A number of interested citizens of the Hills, Beaver Creek and Steen area attended the Hills-Beaver Creek School Board regular meeting, Monday, June 9.
Board chairman Harley Fransman called the meeting to order and invited visitors to voice their concerns.
Several stated they would like the following individuals, Kale Wiertzema and Halden Van Wyhe, hired for the elementary classroom positions.
Dan LaRock thanked the board and administration for their commitment to the district and students.
“I come before you tonight to formally voice my concern over how this body has operated over the past several months,” he said.
“According to the MSBA the work of this board is to promote the big picture and not spend its time on staff work verses board work. I believe our communities would like to see you strategically plan for the best future possible for HBC. This does not include micromanagement of people or the decisions made by those with the experience and training to make them.”
Teacher Don Bosshart said he has been on the hiring committee and stands behind these individuals on their recommendations.
Heather Erickson said, “Has anyone asked the students who they wanted as their teacher? Both of my children had Mr. Wiertzema and Mr. Van Wyhe and loved both of them.”
When it came to act on the recommendation to hire Kale Wiertzema, board member Karin Moser asked to speak.
“Healthy debate leads to good things,” she said. “There is not always division on our board. At times we do have hot topics and welcome different points of view. Because of data privacy the public needs to trust the elected officials on the board at the decisions they made.”
Board member Amie Fick also weighed in on that sentiment.
“We support Mr. Holthaus 100 percent and pushed to get him the help he needed when we hired a new principal. We respect and work with him,” Fick said.
“The board is not dysfunctional; we work together. This is not a popularity contest. My only goal is to secure strong staff, and I am proud of every one one of them.”
Board member Lois Leuthold said, “We are a governing board, and when you question these applicants you are questioning their ability to choose teachers.”
Fransman said, “We need to trust the hiring committee.”
On a roll call vote, the H-BC board approved Wiertzema’s hire on a split decision.
Voting in favor were Fransman, Leuthold, Arlyn Gehrke and Tim Baker. Voting against the motion were Moser, Fick and Jim Kueter. Motion carried.
Board action on hiring Van Wyhe as an elementary classroom teacher passed unanimously, as did action to hire Whitney Stoffel, special education teacher, and Jill Stiefvater, extended school year special education teacher for summer of 2014
Next H-BC School Board meeting is Monday, June 23.