School board wrestles with deployment of fellow member
Wednesday, October 03, 2012 4:45 AM
"I found out at the beginning of September that I might be going to Afghanistan for most of next year," school board member Christian Myrah reported at the board's Sept. 24 meeting.
"It was after all the filing dates (for the election), and I didn't get anything official until a week and a half ago."
Myrah's term is up the end of this year, as well as Kristy Folz and Aaron Solum, all of who are seeking another four-year term. Stephanie Jaster is also seeking a four-year seat in this race.
Eric Bjerke who was appointed to fill the late Mark Johnson's seat is seeking a two-year term in 2010. He is running unopposed for that seat.
As a former F18 pilot and naval reservist, Myrah said he has been told to report for duty in November, followed by a three week break in December during which he can attend that month's school board meeting.
Leaving again in January, he would not expect to be back until September or October of 2013. Myrah said after the meeting that his duties this time around would not include flying jets, but may be related to unmanned aircraft.
Superintendent Rachel Udstuen said that according to the Minnesota School Board Association, the board has the option to allow Myrah to attend via Skype in November.
"Depending on how the election goes, it's important that we know that his call to serve our country does not work in conflict to his ability to serve the school district," she said.
"If he is elected, then (for) any board member who is absent for a period of 90 days or more, the board has the opportunity to appoint someone to his seat. When he returns, it would be his seat again."
"I've been in the reserve since I left active duty," Myrah said. "They needed somebody to do a certain thing, and I guess I fit all of the qualifications. Because this happened after the filing, I would still feel honored to be on the board.
"It can always change, too. They could always say, 'We don't need, you so you can go home.' I've known a lot of people who that happened to."
The board approved several employee contracts. The first was a .167 FTE offer for Erin Casper to serve in a Gifted and Talented teacher position.
Also hired was Lindsey Mackie as an elementary paraprofessional. The job will be full-time in the first semester, and will be part-time in combination with .167 FTE social studies instructor's duties in the second semester.
Sarah (Holland) Schroeder was hired to direct the fall One Act Play.
Middle Ages science teacher Jennifer Solberg's contract was increased from .645 FTE to .833 FTE.
Kristy Griffin's Speech and Language contract was increased from 16 to 20 hours per week.