Kingsland Board meets in closed session on same issue
Wednesday, March 08, 2017 12:49 PM
The Kingsland School Board met in closed session a second time Friday, March 3, to again discuss consideration of allegations or charges against teacher Seth Heusinkveld.
When the meeting was open to the public after the closed session, the board unanimously passed a resolution stating it will proceed with a settlement agreement discussed during the closed session for final approval at the next board meeting. All board members were present except Tiffany Mundfrom for the 7 a.m. meeting.
The next regularly scheduled board meeting is Monday, March 20. If the board approves a settlement at that meeting, the details of the settlement will be public.
The board cited Minnesota statute 13D.05 subdivision 2(b) to allow it to close a portion of Friday’s meeting to the public. The state statute allows government bodies to meet in private to discuss preliminary consideration of allegations or charges against an employee.
This was the second meeting the Kingsland Board went into closed session, citing the same statute, to discuss this issue. The first meeting concluded in a disciplinary action against Heusinkveld.
Superintendent John McDonald, when contacted after the meeting, said he checked prior to the meeting about the requirements of the open meeting law with the School Board attorney, who cited legal precedence of districts in similar situations.
The statute states that the exception to the open meeting law allows closure only for “preliminary consideration” of charges or allegations against an employee. If the members conclude that discipline of any nature “may be” warranted as a result of those specific charges or allegations, the statute reads, further meetings or hearings related to those specific charges or allegations held after that conclusion is reached must be open.
In the first meeting on Feb. 13, which lasted more than an hour, the board unanimously passed a resolution authorizing a letter outlining disciplinary action against Heusinkveld once the meeting was open to the public.
The specific reasons for the proposed discipline, the nature of the proposed discipline and the letter are private data until the final disposition of the disciplinary action, under state law. Once the final disposition is made, that information will become public.
The board isn’t allowed by state law to approve a settlement in a closed session. McDonald explained that the board discussed a process to reach a settlement, but didn’t actually agree on a settlement yet as it will vote on one at the next public meeting.
In Friday’s meeting, the board conferred with administration in person and legal counsel by telephone in the closed session, which lasted about 25 minutes.
Heusinkveld is an industrial tech teacher at Kingsland. The 1998 graduate of Kingsland began employment in the district in 2014 after teaching in other districts for two years.