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Kath: District ‘not hiding any information’

District 833 School Board members took a stand on Thursday in support of its top administration.

Three South Washington County School Board members agreed with Chairman Ron Kath, who voiced a full-throated endorsement of Superintendent Keith Jacobus, who has watched four of his top administrative lieutenants announce their resignations since March.

“I do not believe that administrative transitions reflect poorly on Superintendent Jacobus, or Assistant Superintendent Ryskoski, Assistant Superintendent Bernhardson or Finance Director Aaron Bushberger,” Kath said in the sometimes forcefully worded statement, naming three of the four resigning administrators.

The board also approved the resignation of Randi Anderson, the district’s director of teaching and learning, at Thursday’s meeting.

Kath reiterated some of the same points Jacobus did last week when he released a YouTube video that was presented in response to the resignations.

“In the field of education, spring is an ordinary time for administrators to seek new opportunities,” Kath said. “And that will advance their careers.”

He then called on the other three board members who were present – Laurie Johnson, Katie Schwartz and Tracy Brunnette – to see if they agreed. Board members Jim Gelbmann, Sharon Van Leer and Katy McElwee-Stevens were absent Thursday.

The three other attending members said they supported Kath’s statement.

“The comments that were brought forward are the opinion of the board,” Kath said after hearing support from the three members.

Johnson said she has witnessed similar career transitions in the private sector. She said she also inspected recent want ads listed through the Minnesota School Board Association and saw similar departures occurring throughout Minnesota.

“I really applaud people’s choices,” Johnson said. “This board is supportive of the administration and we do know that this district attracts quality people.”

Kath also addressed what he called “media speculation” surrounding the resignations. Data privacy laws prohibit district officials from discussing some personnel data, he said.

“There is no story,” he said. “The district is not hiding any information.”

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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