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Hiring process policy causes stir at Frazee School Board meeting

FRAZEE - Policy 427 caused some discussion Monday evening at the Frazee-Vergas School Board meeting.

The policy is one that will pin down the hiring process for the district. The concerns came about the inclusion of other teachers during the interview and hiring process.

Board member Nancy Dashner spoke up first, saying she has a "real concern with this one." While she has no problem with teachers being involved and the policy being referenced to the faculty handbook, she said she is concerned with the costs.

She said in the past, she was involved in a case where the district was required to reimburse compensation when a teacher was pulled out of the classroom to be involved in the hiring process and a substitute teacher had to be hired.

Dwight Cook also said he doesn't want the policy tied to the employee handbook, because staff may be included in the hiring process, but does not have to be for sure. The ultimate decision, he said, should come down to the board. He added that involving the teachers could be as simple as asking them to submit a list of questions for the interview portion.

Board member Steve Jepson, who sits on the policy committee along with school board member Keith Janu, said he didn't like the way the conversation was turning Monday night, and that the policy was not set up to say, "eh, we don't want to pay, let's exclude" teachers from the process.

"I want (principal) Brian (Koslofsky) to think is it going to be beneficial to have an FEA on the board. I don't want this to go back to money," he said.

Cook reiterated that he wants the board to have full authority to hire and fire.

"I don't want to give up any of those rights as a board member," he said.

Jepson replied that he just doesn't want teachers to think the district would like them to be a part of the process, but it isn't affordable.

"What is the intent of this policy, to exclude or include teachers," board member Rich Zeigler asked.

He added that right away two senior board members -- Dashner and Cook -- ring up the cost of involving teachers in the process.

Assured it isn't to exclude, Cook said he'd like to see the time stating the interview process and procedures is included in the faculty handbook and it's referred to in the proposed policy.

Jepson said if the item was to be removed from the policy, he wanted the entire vote on the policy removed from the agenda to be taken back for discussion at the policy committee.

Cook settled by saying the item could stay in the policy, as long as it's understood that it's never been meant to exclude teachers in the interview process, but that it is the board's decision to hire.

The board unanimously passed the first reading of t427 District Hiring Policy. It will come back to the board next month for a second and final reading.