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Frazee will seek new referendum

Frazee-Vergas School District Superintendent Deron Stender is on board for another three school years.

After a three-hour closed meeting in July, the board gave a recap on the performance evaluation of Superintendent Deron Stender Monday evening and approved a contact that will carry him through the 2010-11 school year.

In the evaluation process, school board members were asked to rank their answers to 50 questions on a 1-5 scale, from unacceptable to outstanding performance. There was also a comment section for more details about the superintendent's strengths and weaknesses.

In several sections of the evaluation, Stender ranked 3.7-4.2, which was very good performance, and in other sections, he ranked 3-3.35, meets expectations. He ranked the lowest in accountability for school operations at a 3, and the highest in relationships outside the district, legislators, etc., with a 4.2.

Board chair Dana Laine read from the evaluation summary, "Overall, the board expressed, through its evaluation process, an above average level of satisfaction (3.65) in Mr. Stender's performance, and reiterated its unified support in his handling of his responsibilities within his role as superintendent."

With that said, the board also approved extending Stender's contract through the 2010-11 school year at the pay rate of $90,000 per year, although the contract reads that, "annual salary ... may be modified, but shall not be reduced during the term of this contract."

School board member Rich Ziegler suggested during Monday night's meeting that Stender's contract include language about having input from other administrative staff when it comes to hiring employees. It was agreed the language should be included in other staff's contracts to help Stender, rather than in Stender's to seek out the help.

Ziegler also questioned the rate of pay for three years.

"I hesitate to be negative, but in three years or next year, so we want to (obligate) these funds for three years," he said.

Board member Christine Daggett also mentioned the scenario that if the district would get to the point it would have to share a superintendent with another district, would that pay still be set in place.

Board member assured Ziegler and Daggett the position and pay can be terminated because of lack of funds.

"We're positive we're going to pass a referendum and have funds," he said.

Ziegler said that earlier he had questioned the rush to sign another contract, since Stender still has 10 months left on his existing contract, but said after he talked to Stender and some others, he felt comfortable approving the contract Monday evening.

"Everyone needs to get behind (Stender) and move forward," board member LaRaye Anderson said.

And move forward they did, with the approval of the contract.

Another approval came with a resolution to increase the general education revenue of the school district and call an election. The proposal would be to increase revenue by $1,000 per pupil, and a special election will be held Nov. 6.

School day shortened

Time -- it is a changin'. Literally.

Frazee-Vergas High School will be on new time starting this fall. Due to problems with high schoolers skipping the last half hour of school, Principal Terry Karger has come up with a new plan to shorten up the day, and hopefully "a compromise between all parties."

Students will begin classes six minutes earlier than in the previous years and will have one less minute between classes.

Instead of starting at 8:25 a.m., classes will begin at 8:19 and instead of five minutes, they will now have four minutes to get from one class to the next.

He said the changes won't affect staff, the elementary school or bussing.

Also at the school board meeting:

• Dean of Students Troy Haugen reported kindergarten numbers are positive with 68 registered for fall.

"I wish it were 88, but it's better than 60," he said.

• The contract for Karger was approved. Karger's K-12 principal contract will take him through the 2008-09 school years, and the pay rate will be frozen at $85,000 each year.