Debbie Hickman
Special to The Gardner News
USD 231 executive sessions continue to extend further into the evening than they used to. The May 12 board of education meeting was no exception, as an executive session to discuss personnel, negotiations and attorney-client communication was extended multiple times from 7:50 p.m. until 9:20 p.m.
Mark Grannell, board president, upon reconvening the meeting, read the following statement:
“At our last regular meeting, the board engaged the services of Curt Tideman and his firm, Lathrop & Gage, as counsel for the school district.  Mr. Tideman has reviewed the events leading up to and including the board’s action on February 27, 2014 in which the board ended the employment of administrators Bill Gilhaus, Lana Gerber and Christina Ziegler.  After conducting that review and communicating with the attorney for the three former employees, Mr. Tideman met with the board in executive session for the purpose of giving advice subject to the attorney-client privilege.  Tonight, Mr. Tideman has proposed three board actions which he has drafted in the form of resolutions for the board’s consideration.  Without disclosing the advice he has given to the board, it is my understanding that the general reasons for these actions are (1) to address and mitigate potential liability, (2) to facilitate settlement negotiations, and (3) to promote general fairness to all parties involved.
With that general explanation, I will present these three Resolutions for a vote,” Grannell said.
Although Grannell did not read the resolutions in their entirety, he paraphrased.
The first resolution will pay former administrative employees Bill Gilhaus, Lana Gerber and Christy Ziegler through the end of the school year, June 30, 2014, as specified in the contracts. Board members unanimously approved the resolution.
In a second and third votes, six board members agreed to separate resolutions not to renew the contracts of Gerber and Ziegler. Board member James Repshire abstained from the resolutions. Though his votes count against the resolution, they will be recorded in board minutes as an abstention.
The board also approved a personnel report, published on the district website on the morning of May 13. With the approval of the report, the board agreed to hire John Martin as principal of Trail Ridge Middle School; and Melissa Green as assistant principal of Trail Ridge Middle School.
The board also rehired Leann Northway as the director of community relations. Northway resigned early in the school year to work for the Blue Valley School District.
In addition to new hires, the board also approved the resignations of Sunflower Elementary Principal Dustin Mortenson and Wheatridge Middle School Assistant Principal Jeremy McDonnell.
The board also approved giving written notice that they do not intend to renew the contract of Marcia Munsel, director of special education learning. According to the personnel report, the non-renewal is due to departmental restructuring.
The entire personnel report can be reviewed on the district website.
The next scheduled school board meeting is 6 p.m. on June 9.