Sampson picked to fill Lyle board seat

Published 9:00 am Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Jerry Sampson gives his thoughts about Lyle Public Schools' consortium with Grand Meadow and Glenville/Emmons Public Schools. The Lyle Public School board appointed Sampson as the interim board member Tuesday night. -- Trey Mewes/

The Lyle Public School board chose a new member to join its ranks.

Former board member Jerry Sampson will be sworn in as the newest member on Jan. 9. Sampson, who served three terms, also helped negotiate the Lyle-Pacelli athletic agreement.

Sampson said he was pleased with the choice but declined to comment further.

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“It’s a positive,” he said.

Board members Carl Truckenmiller, Jessie Meyer, Dan King and Kent Golberg unanimously selected him. Board chairman Dean Rohne was not present.

“Jerry would be the perfect choice to help us solve our problems for the future,” King said.

Lyle Superintendent Jim Dusso agreed, saying Sampson is a welcome addition.

“We have an opportunity to bring back someone with experience … and offer a new perspective,” Dusso said.

Sampson, Brandon Slowinsky, Patrick Murphy and Wayne Frank were interviewed and ranked by the board. David Kline withdrew his application last week, according to Dusso. In case the board loses more members, Slowinsky, followed by Frank and Murphy, would be asked to fill the vacant positions so board members don’t have to go through another application process.

Each candidate was asked about his or her board experience, as well as knowledge on the consortium Lyle is part of with Grand Meadow and Glenville/Emmons Public Schools, how they could contribute to the board, and suggestions on diffusing issues.

The Lyle Public School Board and specifically Dusso are under fire as many residents have taken issue with Dusso’s leadership since he was appointed superintendent in May. Other residents are frustrated with the public’s reaction to the school district and support Lyle’s board and administration.

All candidates said more communication with the public and unity within the board is necessary for the district to resolve its issues.

“It’s a division that’s created by a lack of communication,” Sampson said of Lyle’s issues during his interview. He also said he would like to see the board resolve its issues and work as a team again.

“When we squabble together, how can we solve their problems?” he said.

The board announced during its December meeting that it would review its current public comment policy in January. The policy mandates residents give 10 days to be added to the board’s agenda and has caused many residents, parents and grandparents frustration over not being able to voice their opinions.

Dusso contended after the meeting Tuesday that communication has always been a focus for the district and the perception that the district isn’t very open or stifles communication is false.

“We have always had open communication,” Dusso said. “That’s never changed.”


Board re-approves levy

The board also voided its December vote to certify the district’s 2012 payable levy at the maximum amount, about $800,000. The board passed the levy about an hour before holding a Truth in Taxation meeting.

The board’s actions weren’t a violation of Truth in Taxation laws, according to the Minnesota School Board Association and Mower County Auditor/Treasurer Doug Groh. But Dusso said on Dec. 14 that they “put the cart before the horse,” so the board agreed to have its vote on the levy stricken from the meeting minutes and try again Tuesday.