a shout out to our attorney, Kevin Rupp

Hey Kev,

I wanted to share the quick legal research of a layman (woman really) who was at our recent Board meeting. She didn’t charge me $400 an hour for her work leading up to this email. Oh, and was it on your advice that the Superintendent shut the door in my face when I followed the contract negotiations team into the secret planning meeting despite clear School Board policy that made me a member of the negotiation’s team?

Harry,
(Art, I cc’ed you in case you thought any of this was useful, and toward the bottom the teal highlighted portion [Lincolndemocrat doesn’t do colored lettering] may help you with the requests for data)

My partner ****** posed this question, or is it a thought, to me, and I can’t stop thinking about it:

So you have this attorney the district has now hired. Said attorney is going to ask a bunch of questions of a bunch of people. He is going to come back to the school board and say whether or not these accusations have any merit. The school board will vote to take Art off the board if even one of these accusations appear to be true 

Since when does a lawyer and a single opinion become a judge and jury?

Since when does an attorney get to decide if a man is guilty or not, and not have to represent his case in a court of law?

Why does only one of the ‘charges’ against Art actually have a board policy number written after it, as published in The Reader?   where does the wording for the other charges come from as formal rules that were broken? Are these charges just made up? 

The district’s attorney works for every board member. Therefore, how does the district’s attorney justify speaking to one of his employers, you, in the unprofessional way he did in full public view and still get to be employed? It only served to attack your reputation along with Art’s. 

I have since been looking up rules MN School Boards are suppose to follow . MN State Statues that define what a school board is suppose to do. There are plenty that support alternative dispute resolutions, and many that clearly aren’t being followed. The following two policies are listed on the district website. 

ISD709 School Board Policy 8100 and 8090 supports your questioning of the Superintendent, district lawyer, and anyone else you find necessary to need information from in order to justify your need to make an informed vote.  The members who refused to answer your questions are in violation of board policy. Also, adequate notice of the special meeting was not given.

8100 – Adequate Information to Precede Action

In order to expedite business, all pertinent information relative to the items on the agenda shall be made available to the School Board in written form for their study prior to the meeting.  Administrators and other qualified persons may be required by the Superintendent or members of the School Board to present information at the meetings.  It shall be the intent of the School Board to be fully informed before making decisions.

Adopted: 06-09-1970  ISD 709
Revised: 04-12-1977
06-20-1995  ISD 709

( https://docs.google.com/document/d/1mRtkZ1kq0As2tj7z9pozL99Dn5QajwS_Olvd96NOE0Q/edit)

8090 – Preparation for Meetings
Notification of meetings shall be made as required by law and as additionally provided in these policies.
Minutes of the previous meeting(s) and pertinent information concerning items on the agenda shall be mailed three (3) days prior to the meeting, for careful study by each member.

Members of the administrative staff, teachers, and other qualified persons may be called upon by the School Board to furnish information necessary for the School Board to reach a decision.

Adopted: 06-09-1970  ISD 709
Revised: 04-12-1977
06-20-1995  ISD 709

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1aIWBlQdvr12mAniviVE7x6EqMtIgsb05jzev1NbeEBI/edit

Minnesota Legislature Statutes :

123B.02.  Subdivision 1

School Board runs the district, the Superintendent is NOT the boss.  
https://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/statutes/?id=123B.02&format=pdf

123B.09. Subdivision 6
Chair must notify members of special meetings by mail at least 3 days in advance
https://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/statutes/?id=123B.09&format=pdf

123B.09. Subdivision 9
Removal of a board member
What exactly is a “proper cause”? How is that determined?
https://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/statutes/?id=123B.09&format=pdf

123B.143 subdivision 1 
Describes the duties of a Superintendent, as including “other duties prescribed by theBoard”. Aka board members are HIS boss, not the other way around. Gronseth has 7 bosses. 
https://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/statutes/?id=123B.143&format=pdf

Or alternatively, listed in the Role of the Superintendent on the MSBA website, includes “Superintendents are directly accountable to the school board.”
http://www.mnmsba.org/BoardWork/RoleOfTheSuperintendent 

And from the Minnesota Board of School Administrators – superintendents and principals code of ethics. 
http://mnbosa.org/pages/code.html 

or also found as a legislative statute here 
https://www.revisor.mn.gov/rules/?id=3512.5200&version=2014-01-18T05:00:22-06:00&format=pdf

A school administrator shall take reasonable action to provide an atmosphere conducive to learning.
A school administrator shall not misuse professional relationships with students, parents and caregivers, staff, or colleagues to private advantage.
A school administrator shall not knowingly make false or malicious statements about students, students’ families, staff, or colleagues.
A school administrator shall not engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, or misrepresentation in the performance of professional duties

Finally, the roles and responsibilities of a school board from the Minnesota School Board Association
http://www.mnmsba.org/Portals/0/PDFs/RoleSchoolBoard.pdf

Of particular interest found here:

Structure :  holds the Superintendent responsible for following all Board policies.
Advocacy : Uses ongoing, two-way communications to build trust and support among community, board, superintendent, staff, and students; Focuses on community wide concerns and values that best support student achievement rather than being overly influenced by special interests; Utilizes a system of public relations that allows it to formalize the flow of information into and out of the district.
ACCOUNTABILITY : responsible to the community for monitoring the conditions that affect the district as a whole, including the use of monitoring data.  Art, take note!!! There is zero reason to pay for data you ask for, as you are one of the bosses of those district administrators and the data you requested is you just doing your job!!

And lastly, CONDUCT AND ETHICS… not the code of ethics Rosie is always reading, but the ethics determined at the state leveL.
AN EFFECTIVE BOARD:
encourages members to express their individual opinions, respect others’ opinions, and vote their conscience.
The board as a whole provides leadership to the community on behalf of the district by conducting its business in a fair, respectful, legal, and responsible manner.

SETS AN EXAMPLE OF RESPECTFUL AND CIVIL LEADERSHIP.

Its clear that this school board does not follow its own required code of ethics with regards to how they treat fellow board members, nor do they encourage and support individual opinions.  And they are definitely not respectful (laughing, whispering, insults) or civil (employing a lawyer to find support for their claims) when a respectful conversation could have solved every issue listed in the 6 “indictments”. 

I’m telling you… The anatomy of a mafia is exactly how the district administration operates. They are taking out those who break the allegiance one by one. It’s a mafia. They protect their own and get rid of those that they don’t like.  http://the-mafia.weebly.com/mafia-origins.html 

Hope at least something in this lengthy email is useful.
 At least as a reference to find what I am talking about.  I may bring up the code of ethics in my 3 minute comment on Tuesday.  I definitely will bring up the biased vote by Meirnicki to employ the lawyer.  Thanks for the shout out in your blog. lol

Your friend