Board releases teacher, hires replacement

The Unified School District 410 Board of Education took care of some late-summer personnel business at a meeting Monday night. Though the board regularly meets on the second monday of the month, the extra session was not technically a special meeting because it was put on the original schedule, according to Gordon Mohn, superintendent.

Board members voted 6-0 to accept the resignation of sixth-grade instructor Collette Burton, who has been offered a contract from Argonia’s school district. Burton is getting married this summer, and her husband is employed there. She was also head high school volleyball coach, assistant middle school girls’ basketball coach and assistant track coach. Her resignation caused a discussion among board members about whether releasing her after she had signed a contract for the 2003-04 school year would set a precedent.

“Some school districts assess a penalty for late resignations,” Mohn said. He said the board’s only recourse would be to not accept the resignation. If a teacher still does not report for work, he or she would be in breach of contract and could face revocation of credentials by the state.

Board members questioned whether USD 410 could institute a policy that would penalize teachers who leave shortly before the start of the school year. Mohn said he could research the issue, but any change in the master contract would have to be negotiated.

“This year, there is not much we can do but say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to her request,” he said. “We recommend that the board honor her request and accept her resignation.”

In this case, the district “was lucky,” said board member Brent Barkman. A qualified candidate within the system was quickly identified. By a 6-0 vote, Michelle Faul was hired as an elementary school teacher to fill the void left by Burton’s departure. With the vote, the board granted Faul tenure in the school district. Hiring her as an elementary teacher retains the option for the district to reassign her to another grade level as needed. Mohn assured the board that Faul, who has worked as a kindergarten teacher in Hillsboro, is qualified to teach at the middle school level. She taught fifth grade for one year at Goessel.

Board members also voted to hire Tina King as head high school volleyball coach. King, who is not a teacher in the district, has been serving as assistant coach for the Trojans. She is a certified teacher, Mohn said.

Burton’s other two coaching spots will be filled by Kelli Chisholm.

In other personnel action, board members voted to award a Title I aide contract to Sharon Jost. They also picked board representatives for several committees. Mark Rooker will serve as TEEN representative, Dale Klassen will represent the board on the professional development council, Doug Weinbrenner will serve as chief negotiator, and Rod Koons was picked as assistant negotiator for the board.

Board members also spent considerable time in an orientation session on school finance.

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