ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Board sets meeting to cut three teacher positions

The Jamestown Public School Board on Tuesday approved a recommendation from the administration to not renew three teacher contracts in adult education and farm business management at James Valley Career & Technology Center.

The Jamestown Public School Board on Tuesday approved a recommendation from the administration to not renew three teacher contracts in adult education and farm business management at James Valley Career & Technology Center.

The School Board unanimously voted to hold a special School Board meeting at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday, April 4, at the Jamestown Middle School to discuss and act on the school district's recommendation to not renew the contracts of the three instructors. At that time Robert Lech, superintendent of Jamestown Public Schools, said he would outline the evidence gathered in support to justify the reduction in staff.

The school district's recommendation for nonrenewal of the three contracts was based on the lack of funding and uncertainty of funds for the two programs.

The three faculty positions are through the James Valley Career & Technology Center and include Lance Brower, an instructor in the Oakes farm business management education program, Virgil Dagman, the instructor in the Jamestown farm business management education program, and Kim Thoele, an instructor in adult education support and GED services.

According to Lech, the adult education program is now regionalized with funding through the Sheyenne Valley Career & Technology Center in Valley City, which would be responsible for hiring instructors for the program. The option is to continue the contract without receiving state funds, he said.

ADVERTISEMENT

"Considering the lack of funds, I am recommending that the district contemplate the nonrenewal of Kim Thoele," Lech said at the meeting.

The farm business management education programs are provided by North Dakota Farm Management and receives state funding through the Department of Career and Technical Education and from participant tuition, Lech said. The two sources of revenue have not provided coverage of the expenses, and state budget cuts to education and loss of reimbursements put the financial viability of the program in question, he said.

Lech said he would recommend that individual testimony from the three instructors be separate and held in executive session at the School Board meeting on Tuesday. The instructors may present evidence or witnesses to refute the reasons given for not renewing their contracts, he said.

The School Board will act to approve or not to approve the nonrenewal recommendation for each instructor at the Tuesday meeting, he said. However, the instructors may request a continuance of up to seven days.

Around 30 community members were present. No public testimony was taken at the meeting.

Both Dagman and Brower spoke after the meeting, saying that they would have preferred to discuss options to help the program be more self-sustainable prior to the recommendation to not renew their contracts. Both said they will present plans to save the farm business management education program by eliminating offices and other program- or facility-related expenses at the hearings.

"This can be a win-win result for all that are involved," Dagman said in his letter he sent to the School Board.

Dagman has taught the farm management program for 14 years at the James Valley Career & Technology Center. He previously taught a similar program in Enderlin, N.D.

ADVERTISEMENT

Brower said he was a consultant in the field before becoming the instructor for the new Oakes program in 2013. He said the program provides consulting for people working in the top industries of the counties they serve.

What To Read Next
The investigation is ongoing.
Sunny the cat predicts six more weeks of winter following the weather lore of Groundhog Day
“This is sensationalism at its finest, and it does not deserve to be heard in our state capitol,” Rep. Erin Healy, a Democrat and one of 10 votes against the bill in the 70-person chamber, said.
The North Dakota Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.