By Ivan Raconteur
LESTER PRAIRIE, MN During a brief special meeting Wednesday morning, Lester Prairie School Board voted 5-0 to approve the hiring of Nelia Olson as a social studies teacher.
Board Chair Bob Carlson and board members Rollie Radtke, Karla Heigl, Matt Klitzke, and MerriLea Kyllo voted in favor of the motion. Board Member Gregg Machemehl was not present.
This action reverses a July 30 decision. During a special meeting that evening, a motion to hire Olson failed on a 3-3 vote, with Carlson, Heigl and Klitzke in favor and Radtke, Kyllo, and Machemehl opposed. Those opposed expressed concerns about the hiring process.
During Wednesday’s special meeting, Kyllo read a statement expressing her views on the situation. The text of that statement follows:
“First of all, I want to say that I will support the candidate before us today.
“That being said, I also want administration to know that I know deviation from previous interview practice did occur and going forward, I would like a policy in place or review the current policy for consistency of interview practice and want it followed moving forward.
“I do not want professional staff to be able to come forward and tell me this is not how it was done previously. Standardized practice will help all of us support whomever you bring forward as a candidate in the future.
“I believe, in this case, perhaps the deviations occurred to avoid the appearance of favoring a local candidate, but in so doing, you swung the pendulum too far in the other direction and disadvantaged the local candidate.
“That being said, you can’t un-ring a bell, and we need to move forward. The candidate before us is qualified and I welcome her addition to the staff at our school, and I will support her in her career as I do the rest of the staff here.”
During the July 30 special meeting, the board established a committee including Kyllo, Radtke, and Klitzke to review the current hiring process and present a recommendation to the full board for approval at a future meeting.
Storage building clarification
In an Aug. 5 story regarding the July 30 special meeting, it was reported the consensus of the board was to hire RAM General Contracting to put together specifications for a storage building, and, once approved, the board would use those specifications to seek bids for construction of the storage building.
Although Radtke presented preliminary plans and rough budget estimates to the board, and the board asked Radtke to put together some more information, the board did not hire RAM General Contracting to put together specifications to be used in the bidding process.