John Steffl elected to chair Detroit Lakes School Board

After three years of chairing the Detroit Lakes School Board, Amy Erickson will switch places with John Steffl in 2022. Steffl was unanimously elected chairman at a Monday night organizational meeting, while Erickson was elected to serve in Steffl's former post of vice chairman.

John Steffl.jpg
Detroit Lakes School Board member John Steffl was unanimously elected to his first term as board chairman on Monday night, Jan. 10. Steffl had served as vice chairman for the past couple of years.

It's a new year, and a new chairman for the Detroit Lakes School Board, as John Steffl has been unanimously elected to serve in the position held by Amy Erickson for the past three years.

Erickson, meanwhile, was elected to serve in Steffl's former position of vice chairman, in effect flipping their roles for the coming year.

Amy Erickson.jpg
After three years of chairing the Detroit Lakes School Board, Amy Erickson has stepped down a rung to serve as vice chairman in 2022. She and former vice chairman John Steffl have switched roles, as Steffl was unanimously elected chairman on Monday night, Jan. 10. (File photo)

April Thomas was elected to her second term as board clerk, despite being absent due to what was referred to at the meeting as "a death in the family."


April Thomas

The treasurer's post went to Jennifer Pedersen, who also held that position in 2020 (Kylie Johnson served as treasurer in 2021).

Jennifer Pedersen

All of these appointments were voted upon after the board members had taken their oath of office for 2022.

The board also voted to keep their salaries at the same level as in 2020. Board members will once again receive $200 per day for attending regular and special board meetings as well as board work sessions. They will continue to receive $60 per day for attending any committee meetings, workshops, seminars, conventions, or other event at which they are representing the school district.

In other business, the board voted to retain the Detroit Lakes Tribune as its official school newspaper, and designated the legal firm of Rupp, Anderson, Squires & Waldspurger of Minneapolis to serve as the district's legal counsel.


Several local banks, including Bremer, Northwestern, Wells Fargo, American National, State, First Security, Midwest, and Mid America banks were designated as official depositories for the district, along with the Minnesota Liquid Asset Fund and the Minnesota Trust/PMA Administration.

The board unanimously passed a policy regulating COVID-19 testing, vaccinations and face-covering use, to be in compliance with the new Emergency Temporary Standard recently enacted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard requires employers of 100 or more employees to set a policy for mandatory vaccination, or weekly testing and face coverings in the workplace for employees who are not vaccinated. The Detroit Lakes School District will follow the second option, along with most school districts in this area. The school board policy follows the federal and state OSHA requirements that went into effect on Monday.

As referenced by both Steffl and Superintendent Mark Jenson during the meeting, this new OSHA requirement is in the midst of a legal battle; the U.S. Supreme Court had yet to rule on the matter as of the date this article went to press.

"If the Supreme Court strikes it down...," Steffl said.

"Then we won't have to worry about it," Jenson responded.

The board's 2022 meeting schedule will stay the same as in 2021, with regular meetings set for the fourth Monday of every month, at 5:30 p.m. during the school year, and 7 a.m. during the summer months (June through August).

The board's next regular meeting is set for 5:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 24, also at city hall.

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