Last night the EMID board received a letter of resignation from Interim Superintendent Jerry Robicheau, stating that he planned to leave the position on 17 March 2012. The board, however, did not want to be left without a superintendent and approved a motion to accept his resignation “on March 17, 2012, or as soon as a replacement is appointed, but no later than May 1st.” Some wanted to keep him on longer, but member Gelbmann pointed out that “slavery had been abolished” and they really could not compel Robicheau to stay.
The board appointed a special superintendent search committee consisting of John Brodrick, Kitty Gogins, George Hoeppner, Byron Schwab, and Lori Swanson, to supervise the search. Dr. Robicheau repeated a few times that he was sure they would find suitable candidate by March 15. In fact, he made it very clear he had just the right person in mind, someone fully qualified and who had already expressed interest.
Harambee teacher Denise Dzik and Crosswinds parent Eric Celeste both pleaded with the board during open forum to consider Kathy Griebel for the position. Currently Harambee principal, Kathy was nearly chosen by the board in 2010 for the position and clearly meets the requirements of the “Profile of Leadership” that was developed then and which has guided EMID searches since then. However, in over an hour of discussion of this matter, the fact that there is such a qualified internal candidate was never once mentioned by any board member.
The special search committee plans to meet in the first week of March to review candidates selected by Dr. Robicheau. The full board will meet early on March 21, conducting public interviews of the candidates starting at 4:30pm that Wednesday. If they are successful at finding a candidate they approve of, they could appoint that candidate later that same day at their regular board meeting.
In other matters, the board also tabled a discussion of capturing school levy funding from member districts for EMID. Right now, the EMID budget does not allow any integration funding to be spent on EMID schools, leaving the schools with only state “backpack” money from each pupil. No other district in Minnesota tries to run schools with only backpack money, and indeed at EMID this would lead to closure of the schools in the 2013-2014 school year (the year after next). EMID is not allowed to raise levies, but the joint powers agreement by which it operates allows the EMID board to capture levy dollars generated by EMID students for EMID schools.
Financial support for students attending the EMID School District shall be comparable to that from which the would have benefited if they had attended Member District schools. …each Member District shall transmit to the EMID School District pupil-based state aid and local tax levies received by the Member District. [From Article Twelve of the EMID Joint Powers Agreement revised January 2012.]
Still, the board refuses to use this power and some member districts insist it is unfair to share levy dollars with EMID. The most likely scenario to come to pass would be that each member district would match the lowest levy among the members (Saint Paul Schools’ $646 per pupil levy) providing $500,000 additional revenue to EMID. However, some board members raised important questions about the fairness and long-term predictability of this method of assessing levies. In the end, the board put this decision off for another day.
It should be noted that members of the board again expressed their discomfort with the arrangement EMID has made to allow ISD622 students to “open enroll” in EMID. These students only bring “backpack” dollars with them and since ISD622 is not a “member district” there will never be any way to collect levy dollars from them. Of course, the board itself approved this arrangement in 2008 when ISD622 pulled out of the collaborative.
The board also made committee assignments for the coming year. Those can be found on our EMID Families school board page.
Oh, and if some of you noticed the “good news” item on the board agenda, that ended up being an opportunity for Dr. Robicheau to allow our principals to highlight good news from the schools. Only Kathy Griebel was present to do so, and among other things she highlighted the talent show held at Harambee recently. If you have not seen the faculty’s “flash mob” version of Thriller from that evening, take a look!