Board adds ‘delegations’ time

By Karen Colbenson

Austin School Board members unanimously approved several teacher terminations and non-renewal of contracts and discussed communication procedures during a special meeting Monday.

Eleven teachers will be notified of the non-renewals by July 1. Superintendent Candace Raskin said reasons for the non-renewals range from program downsizing to determinations for staffing changes made by building principals.

Some positions were only contracted for a year, said Raskin.


The board also reached a consensus on how to handle delegations from the public, an issue that has been discussed at several meetings.

Beginning in May, a few board members will be available before regular monthly meetings, from 5:45 p.m. to 6:20 p.m., to hear delegations from those who do not feel comfortable approaching the board during the meeting.

Delegations will still be available during the meetings as well.

In an effort to increase communication with the public, board members also discussed the idea of offering "On the Road" meetings again. The informal monthly meetings, which concluded in May 2007, offered parents and community members a chance to talk with board members at the schools and at Coffee House on Main on Saturdays. The sessions were discontinued in spring because of low public attendance.

Raskin suggested the board try it again to "extend out and get into the community."

Board member Mary Kleis said she supported the idea.

"The ones I went to, people appreciated having us there. … The more communication we can have, the better," said Kleis.

Board member Dave Simonson agreed.


"I agree it wasn’t overly successful, but if we’re going to reach out as much as possible, that would be a way of doing it," said Simonson.

The board also discussed allowing delegations at future work sessions.

The board will vote on the issues at a meeting this month.

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