Rhonda Silence

School Board spends four hours with legal counsel, releases no information

The School District 166 school board held a special meeting March 10 primarily to consider “allegations or charges against individuals subject to the School Board’s authority…” The meeting started at 3:30 p.m. with a public Zoom session with about 25 people logged in. After handling one agenda item, the board closed the meeting for four hours, returning with a circumspect statement before adjourning for the evening.

The first agenda item was possible action on an employee’s request for leave. The employee in question was Superintendent Dr. Bill Crandall, who has been out on medical leave for several months. The board noted that Dr. Crandall will likely not be coming back to his duties before the end of the school year.

The school board approved extending Dr. Crandall’s leave of absence. School Board Member Rena Rogers added that she wanted to say how much she had enjoyed working with Dr. Crandall.

After that motion passed, the school board left the public Zoom meeting for a closed session with counsel in accordance with what was stated on the meeting agenda: Portions of the closed meeting also may be based upon the attorney-client privilege pursuant to Minnesota Statutes, section 13D.05, subdivision 3(b), to allow the School Board to meet with its attorney in a confidential setting to obtain advice regarding potential imminent legal action related to the School District’s allegations and defenses in an employment matter.”

While the school board met with its legal counsel, participants in the public Zoom meeting waited. The number of participants waiting to hear a summary of the discussion fluctuated from 16 to 26 attendees. There were 26 people still in attendance when the school board returned.

The final agenda item was “Possible action with respect to employment of an employee.” There was no discussion of that item.

School Board Chair Dan Shirley said 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.”

Shirley then read a statement that said the school board was sending letters to certain employees. However, the content of those letters will not be released pursuant to private data related to personnel matters. A resolution was passed to send those letters. The reading of the resolution and its adoption can be heard by clicking below.

The meeting was adjourned with no further discussion.

Before the meeting, WTIP asked Principal and Acting Superintendent Megan Myers if a summary of the discussion would be shared when the closed meeting ended. Myers said it would not, but a summary may be shared at the next school board meeting.

However, she added that it was possible it would not be shared at all, as it could be deemed something protected by personnel privacy laws.