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Minot Public School Board discusses resignations in executive sessions

Screen Photo In a special meeting on Monday, the Minot Public School Board met in consecutive executive sessions related to the resignations and releases of two separate educators.

The Minot Public School Board spent most of a special board meeting Monday afternoon in executive session with its attorney to discuss the resignations of a current and a former teacher in the district.

The board accepted the resignation of Kristy Kasye, a language arts teacher at Central Campus. Kasye requested for her last day to be on Dec. 15, and that any damages be waived due to her ill health. After coming out of the executive session, Jim Rostad moved to accept Kayse’s resignation and to waive liquidated payment “on the side of caution for her mental well being.” The board approved the motion 4-1, with the sole dissenting vote coming from Board President Mike Gessner.

Former MPS teacher Heather Raknerud had requested to amend a resignation and release that was executed in May. According to documents released by the school board in the spring, Raknerud had been suspended from her position as a teacher at the Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch while the board pursued her discharge for “conduct unbecoming her positions and failure to perform contractual duties without justification.”

The action against Raknerud was initiated based on a confirmed report of suspected child neglect against her and her husband involving “inadequate supervision” of two minor foster children in their care. A letter from the Ward County Human Service Zone stated that Raknerud’s name would appear on the Child Abuse and Neglect Index.

After a series of meetings and appeals, the board had initiated the process to have the matter adjudicated before an administrative law judge. This process was stopped when Raknerud signed a resignation and release agreement with the board in May. The agreement signed by Raknerud and Rostad, then school board president, included language that would compel the district to offer Raknerud a teaching contract as long as certain conditions are met.

These conditions included: the findings of child neglect are completely overturned, the decision by the Human Service Zone is reversed on appeal, that Raknerud has not been found to have engaged in any conduct that would warrant further grounds for discharge, and she continues to hold a teaching license. The document indicated that should any of these conditions not be met, the district would have no obligation to offer her a contract.

When the board returned to open session, Rostad moved for the board to forestall a decision on the matter from the regularly scheduled meeting on Dec. 15 until April 1, to allow the board’s attorney, Rachel Bruner, to discuss the matter further with Raknerud’s attorney. The motion passed unanimously.

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