School District 166

ISD 166 special meeting focuses on school administrative structure

School District 166 held a special meeting yesterday (March 25) with one agenda item: strategic planning.

In light of the recent closed meeting held on March 10, WTIP contacted School Board Chair Dan Shirley, asking if there would be further discussion of the decisions made then. Shirley said this latest meeting was to focus solely on strategic planning.

The March 10 meeting was held to consider “allegations or charges against individuals subject to the School Board’s authority.”

When the school board reconvened, there was only the briefest statement made. At that meeting, Shirley stated simply that the school board is working on this issue and will continue to do so. He did not explain what he meant by “this issue.”

WTIP followed up with School District 166, asking for more information in accordance with MN Statue 13.43, which states that information conducted in a closed meeting regarding staff is public once an investigation is completed. The statute states what information may be released: The existence and status of any complaints or charges against the employee; whether or not the complaint or charge resulted in disciplinary action; the final disposition of any disciplinary action; the specific reasons for the disciplinary action.

Principal and Acting Superintendent Megan Myers referred the question to School Board Chair Shirley, who wrote to WTIP:

“I did receive your inquiry and appreciate you asking these questions. There are many complexities around the questions you ask as they pertain to Minnesota Statutes.

It’s my obligation to protect the privacy of individuals as much as the statutes provide for. It is my duty to insulate the school district from any legal liability for not following these same statutes.

I also understand there is significant public interest in the answers to the questions that you ask, so I will do my best to provide as much information as I can at this time. On or about January 14, 2021, the School District received complaint(s) about Mr. Dorr.

The School District conducted an independent investigation into the complaint and the investigation is now complete. At the present time, there is no further data classified as public about the complaint pursuant to Minnesota Statutes, section 13.43, subdivision 2.

During the special Board meeting on March 10, the Board closed the meeting to consider preliminary allegations against Mr. Dorr. At the present time, there are no documents about the investigation that are public.

The strategic planning session scheduled for March 25 is not related to this matter in any way.”

That was the case, as the March 25 special meeting focused specifically on the administrative structure of the school in light of Superintendent Dr. Bill Crandall’s extended leave of absence due to health issues. The school board spent over two hours in a work session using the SWOT method, looking at current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to the school district. There was considerable discussion of pros and cons of a number of topics, but was primarily focused on whether or not the school district wanted to continue with the current administrative set-up, which is sharing a superintendent with Lake County schools.

The school board agreed to each come up with their ideas of the best model for the administrative roles at the school.

The board agreed to have another special meeting to enable the board to make a decision on this at the April 15 regular school board meeting.