Was past board chairperson; served seven years
By Ryan Gueningsman
DELANO, MN The Delano School Board reluctantly accepted School Board Member Becky Schaust’s resignation from the board at the district’s organizational meeting last Monday at the Delano City Hall.
In a letter to the school board, Schaust said she has “thoroughly enjoyed my seven years on the board, and due only to increased demands in my business, it is necessary to render my resignation.”
“This experience has been incredibly rewarding and enlightening for me, and I remain a very strong supporter of ISD 879 and believe we have an amazing district,” Schaust continued. “It has been my pleasure and honor to serve.”
The board accepted Schaust’s resignation on a split-vote, with Board Member Carolyn Milano voting against the motion.
School Board Chairman Peter Brasket said when he learned of Schaust’s plan to resign from the board, he thought of several things about her that he wanted to note.
He said it’s tough to be a school board member and hold down a full-time job in the community that involves community members because the board member’s livelihood depends on that local community. He said he has been impressed with Schaust’s ability to balance those things. Schaust is in the real estate business.
The second thing Brasket noted was that Schaust is a “realist.”
“Becky has a ‘sniff test’ capability that’s pretty solid, and she can spot BS when it’s there,” Brasket said, remembering one negotiation meeting he was a part of with her in which they were pretty close to settling.
“Becky was able to resolve the final issue mostly by common sense,” Brasket said.
Schaust joked that her initials must have helped her develop this “sniff test” capability.
Brasket also said Schaust has an “institutional memory.”
“School boards have a bit of a disadvantage in that we get elected, we serve, and we depart,” he said. “Sometimes, there’s a lack of continuity that is on boards, and we’ve seen it all year on this board, even recently we’ve had a lot of change.”
Schaust admitted she almost resigned from the school board last year due to increasing demands with her business, but decided to stick with it.
She made a recommendation to the school board and administration that the district consider implementing three-year terms for school board members, instead of four-year terms.
“Two four-year terms is a long time,” Schaust said.
Milano said when thinking of Schaust, one thinks of dedication, being driven, having passion, and encouraging.
“She took me under her wing, and is a great role model,” Milano said of Schaust.
“This is a great way to volunteer and be involved in an organization within the community,” Schaust said. “It was very difficult to finally come to the decision that it had to happen now.”
School board officers elected for 2010 year
After the meeting was called to order by Superintendent Dr. John Sweet, the board conducted its annual election of officers.
With unanimous votes, Brasket was reelected to the position of board chairperson, Amy Johnson was elected to the position of vice chairperson, Milano was elected as clerk, and Tim Douglas was elected as treasurer.
Brasket joked with Sweet about how many times he had called an annual organizational meeting to order over the years as superintendent, and Sweet said it’s been more than 30 times.
“Don’t count we don’t have that much time,” Brasket joked to Sweet.
Official newspaper of the district named
Following discussion, the school board voted to appoint the Delano Herald Journal as the official newspaper of the school district for 2010.
A question was brought forth if the Delano Eagle is eligible since it no longer has an office in the community. A political subdivision must give preference to a newspaper with an office located in that subdivision, which in this case is the school district, according to the bid from the Herald Journal.
Sweet said he contacted the Delano Eagle about this question, but did not receive a return phone call.
“I think we’re blessed to have two local newspapers in the district,” Brasket said, noting he appreciates the work of both the Delano Herald Journal and the Delano Eagle.
Odds and ends
In other business, the board:
• made its annual designations for 2010, including the authorization of prepayment of bills, annual memberships for the district, employee bonds, signatures for checking accounts, and its mileage rate, which dropped from 55 cents per mile to 50 cents per mile; among several other designations.
• set its monthly meeting date and time as the fourth Monday of every month at 7 p.m. at the Delano City Hall. This is the same as in 2009. The only conflict this year will be in December, which will bump that meeting date to Monday, Dec. 20 due to winter break.
• appointed school board members to various board committees.
• discussed its school calendar for 2010-11. Following a brief discussion, the calendar will be taken to the meet and confer committee, which will study it further. Sweet noted it is pretty much the same calendar as this year.
“I just cannot believe we can’t start before Sept. 7,” Douglas said.
“It’s unfortunate to have to start so late,” Brasket agreed.
With the proposed calendar, the last day of school would be Friday, June 3, 2011, and graduation will be Sunday, June 5, 2011.
• approved a pay equity implementation report, which is a study that is done every three years regarding gender-based discrimination.
• entered into closed session to discuss employee contract negotiations.
No action was taken upon the board entering back into open session.