Although St. Francis School District 15 Chairperson Marsha Van Denburgh made the decision to remove the department directors from the board table, the board outvoted her.
On a 4-2 vote March 12, the board voted to bring the directors back to the board table. Van Denburgh and Boardmember Suzanne Erkel voted no. Boardmember Matt Rustad was absent.
Her decision to remove the directors from the table at the beginning of the year was based on what other school boards do, Van Denburgh said.
There are very few districts that have the directors at the table, she said.
While the board depends on the directors’ expertise, some people may be confused on who the actual policy makers are with the directors at the same table, Van Denburgh said.
Boardmember Harry Grams said he wanted them back at the table because it makes it easier for the public to identify the directors and easier for the board and public to hear them.
“It makes more sense to have them at the table and utilize them,” he said.
While he respects the research Van Denburgh did on the topic, Boardmember David Anderson said having them sit at the table allows him to hear them better.
“With my hearing disability I miss more (when the directors are speaking from the side of the room). It is nice having them at the table and being able to see them,” he said.
“We do things so much better than other districts,” said Boardmember Amy Kelly.
The board needs to do what is best for this district, not do what is done in other districts, she said.
During her nine years on the board, Kelly said she has never had people asking who the directors are or confusing them with the board.
To require the directors to come up to the podium every time the board has a question is time consuming, said Boardmember Janet Glover.
It would be more helpful and convenient to have them at the table, she said.
Tammy Sakry is at firstname.lastname@example.org