Assuming ‘tremendous responsibility’

Three take oath to sit on MPS board

Photo by Jenny Kirk Marshall Public School Vice Chairman Matt Coleman, left, reads the oath of office as recently-elected board members Sara Runchey, Aaron Ziemer and Jeff Chapman publicly affirm their commitment on Monday in the district office professional development room at Marshall Middle School.

MARSHALL — Three elected individuals took the oath of office on Monday for their roles on the Marshall Public School Board.

Jeff Chapman is beginning his seventh three-year term on the board. Sara Runchey is serving her first term, as is Aaron Ziemer, who had previously been appointed to fill a vacated seat for a short time.

“It is an honor that you were elected to guide the education of our community’s children,” board member Matt Coleman said. “As you recite the oath of office, you assume a tremendous responsibility as a director of our school district with the duties empowered by the Minnesota Legislature. This power puts you and the other members of our school board in the position of being both morally and legally responsible for equitable, quality education of every student in the district.”

In carrying out their responsibility, board members are asked to fulfill the roles of vision, structure, accountability and advocacy. They must also strive to work together with the superintendent and staff to lead the district toward fulfilling the vision we have created, fostering excellence for every student in the areas of academic skills and knowledge, citizenship and personal development.

The three recently-elected officials signed the acceptance of office and oath of office, publicly affirming their commitment. They join Coleman, Bill Swope and Bill Mulso as Marshall Public School Board members.

Among the action items approved were nominations for different office positions. Chapman was voted to remain as board chair, as was Coleman for vice chairman. Mulso was approved to serve as school board clerk, replacing outgoing board member Karen VanKeulen. Ziemer was voted in as treasurer.

Discussion then turned to committee representations. Ziemer agreed to take over the committee roles previously held by board member Dion Caron, who now serves as the district’s business director. Runchey added that she was happy to serve on the committees in which VanKeulen had been on.

There was some discussion regarding the compensation for the board of directors — one of the action items on the agenda.

“It’s been over 10 years since you changed them,” MPS Superintendent Scott Monson said.

Board members ended up unanimously agreeing to leave the rates where they were, at $50 per month for directors, $75 per month for the chairperson and $50 per diem rate.

The board also approved the authorization to proceed with facilities and referendum planning. The next steps of the long-range facilities plan includes seeking voter approval in May for funding of Priority 1 needs. Swope took time to thank Monson, praising him for the thorough effort he’s provided throughout the process so far.

“I think the superintendent did a great job,” Swope said. “Now it’s time for board members to roll up our sleeves and talk to our residents out there in regards to replacing West Side as a facility. I’m pleased that we are moving forward. Having been at West Side as principal, I know that it’s a dilapidating facility and there’s a safety issue that’s related to the traffic in the area and we’ve all seen that. It’s also overloading class sizes and there’s no space to go anywhere.

“So I’m just pleased that we’re putting this in front of people. The need is there and I hope when we ask the public to come and take a look, that they come and take a look. So thank you, Mr. Monson, for your leadership.”