DPS, RESP tensions apparent at meetingA strained relationship between Dickinson Public Schools and the Roughrider Education Services Program was apparent at the RESP Governing and Administrative Board meeting Wednesday at the Dickinson State University Student Center.
A strained relationship between Dickinson Public Schools and the Roughrider Education Services Program was apparent at the RESP Governing and Administrative Board meeting Wednesday at the Dickinson State University Student Center.
DPS representatives voiced opposition to many items including wages, the 2011-2012 budget and losing the contract as the group’s fiscal agent.
Fifteen school districts pay to be members of RESP, which provides services and is a communication outlet for districts.
Arguments between a number of districts broke out during the meeting. Equal treatment, regardless of the school size, was a main concern behind some of the disputes.
All but Dickinson voted for the RESP 2011-2012 budget.
Members approved the new budget and it allows for $200,565 in expenses. Last year, RESP had $176,297 in expenses, according to meeting records.
All members, including Dickinson, voted for a 39 percent salary increase for RESP administrative assistant Mary Dvorak.
All but Dickinson, which abstained, also voted for Director Amy Axtman’s near 11 percent increase and Educational Facilitator and Assistant Sandy Bertelson’s 29 percent raise, said RESP Governing Board Vice Chairman Bill Gion of Regent.
Killdeer Public School will take over as the group’s fiscal agent for 2011-2012, upon their acceptance.
“Dickinson Public Schools has done an excellent job for the past 10 or 12 years,” Gion said, adding recently the relationship between the RESP and DPS has been stressed.
“All relationships are built on trust, and that trust has to go both ways,” Gion said. “Whether that be in marriage, between doctor and patient, or banker and citizen.”
Gion said the RESP hopes to resolve its differences and said it would be best for the RESP to have an audit done as soon as possible.
DPS representative Rebecca Pitkin and Superintendent Doug Sullivan had no comment regarding the fiscal agent change. However, Sullivan later said it is not DPS’s intent to bully anyone but added, “We want services for what we pay, and we keep getting hurdles no one else gets.”
A heated discussion then broke out and Gion ended it by drawing the attention back to a motion on the table to make Killdeer the fiscal agent.
Killdeer, Halliday and DPS representatives abstained from the vote but the other parties approved the motion and it passed.