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Twice the fun: Frazee board to meet bi-monthly

The Frazee-Vergas School Board is adding another meeting to its agenda.

Approved Monday morning at the regular meeting, the board agreed to add a second board meeting each month, with the possibility of dissolving committee meetings in the future.

Although talk of going to semi-monthly meetings has been on the back burner for a while, Monday morning, after talking over the results of a Minnesota School Board Association survey, the board took action to try having two meetings a month, but also having committee meetings as well.

Is the work of subcommittees honored?" was the question the MSBA survey asked with only one board member voting "yes" and six "no."

"Why have committees then?" questioned Katie Klanderud, director of school board development for MSBA. If committees are discontinued, "you will be the committee for every committee."

Another topic to come out of the MSBA survey was opening meetings to public comment. The board uses a form system where people can fill out a form to address the board, and then it is taken into consideration for the next board meeting.

Holding a second meeting each month could be one way to solve the issues of community involvement and committee meetings.

Board member Dwight Cook said the board doesn't trust its committees anymore and is just "rehashing" the work done at the committee level.

Board member Steve Jepson said committees are important and that other board members can ask questions of committee members if needed.

Board member Keith Janu, on the other hand, liked the idea of change.

"I like the idea (of dissolving committees) because everyone is informed first-hand."

The second monthly meeting could be a forum for public input as well. Board member Nancy Dashner said that has been tried in the past with "devastating" results. The public interrupted the meetings so often and for such long periods of time, the meetings were hours longer.

If controlled, though, she liked the idea of the public being able to speak at the meetings. A good forum for the public has yet to be established in the school district, she added.

It was discussed that the first meeting would be a more formal business meeting, and the second meeting would be more for student achievement, community topics, etc. to be discussed.

"It's trial and error," Cook said as to the format.

Several board members wanted to keep the committees, as well as adding another board meeting. When asked if administration was all right with that decision, Superintendent Deron Stender said the board is just adding more work for district staff.

Business manager Diane Menz also pointed out that there is an added cost, with board members receiving $60 a meeting, plus mileage.

Board member Rich Zeigler said he envisions it as adding the second meeting now and eventually doing away with committees. Cook agreed, adding that it's a growth process.

The board agreed to start the new format in September and work from there on what will be done at each meeting.