The Lakeville school board is promising more transparency and an official, out-in-the-open vote for officers at their first board meeting on Tuesday.
The planned vote is in contrast to a vote taken at a December work session in which board members voted by secret ballot, handing in anonymous slips of paper to be tallied by outgoing board chair, Roz Peterson.
Because the public has a right to know how each member voted at a public meeting, the action was a violation of open meeting law, board members realized. And they have promised it won’t happen again.
“According to MSBA [the Minnesota School Boards Association], we were definitely on the line,” said Michelle Volk, board member. “We learned from this experience that it wasn’t the proper thing to do.”
Volk said the board took the vote that way to reduce conflict among board members, and it was never intended as an official vote.
“Let’s put it this way: Even if we had not voted the way we did … it’s still nothing until it’s official on the 13th,” she said.
In December’s vote, Volk was named chair, Terry Lind was elected vice chair, and Bob Erickson was chosen as treasurer. Kathy Lewis, a board veteran recently re-elected after a two-year absence, was tabbed as clerk.
Jackie Craig ran unsuccessfully for the Lakeville school board in the fall, finishing in fourth place in the race for three seats. She said she believes behind-the-scenes discussions happen “way too much” with the board.
“Such a blatant disregard for the rules, right in front of God and everyone, not even behind closed doors, just worries the heck out of me,” she added.
Volk said that any deception was unintentional.
“There’s just too many of us on the board that are very conscious of trying to stick by the rules, as you might say,” she said.