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No change to school board's social media rules

The District 192 School Board approved an updated policy on board conduct this week without any new rules about board members' use of social media tools.

The board reviewed the policy March 8 as part of an ongoing effort to keep district policies up to date. That's when board member Veronica Walter raised the issue of social media and the potential for miscommunication.

Walter said this week she only wanted to ensure board members knew where the lines were when using tools like Facebook and Twitter. But some, including board member Tim Burke, worried the district might restrict use of such tools.

"My reasoning for questioning that was not to block any communication," Walter said at Monday's regular school board meeting. "That is not even close to where my thoughts were going on this."

Walter expressed concern that messages sent out online by one board member might be taken as the position of the entire board, or that a board member might inadvertently share information that should not be public. But representatives from the Minnesota School Boards Association said last week the same rules apply to communication via social media that apply to other forms of communication.

A blog post is no different than a letter to the editor or a conversation over coffee.

"I just want to make sure we're not crossing lines that would be more of a detriment than a positive to the district," Walter said.

Other business

In other action Monday the board did away with a primary election that would have been used to narrow the field before November's general election.

The board had kept the primary available as an option in recent elections and it held one two years ago when eight candidates filed for three available seats. Under the rules the district followed then primaries were required if there were more than twice as many candidates as available positions.

Eliminating the primary will give residents more time to decide if they want to run. The deadline for filing two years ago was in July. Without a primary the deadline will not come until fall.

Skipping the primary will also save the district the cost of running the election.

The board also approved a reduction from full time to two-thirds time for middle school physical education teacher Connie Berg. Berg's position was part-time before this year. The reduction is based on enrollment.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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