USD 489 Board continues discussion on nepotism policy


USD 489 Board of Education met on Monday. During the approval of the consent agenda, board member Curt Vajnar asked to remove personnel transactions from the consent agenda. Those transactions were then discussed as the last agenda item. 

Board President Craig Pallister reminded the board to keep specific names out of the discussion. 

“We did not have a smooth personnel transaction at the last meeting,” Pallister said. “Remember, if we’re talking about individual personnel, it has to be in executive session.”

During the last board meeting, questions of nepotism were brought up after the superintendent’s wife was hired in the district. Vajnar’s request to remove personnel transactions from the consent agenda was to further that discussion.

Vajnar wanted to be able to vote on personnel transactions individually but clarified he was not asking to review individual contracts. His concerns were not with the contracts themselves but with family members being hired by or working underneath head administrators.

The current Nepotism policy, listed as policy GACCA in the board policy, allows family members of administrators to be hired as long as the board is notified of the relationship and that the family member is not supervised or evaluated by that administrator.

Board member Alan Park said he had concerns about whether the board was following policy. Pallister pushed back on this assertion. 

“Ron (Wilson) did exactly what the policy asked last month and this month,” Pallister said. “He is following policy.” 

Board member Ken Brooks agreed with Pallister, saying this was more an issue with the policy rather than the personnel transactions.

“This is the same discussion we had last month that got out of hand,” Brooks said. “He should have asked to have something put on the agenda. This didn’t need to be taken out.”

Pallister then called for a vote. Personnel transactions were approved in a 4-2 vote, with Vajnar and Park voting against.

Other items discussed at the meeting:

  • USD 489 was recognized by the NAMM Foundation as one of the best communities for Music Education for the 2022-2023 school year
  • Roosevelt 5th grade teachers presented on the Ameritowne project- a yearly field trip to Lenora, Kan., where students are able to simulate living in a town 
  • The KSDE Audit Summary was reviewed
  • The traffic flow design for the new high school and middle was reviewed