School Board must find ways to curb disrespect


From: Dave Burdick and Debbie Brady

The School Board recently discussed ratifying the Minnesota School Board Association’s (MSBA) Five Standards for School Board Leadership. These leadership standards, according to the MSBA, “are essential to being an effective, high-performing school board team.”

Standard 1 refers to conduct and ethics. Standard 1D states, “Speak one voice after reaching a decision.” Newly elected board member Karl Sonneman took issue with this and emphatically stated he would not follow this standard because it infringed on his freedom of speech. He also called the MSBA useless.

Standard 1H states, “Set an example of respectful and civil leadership.” During the March 7 board meeting, after being called out of order by the board chair, Mr. Sonneman stated, “I do not respect you,” referring to board member Steve Schild.

Jeanne Nelson, a longtime and respected board member, is resigning this year, partially because “certain difficulties,” especially in the last three months, have made her lose hope in her ability to find board unity.

Differing viewpoints, spirited intense debate and voting according to one’s convictions are part of conducting business. However, voicing disrespect and not following leadership standards will not help our School Board efficiently and effectively govern our district. The board chair, with the support of the board, must find ways to control this disruptive situation in order to responsibly conduct business.


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