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Knorr

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Larson (click for larger version)

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Freeman
December 23, 2013 | 01:55 PM
WALWORTH — Last week’s Regional News incorrectly identified the person who was approved to as the permanent Walworth District Administrator.

Administrator Pam Knorr’s contract was approved at the Dec. 16 school board meeting. The Regional News incorrectly stated that the job had gone to Pam Larson, who is acting as interim administrator since Knorr requested medical leave in October.

Knorr’s previous contract expired at the end of June.

No details of the contract were disclosed at the meeting.

While Knorr’s status is not typical, School Board President Kelly Freeman said in a phone interview Dec. 20 that the board always waits until teacher contracts are settled before approving administration contracts.

The district policy states “administrative contracts shall be reviewed and approved at the board’s June meeting or at a mutually agreed upon time.”

“I stated at the meeting, I believe it was in September, in fact, I know it was September, that we do not settle administrative contracts until we have settled the contracts for the teachers,” Freeman said.

“That’s always been our policy. Sometimes It’s June. It can be anytime. It all depends on our teacher contracts.”

While Larson has been acting administrator, sixth-grade math teacher Brent Wilson has been acting principal.

At a special meeting Dec. 20, the board approved a contract for 2013 to 2015 for Larson.

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Last week’s article incorrectly stated that Wilson would likely be the next Walworth principal.

Freeman said at the meeting that she met with Larson previously about the contract, and she had OK’d it.

At a special board meeting Dec. 2, according to the meeting minutes, the school board approved salary increases for Larson and Knorr for 1.38 percent for 2012-13 school year and 2.07 percent for the 2013-14 school year.

According to Wisconsin state statutes, district administrator contracts are automatically approved unless notice is given to the administrator four mouths prior to the contract’s expiration date.

In Knorr’s case, her most recent contract ran from July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2013, and a nonrenewal notice, if the board wanted, would have to have been issued in February.

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Freeman said though this auto-renewal does happen it’s not official until the contracts are approved by the board and then signed.

Freeman declined to say anything else about Knorr’s status or the contracts.

“At the next board meeting, I will do so (update the public on Knorr’s status with the district),” she said. “I will not do this over the telephone. ... At the next regular board meeting, we will speak to that if we’re asked.”

Larson and other school board members didn’t return phone calls to the Regional News.

The Regional News issued an open records request Dec. 20 for the new contracts for both Knorr and Larson and job descriptions for the interim positions Larson and Wilson are holding.

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The Regional News regrets this error

During the special board meeting Dec. 20, the school board discussed the Regional News and the error regarding the contract.

“I can’t tell you how many phone calls I’ve received from the community asking questions,” Freeman said. “It hasn’t been a very nice couple of days here.”

Board Treasurer Richard Hildebrandt questioned the board’s decision to continue a contract with the Regional News regarding legal notices.

“We just had an issue with who we decided was going to carry out news stories, and we went with them (the Regional News) and then this happens a couple months later,” Hildebrandt said. “I don’t know what we can do about it now. It has certainly put us in a tough spot.”

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The Regional News prints legal notices from Walworth Elementary School including board meeting agendas and minutes.

Regional News General Manager and Editor John Halverson told the board it was a mistake that never should have happened.

“There’s no debate that an error was made that shouldn’t have been made,” he said at the meeting. “We apologize.”

Halverson asked the board to accept his apology.

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