The Mineral Point School Board gathered for a special meeting Monday night to vote on the hiring of the new Elementary Physical Education Teacher, whom will start at the beginning of the 2nd Semester in January. (Scroll past the video for more article text)
Prior to voting on the hiring, the Board discussed the Hiring of Professional Personnel Policy, which is linked here: https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?ik=41445736
Board member Lisa Hay expressed a desire for the Board to look at other sample language from the Wisconsin Association of School Boards as suggestions for revision at a future meeting.
Board member Jeff Basting asked if any of those samples have language that recommend Board members be involved in the hiring process.
Hay said she believed so, with the Board having the authority, but also has the authority to delegate the responsibility.
Superintendent Luke Francois stated he believed that if any Board members were part of the hiring/selection process, they should then recuse themselves from the final approval voting process.
Board member Kelly Gundlach expressed concerns with being unclear on how hiring committees are chosen, also adding she has asked to see licenses and credentials of applicants, which she feels is not an unreasonable request.
Basting added he believes the Board should know the salary of a position ahead of time, so they can say if they think it’s out of line or not.
With specific regard to the elementary physical education position, Principal Matt Renwick stated the hiring process followed current Board policy and looked at teachers, staff, and parents to comprise the hiring committee. He said he has asked parents in the past as well to join a hiring committee, but this is the first time they had been actually able to do so.
He also stated he placed emphasis in the interview on adaptive phy ed for students with special needs, as well as educating the whole child.
Gundlach stated she has heard concerns that a new staff member was asked to serve on the committee over senior staff members who have history with the district, as well as using a parent who asked to be a part of the committee who has relationships with the candidates, stating this doesn’t look good to the public.
Basting said he had heard the same comments.
Gundlach added she would like to know the vision before hirings take place.
Hay said the Board is not the expert, and the District has experts in administration who didn’t do anything to run afoul of current policy. “I don’t feel comfortable second guessing our experts that we delegated this responsibility to,” she said.
Board member Andy Busch added, “We have excellent staff here because we’ve trusted our administrators to do the hiring.”
Board President Larry Steffes said, “It doesn’t happen often where we question the choice of an administrator” but added he has concerns over the process as well.
The Board adjourned to executive session to discuss specific candidates.
Following closed session, the Board voted 4-2-1 to approve the administration’s recommendation of Tom Ingwell as the new Elementary Phy Ed Teacher. Voting yes were Hay, Stephenson, Gundlach, and Busch. Voting no were Dolphin and Steffes. Basting abstained.
Steffes said he would like policy language tightened to eliminate gray area, but Board member Julie Stephenson cautioned there will always be gray area when dealing with people.
Busch stated that the hiring process is only going to get tougher because Mineral Point has become a destination district, and will continue to get many rockstar applicants for job openings.
The next regularly scheduled Board meeting is set for Monday, November 13 at 6:30 pm.