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Willmar School Board to select new member Monday

WILLMAR — The Willmar School Board will adopt a tax levy and select a new member at its regular meeting Monday.

A proposed new policy to be considered would change the legal classification of board members so that the school district would not consider them employees when it comes to releasing data.

The board will meet at 6:01 p.m. Monday in the board room on the first floor of the Willmar Education and Arts Center.

The board will begin its meeting later than usual because of laws governing the annual Truth in Taxation hearing. The hearing will be held at the beginning of the meeting, and the $5 million local property tax levy for 2014 is expected to be approved later in the meeting.

The 2014 levy represents a 27 percent decrease in the school portion of property taxes. Much of that decrease comes from a reduction in debt payments. The district will make its final payments on the bonds for Willmar Senior High next year. The school will also be 20 years old next year.

During its regular meeting, the board is expected to select a new board member to succeed Dan Croonquist, who resigned in November for personal reasons.

Two candidates have expressed an interest in the post — Don Thorpe of Kandiyohi and Laura Warne of Pennock. The board’s Labor Management Committee has recommended that Warne be appointed to serve out the remainder of Croonquist’s term, which will end in December 2014.

If the new policy about board members is adopted, school board members will no longer be considered employees for the purposes of the Minnesota Data Practices Act.

The School Board recently cited the Data Practices Act in refusing to release information about a closed meeting during which board members discussed and investigated allegations against themselves.

The board will also discuss a proposed policy about conflicts of interest for board members.

Public comments regarding items on the agenda will be heard at the beginning of the meeting. Public comments on issues not on the agenda are heard at the end of the meeting.

Board meetings are shown live on Willmar cable access channel 18 and are shown later on channel 19.

Linda Vanderwerf

I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.

Follow me on Twitter: @lindavanderwerf

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