Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Jan. 10, 2000

Coin toss decides new chair for LP school board

By Luis Puga

A coin toss was the deciding measure that made board member Chester Hoernemann chairperson for 2000 at Monday's re-organizational meeting of the Lester Prairie School Board.

Both Hoernemann and Board Member Gene Starke were nominated for the position, but an initial vote ended in a tie, a first in his tenure with the school district said, Dr. James Redfield.

At that point, the candidates were put on the spot to make a brief statement about how they would handle the responsibility of being chair.

Hoernemann said he would like to add an additional meeting during the school year and somehow split the meetings between curriculum, and funding and building issues. He also said he wanted to see a flat rate paid to board members, as they are members 365 days of the year.

Furthermore, he solicited the board to give him six ideas on what they would like to see him do as chair to represent the entire board. He also emphasized teamwork and the need for teachers to make direct reports to the board on curriculum.

Starke said that the past year as chair had been a learning experience for him, and admitted that "things have and haven't gone so well." He agreed that the board needed the extra meeting, particularly to go over curriculum with teachers.

He also cited a need for more unity on the board and the need to communicate with each other.

However, after a second vote, the tie still held. Ultimately, a coin toss was proposed and heads came up, Hoernemann's call.

As such, the meeting was handed over to Hoernemann, who nominated Starke as vice-chair to unanimous approval.

In other elections, Nancy Krull was voted clerk and Barry Kyllo treasurer.

A second meeting per month during the school year was added. The board will meet the first Tuesday and third Monday of the month at 6 p.m. During the summer, it will only meet on the third Monday.

However, a proposed pay change by Hoernemann of $100 per month for any business within the district, and previous rates and mileage for outside of the district was not approved when board members agreed that the change would cost the district more money.

Board members will continue to be paid at a rate of $30 for up to three hours, $75 for three to six hours, and $105 for more than six hours of work. The chair will receive an extra $10 per meeting. The clerk will receive an extra $500 per year and the treasurer $250 per year.

Much of the board's other organizational votes remained the same as the previous years, with First Community Bank of Lester Prairie and the Minnesota School District Liquid Asset Fund Plus as official depositories for the district.

The district's legal publication remained the Prairie Ad-News and William Partridge was named the legal services provider. The existing policy handbook was also approved, as well as most board committee assignments.

The exception was that new board member Bob Remer took over most of the assignments from Murl Kletscher. Remer was elected in November to the retiring member's position.

In discussing appointments to committees, Board Member Fred Blaser emphasized the need to be informed of time and locations of the committee meetings. He noted that such notification had not occurred in the past and said, "You might as well take my name off of all of (the board assignments)" if notification was not provided. He added that without that information, the board would be wasting his, the school district's and the community's time.

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