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EDITORIAL: Five days of drama at ISD 696

In five days the Ely school district went from business as usual to the threat of losing a principal to the resignation of a board member to the resignation of the superintendent to the superintendent rescinding her resignation. In a word, drama.
Now there appears to be a lawsuit on the horizon and a very uncertain future for the top administrative seat at 696.
A week ago Friday the agenda for Monday’s school board meeting was released. Included on it was a listing under new business: administrative configuration.
Soon the word was out, there was a proposal to change from two principals to one with Mary McGrane being either reduced to a dean of students or possibly eliminated.
Phones rang, Facebook lit up and there was a full house at Monday’s board meeting - so much so it had to be held in the Media Center.
But where did this come from? How did it get on the agenda? Who created this firestorm?
Missing at Monday’s meeting were the two people who could/should have answered those questions, board member Amy Richter and superintendent Alexis Leitgeb.
With those two seats empty, parents, teachers and students made their case that to get rid of McGrane would harm the district and its students. As the saying goes, they were preaching to the choir.
It’s apparent that Richter put forth the proposed change in administrative configuration. But she wasn’t there to listen to or answer the questions and concerns raised. It wasn’t until Tuesday that she announced via Facebook that she was resigning from the board.
Without a superintendent present the meeting took several odd twists. Without Leitgeb the discussion was limited or absent on several agenda items, including number 14, Annual Superintendent’s Performance Evaluation.
And at the very end of the meeting came a non-disclosed letter from board chair Ray Marsnik that was distributed only to board members. What it said we don’t know but it must’ve been enough information for the five board members present to unanimously vote to put Leitgeb on paid administrative leave.
On the fifth day of this saga, the next plot twists played out. Richter announced her resignation from the board publicly. Then Leitgeb resigned, only to rescind, which was announced on Twitter just before midnight to draw the fifth day to a close.
A special meeting of the board was scheduled for Friday where the next chapter will have its first page written.
Will the drama continue? Or will there be a resolution so the district can move forward with its main objective, educating the youth of our community.
If not, then it appears the class on drama will proceed.

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