Reshetar returns to questions in Lyle

Published 11:07 am Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Jerry Reshetar’s first time back in Lyle after resigning as superintendent in April wasn’t met with much fanfare.

Reshetar, the head of Grand Meadow and Glenville/Emmons Public Schools, was a last-minute addition to the agenda and spoke to the board about the SouthCentral Education Consortium, of which Lyle is a part. Schools in the consortium share teachers, resources and personnel costs, including the superintendent, although Lyle does not share Reshetar’s salary cost. Grand Meadow, G/E and Lyle have all been part of the consortium for two years.

Reshetar’s resignation appeared to still be a sore point for many residents. Several audience members shouted during a question and answer session between Reshetar and the board.

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One audience member asked Reshetar why he left the district, to which Reshetar said he was only answering questions about the consortium.

“By resigning from us, you put us in a spot,” Board Vice Chair Carl Truckenmiller said.

Reshetar said he owed it to the board to come up with a solution to the void left by Reshetar.

“Our school board was the driving force to get (the consortium) done. We felt dropped,” board member Dan King told him.

Reshetar was superintendent of Lyle, Grand Meadow and G/E for two years as the shared head of the consortium. He had planned to retire at the end of the 2011-2012 school year, whereby a new superintendent would take charge of the consortium. He may not retire next June as he hopes to put together a business management plan for the consortium by then.

Reshetar hopes to put together a finance team for all three districts composed of a business manager and accounting and payroll clerks. He hopes to consolidate those positions at each district and fill positions as they open with people from the community, specifically the business manager position. In this way, the business management plan would be able to sustain the consortium plan Reshetar and other district staff enacted two years’ ago.

“I truly think this is the method we need to go to for small schools to survive across Minnesota,” Reshetar said.

Since it could take some time to put the business management plan in place, Reshetar is debating staying on as consortium superintendent. He told the board he would know by December whether he would retire.

“I’m still having a lot of fun doing this,” Reshetar said.

Community members expressed fear after the meeting that Lyle Superintendent Jim Dusso could be the next superintendent of the consortium. Dusso is accused of creating an “intimidating and hostile work environment” during his time as Lyle Principal and Superintendent, according to Lyle City Councilman and LPS bus driver Gary Harrison. Dusso said Tuesday morning rumors concerning his tenure were exaggerated by staff and community members angry with changes in Lyle school, including a personnel shift done last year.

Not all of the board was satisfied with Reshetar’s deadline, as both King and board member Jessie Meyer wanted a firmer deadline. King, Truckenmiller and Meyer all said they hoped to share superintendents with the consortium once more.

Reshetar said the transition could take more time than anticipated.

“Because that involves people, we have to be very careful with how we go with this,” Reshetar said.