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Recall of Barnes County North school board members being discussed

ROGERS, N.D. -- Some members of the Barnes County North Public School Board are finding themselves as the target of a recall effort as community members have accused the board of being "arrogant" and "micromanaging."...

ROGERS, N.D. -- Some members of the Barnes County North Public School Board are finding themselves as the target of a recall effort as community members have accused the board of being “arrogant” and “micromanaging.”

The school is near Rogers and about 25 miles northwest of Valley City.

At the School Board meeting this past week the board heard from Curt Brown, a parent of two Barnes County North School students who said he was speaking on behalf of a group of parents about board members’ behavior. Brown said he met with some parents on Nov. 13, and they told him their concerns.
“Some of their concerns were school board members don’t come to all school functions,” he said. “Some (board members) didn’t come to graduation (this year), they are micromanaging the administration and are arrogant and dismissive.”

Brown said initially the recall effort was focusing on School Board President Lori Carlson and member Dan Sizer. Brown said he did some research on recall efforts and learned a recall effort couldn’t be done on Sizer because his seat is up for election in 2016.

“For sure Lori Carlson,” Brown said. “That is one of the names that has come up (for recall consideration).”

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Brown said he didn’t have all the procedures for seeking a recall election down pat. Barnes County Auditor Beth Didier was not available Friday for comment about the recall effort.

Brown said the group of parents he talked with support the school’s superintendent, high school principal and athletic director Mark Lindahl, who is resigning at the end of the 2015-16 school year.

Brown said the relationship between Lindahl and the current School Board has been strained due to “micromanaging” by the board.

Lindahl declined to comment on the recall or perceived strained relations with the School Board when contacted by email on Friday.

Carlson, who spoke while on vacation Friday, said she had heard from other people what the concerns are with the School Board from some of the parents of students.

“The only thing I’ve heard is that we micromanage (the administration), that we are arrogant and we don’t attend enough sports functions” she said.

Carlson said she doesn’t know if micromanaging and being perceived as being arrogant were grounds for a recall.

“I don’t understand their definition of arrogance,” she said. “I don’t even know how to answer that.”

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Carlson said the relationship between the School Board and Lindahl is strained, but didn’t provide details as to why the relationship is strained. She said board members used to routinely get calls from parents in the school district when there were problems or concerns.

“We have parents going right to recall without even talking to board members,” Carlson said.

She said she thought some of the problems that parents are having with School Board members and attendance at school events started earlier this year when board members were “called out” for not going to graduation. Carlson said initially it was reported no board members went to graduation. Then it was reported only two board members were at graduation.

“It turned out there were four board members at graduation,” she said. “Two of us had family commitments. Really, the claim was really unfair.”

Carlson said parents have also accused board members of micromanaging when she said it is the board’s job to watch out for how taxpayer dollars are spent.

“That is not micromanaging. That is the board being proactive and using taxpayer dollars most effectively,” she said.

Carlson said she thinks this recall effort is the work of a group of 30 to 50 school district residents and that most of the children’s parents in the school district aren’t aware of any problems.

“They (the majority of parents in the school district) are saying, ‘What’s going on?’” she said.

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The Barnes County North Public School Board will hold a community forum at 7:30 p.m. Monday in the media center  to get public input on the search for a new superintendent.

Related Topics: SCHOOL BOARD
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