21 days for Meier to decide
With a 3-2 vote Monday night, the Sioux Central school board denied its superintendent a salary raise for next year, raising the question of whether or not the district will be opening a search for a new superintendent.
Sioux Central superintendent Dr. Bonnie Meier, who is paid $77,520 annually, was asking for an increase of 3.5 percent in salary and insurance. Despite the board's refusal to grant her a raise, it renewed Meier's contract for the coming year.
In May, during a debate over administrators' raises with the school board, Meier voiced her verbal resignation during the public meeting.
Meier told the Pilot-Tribune during an interview at the time that her outspoken remarks were a reaction to what she believed was a vote of "no-confidence" by the board. Other administrators were later given raises of 3 percent, down a half percent from the recommen-dation made by the board's negotiation committee.
Although Meier said she had been at peace with her decision, after meeting with parents she decided she would hold off making her resignation final.
Now Meier is faced with working for a board that refused her a raise and denied her recommendations for her staff, in what looks like two votes of "no confidence."
What lies in her future, she said, hasn't been decided.
"The board gave me my contract this morning (Tuesday)," she said. "I have 21 days to decide whether or not to accept it, and I'll probably need every one of those days to make my decision."
Meier told the Pilot-Tribune in an earlier interview that she was dedicated to getting the district's charter school off the ground. The charter school is one of the first in the state.
School board president Bill Johnson, speaking Wednesday by phone from Sioux Rapids, said there wasn't much to say about the vote, that the meeting had gone smoothly and there was little or no controversy over the vote taken on Meier's salary.
"What happens now it's hard to say," Johnson said. "The ball is in Dr. Meier's court, so to speak. I hope for the children she'll decide to stay in the district, but with the stress of the job, I can understand if she decides to move on."
Meier said she thought perhaps one of the problems the public and board had with her administration was the recent floundering of the National School Fitness Foundation (NSFF).
The NSFF sold the district more $250,000 worth of strength training equipment earlier this year before it became the subject of an investigation by the Minnesota State Attorney General. The district had to borrow the money.
NSFF was to make the monthly payments on the equipment, as long as the district provided statistics on the people who used the equipment. However the due to financial and legal problems, NSFF has been delinquent on payments, giving some residents and school board members cause for concern that the district may be in over its head.
"Yesterday the board and I heard from representatives from NSFF," Meier said. "They told us that it is now reorganizing under Chapter 11 bankruptcy law. They told us as soon as they begin making payments again, our district will be one of the first 18 districts to resume getting money."
If NSFF doesn't make its payments, SC the money in a 'rainy day' fund to cover the debts, Johnson said.
The other members of the Sioux Central board could not be reached for comment.