Dover-Eyota school board member apologizes for Facebook comments
EYOTA — A Dover-Eyota School Board member was asked to apologize after making a disparaging comment about a student on social media.
Board chairman Ron Pagel declined to name the board member, but said the school board member had been talked to and will send an apology to the student in question.
Two district residents sent letters to the Dover-Eyota School Board last month complaining about the comments made on Facebook. According to the complaints that were part of the agenda for Monday night's board meeting, a student who allegedly stole an item was called several inappropriate names on the social networking site, embarrassing the student and his family.
"The comments offended some community members," Pagel said.
The written complaints were sent to the district office then forwarded to Pagel, who said that since board members are elected officials there is no way to directly discipline the board member for what was said.
"This is inappropriate and unacceptable in the eyes of many in our community that saw (Board Member) post," read one of the two complaints. The name in both complaints was redacted. "(Board Member) made the issue public and now the public would like some resolution as to (Board Member) consequences in this unfortunate event."
The board also approved the first reading of a new policy on delinquent accounts. Superintendent Bruce Klaehn said the combined debt owed to the district is between $7,000 and $9,000.
"In other years, it'd be creeping up to $3,000 or $5,000," he said. "Now it's too much."
Klaehn said the difference is that owing the district money doesn't come with consequences. But the new district policy gives the district the ability to cut off services.
"If people are taking advantage of us, we need to be able to do something," Klaehn said. The programs with the biggest debt are preschool and school-age child care.
Finally, the district heard updates on plans for construction of the elementary school. Construction cost estimates have increased, according to Von Peterson of TSP Architecture. The increase is due to a bounce back in construction bidding.
"There was a pent-up demand, and now it's all releasing," he said.
The ballot referendum had included a 5 percent cushion, but that cushion has been eaten up by the cost changes. Still, the tighter budget won't affect the overall plan.
"We haven't really lost anything," Klaehn said, adding that the items that will be cut from the most recent plan were staff suggestions that amounted more to a wish list than the changes to the school that had been part of the ballot referendum. "The preschool, cafeteria, kindergarten rooms, relocating music and art, all of that stuff is still there."