Board wrangles over who decides


By Alex Johnson


The Burlington Area School District Policy Committee on Monday decided to change wording on a policy that dictates which bodies of the School Board get to choose the method for evaluating the performance of the superintendent.

A week earlier, the Personnel Committee voted 2-1, with Roseanne Hahn voting against, to use the System for Educator Evaluation and Development, or SEED model.

Hahn, who was not in favor of the hassle required to use the SEED model, brought a policy change proposal forward that would instead allow the entire board to make the final decision on which evaluation method should be used.

“I don’t think two people should make decisions for seven,” Hahn said, regarding the current policy on the evaluation process.

The policy in question, No. 225, reads that, “It shall be the responsibility of the Personnel Committee to devise the evaluation instrument and process by which the Board shall evaluate the performance of the superintendent.”

Hahn suggested amending the policy to read that, “It shall be the responsibility of the School Board…” to evaluate the superintendent and not just the Personnel Committee.

Board member Barry Schmaling disagreed with the change.

“I think the board needs to seriously consider dissolving committees in general if we’re going to take everything to the board every time there is a disagreement on it… We all attend all the meetings anyhow, and if the endgame is just to run it up to the board, I don’t see the point in committees.”

Board member Susan Kessler said the proposed change is a good idea.

Kessler made the motion to recommend approval of Hahn’s proposed change to the full board for two readings. The Personnel Committee voted 2-0 to do that. Board member Kevin Bird, the third member of the committee was absent from the meeting.

A second motion was also passed 2-0 stating that last week’s action on policy No. 225 be put on hold until the most recent change to the policy be accepted or rejected by the full board.

At the end of the meeting Schmaling read a request by School Board President Jim Bousman, who was also absent from the meeting, for each board member to submit a goal for Superintendent Peter Smet, one part of the SEED evaluation method, despite the pending status of policy No. 225.