Duluth School Board Reacts to Fiery Letter

By KBJR News 1

September 21, 2010 Updated Sep 21, 2010 at 11:00 PM CDT

DULUTH, MN. --- For School Board member Art Johnston, taking the role of school board watchdog took on a very public role today.

Johnston penned a letter in the Duluth News Tribune alleging the board followed improper meeting procedures when it negotiated a health–care contract for teachers back in July.

"It is time for Duluth public schools Superintendent Keith Dixon and School Board Chairman Tim Grover to resign," the letter began.

Johnston's allegations include not allowing for a public comment period, and publishing incorrect data in school board documents.

At tonight's regular school board meeting, Johnston was answered by Superintendent Keith Dixon who refuted the fiery allegations, saying it was Johnston who was wrong.

"This is complete misinformation," Dixon said.

Members of the public, and other board members like Mary Cameron, also came to Dixon's defense, citing Johnston for what they called "improper behavior."

"Member Johnston, you continue to mislead the public with your comments and your articles," Cameron said.

However, Johnston maintained an edgy defense, saying he was simply following Robert's rules of order, correctly pointing out what he said were errors in the board's operational policy and recorded minutes.

When asked earlier in the day about his aggressive meeting techniques, Johnston explained:

"I'm certainly not an obstructionist. I feel again, that we have a 135 million dollar budget. When you have conflict – which we clearly have – debate goes very slowly. This is not a tea party."

Posted to the web by Matt Standal