bateman was withdrawn by motion.

Under personnel action, Randy Struckmeier was officially terminated as Business manager effective May 12. The original date of termination had been June 30. And Paul Cataldo was formally approved as incoming principal of White Mountain Middle School. He had previously been introduced. His position begins Aug. 2. Dan Johnson is retiring at the end of the school year.
Student recognition was given to Kiana Sweem and Madison Kabot-Sturos, students from Shady Cove/Elk Trail and Gabriella Andersen and Tre Holmes from Little Butte Elementary and to a volunteer’s volunteer, Rick Watson.     Other items reported to the board included:
• Supt. Rickert reported without kindergarten numbers for next year, Lake creek will only have 35 students next year. “We need to start thinking about numbers,” said Rickert, noting currently the district has 82 fewer students than last year.

EPEA resident Janeen Nodine reported on a positive happening at each of the district schools.

Dan Zaklan, interim business manager, said three plans for the new elementary school had been reviewed. Two were rejected- portables for $9 million and a $15 million plan. The $11,900,000 plan (the district has $12 million in the fire insurance fund) is being considered at the “Outback” school location, which is where the junior high was before the fire.

Math textbooks for K-8 were approved.

Zaklan presented background information on the economic status of the state and the district during a works session. This was in preparation for the budget meeting which will be held May 19 at 5 p.m.
By Nancy Leonard
Of the Independent


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