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St. James Plaindealer - St. James, MN
  • Superintendent's contract extended by SJ School Board

  • St. James School District Superintendent Becky Cselovszki's contract was extended for this school year and an additional two years by the School Board during their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, Oct. 8.

    By a 6-0 vote, the Board gave Cselovszki a contract that will run through the 2014-15 school year.
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  • St. James School District Superintendent Becky Cselovszki's contract was extended for this school year and an additional two years by the School Board during their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, Oct. 8.
    By a 6-0 vote, the Board gave Cselovszki a contract that will run through the 2014-15 school year.
    The salary scale is $109,675 for this year, $112,417 for the second year and $115, 565 for the third and final year of the contract.
    These numbers represent a 2.5 percent annual increase for the Superintendent and according to School Board Chairman Bill Brown is formulated in a way similar to increases in teachers' pay.
    Before the meeting was officially called to order, Brown announced a new procedure in the way people attending the meeting would be allowed to address the Board.
    Prior to last night, the Board had a policy called, "Receive Visitors/Open Floor - The Chairperson will welcome visitors to the meeting. Prescheduled items from the audience relating to school concerns will be allowed under the Chairperson's time discretion. No action will be taken by the board unless directed by the Chair to defer to a later meeting."
    This policy allowed for people to speak directly to the board concerning items on the agenda.
    On Monday night the Board changed the policy to one where people would write their questions and concerns on 3x5 index cards and the Board would review and chose to address questions and comments it deemed germane to agenda items.
    There was some complaining from the people in attendance about changing the rules without notifying people in advance of announcing the change.
    From the audience Darci DePoppe said, "This new policy is cutting us off."
    Brown felt some of the reasons for the change were, "That when you have an open forum Board members can be buffaloed. They can be harassed into bad decisions. A lot of times a good decision can go bad in the heat of the moment."
    When asked to cite examples of good decisions going bad, Brown could not provide any recent ones that happened to this School Board.
    Board Member Tammy Stevens said, "We are not following the chain of command at all. We need to get back to that."
    Audience member Lee Carlson said to the Board, "It's obvious from the comments you are hearing that a lot of people are feeling they got jumped with this big drastic change in the way you do things. Let's not trivialize what people are saying here.
    "Some people are upset about this change that they didn't know that was coming until they walked in the door tonight."
    The Board proceeded with the new note card policy. A vote was not needed to implement the policy.
    Page 2 of 2 - When the note cards were collected from the audience almost all of the questions and concerns of the audience centered on extending the Superintendent's contract. The Board took notes and the idea was to address those questions and concerns when that agenda item came up.
    Agenda items before the Superintendent's contract included paying of accumulated bills of the past month. Business manager Mary Richard submitted bills totalling $1,085,078.78, which the Board approved.
    The Board approved the hiring of many other staff during the meeting. Silvia Solorzano was hired as the family-liaison staffer at Northside. The Solorzano hire is part of the staffing required by the federal grant Northside received six weeks ago.
    Before the meeting, Northside Principal Karla Beck had this to say about Solorzano, "Silvia will bring to our school a strong vision of education excellence as both a parent and a school employee as she has worked in the district as a paraprofessional.
    "She was part of the School Improvement Team so has been involved in the process from the beginning."
    "We are excited to have Silvia join our Northside Team."
    In other action, the Board approved 'Truth in Taxation' meeting times. The 'Truth in Taxation' meetings are required as part of the approval process regarding the levy certification for next year. The Board approved that certification in a special meeting on Sept. 24.
    The meeting times were set for Dec.10, 2012 at 6:00 pm at the Armstrong Library. The second meeting (if necessary) will be on Dec. 17, 2012 at the Armstrong Library.
    Brown and Board Member Jennie Firchau were two members who did much of the talking in attempting to answer the questions or address most comments from the note cards regarding the Superintendent. After the Board discussed the merits and progress they've seen from Cselovszki, they approved her contract through 2014- 2015.

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