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Mott-Regent School Board to hold special meeting

MOTT -- Tension was high at the Mott-Regent School Board meeting last night, as the discussion of a possible rescind of the prior motion to close the Regent school for grades five through eight was brought up.

Board member Bill Gion previously added the item to the agenda of last night's meeting.

The possible motion to rescind the motion passed on June 30 was originally No. 24 on the agenda, but was moved up to be discussed earlier on the agenda.

"I am the board member that requested having item 24 on the agenda (the possible rescind motion)," said Bill Gion last night. "I did check with legal counsel at the North Dakota School Board Association, and I was informed it was my decision whether or not to put that under old business or new business and I'm choosing to put it under new business."

One of Gion's biggest complaints is his feeling that the timeline was not laid down prior, or after, the motion was passed.

"The motion that we've approved does not stage a timeline within it," Gion said. "Some of you probably think 'what's his problem?', but again I called the attorney for the School Board Association and asked if it was important or not, and he said it was a personal decision, and I think it's important."

School Board President Heather Hertz then asked Gion if the timeline issue was something Gion wished to speak upon in item 24, and Gion replied that it would not be discussed in item 24.

"I think Bill that, on many of our motions we don't put a timeline on them," Hertz replied. "I think when everyone voted on that motion, everyone was perfectly clear on what that timeline was."

Gion and fellow board member Tia Honeyman announced during the meeting they have set up a special school board meeting next Tuesday to further discuss the possibility of a rescind, among other issues.

To set up a special meeting of the school board, either the board president may call one or two board members.

Tonight's item on the agenda, Gion said, was just to inform the public and the board of the upcoming meeting.

"I'm trying to do an honorable thing here, if I wanted to play it my way I would want you to vote on it tonight," Gion said. "We have the opportunity to amend this motion and put a timeline in it, and if you're going to vote on that tonight you need a super majority, if you don't do it tonight, and give notice to the board you can pursue an amendment with simple majority. That's exactly what I'm going to do. We are not going to vote tonight."

Gion added that he originally voted against the motion to close the Regent site, and would do so again.

After the discussion of the item 24 and the special meeting on Tuesday, public comment was heard.

During the meeting, board member Rick Poehls' term expired and was then replaced by new board member Stacey Hertz.

Other items on the agenda were the reorganization of the Mott-Regent School Board, in which the chair of the school board was up for re-election.

In a 4-3 vote, Heather Hertz was re-elected to be the chairperson for the Mott-Regent School Board, and in a 4-3 vote, Tia Honeyman won vice-chairperson.

Item No. 23 on the agenda included the information on the request for the Attorney General's opinion in the way the previous June 30 meeting was held, submitted by Honeyman.

Honeyman wrote that she felt that on the June 30 agenda, there was no mention of a possible vote, and felt that the Mott board members had already made the decision prior to the special meeting.

"Even though it is a special agenda, we do not have to put 'vote will be taken' on the agenda," said Superintendent Myron Schweitzer in response. "If that was the case, ever single special meeting we've had was illegal."

Currently the board is awaiting the Attorney General's decision, which may take as much as three weeks.

Hertz says it's been tough dealing with the school relocation situation.

"It's been a tough week for me, and it's going to another tough one," Hertz said.

Board member Jill Anderson said that she hopes that the board can come together for the best of the children and the district.

"To me I feel that as a board we should have discussed in detail what to do," Anderson said. "I'm very open to what we need to do for the health of our district. With time we can make proper decisions and we can be healthy as a board, and we can all have a chance to discuss everything. I need to be prepared with time and facts and a plan. I want what's best for all of our kids."

The Mott-Regent School Board special meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 15, in the Regent gym.