Former Robbinsdale School Board members sound alarm on ‘dysfunctionality’ of school board

Former Robbinsdale School Board members sound alarm on ‘dysfunctionality’ of school board

Former Robbinsdale School Board members sound alarm on ‘dysfunctionality’ of school board

While some schools handle the changes over their school resource officers, the Robbinsdale Area School district is struggling with leadership. 

For the third time in a year, there was a change in the board’s chair of directors. This came before the superintendent abruptly resigned, who board members say was on medical leave for several weeks. 

In its August 21 school board meeting, there was a motion to remove Greta Evans-Becker from her position as chair and instead have Helen Bassett take her place. This is not the first time Bassett served as chair. During her last term, she was also removed from her position as chair in January of this year. 

“It sends a lot of messages. For one, lack of trust in leadership and lack of what’s going on with the current board,” said Samir Sant, former Robbinsdale School Board member. 

Sant says the agenda to remove Evans-Becker came as a surprise. Typically, board officers are elected in January, serving at least a full term. Former board member Sherry Tyrrell told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS a leadership change before an election hasn’t happened in over 20 years. While it’s not the norm, Sant says it’s still legal. 

“The Board of Directors made a decision that they wanted to change. They’re allowed to do that,” said Bassett. “I really want to have the community really understand that my focus and my efforts now is working with the other board members to try to go forward. And you know, make sure we have good leadership. That is our job now.”

During the August 21 meeting, there was also reference to a document regarding issues the board has been having. Former board members say that document was not shared with the public, which they say violates the open meeting law. 

Chair Bassett says a change in board of directors happens all the time in schools, however, she wouldn’t give us a specific reason as to why she voted for a change in the board’s chair of directors. 

“I just think that change at that time was a good thing,” Bassett said. 

“We are concerned with this district, and we don’t want this, these types of incidences and issues to affect the classroom, because that’s really where it matters,” said Sant. “Now we need to look for a new superintendent and seeing the different dysfunctionality of our school board. Are we going to get a qualified candidate to come and run our school district with this top box?”

In an email to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, Director Greta Evans-Becker responded to the board’s decision to remove her as chair of directors. She said, in part, “The email that was sent to board members just before the August 21 meeting had incorrect assumptions, half-truths and outright falsehoods about my performance as board chair.”

She went on to say that contrary to what some board members have said, the district is not broken. “Amazing learning and wonderful things are happening in all of the schools in our district every day. Our hard-working teachers and staff are committed to our students’ success.”