Merrill School Board president to keep job after email controversy
MERRILL (WAOW) -
Merrill School District leaders and board members are staying tight-lipped about a controversial email involving the board's president.
That email, which contained a political message, was sent the day after the February primary election from President Lin Kautza's account, asking that the superintendent's secretary forward it on to all Merrill school district employees. The email was forwarded to all staff members.
President Lin Kautza talked about the situation for the first time at a board meeting on Monday night. She told school board members and the public that she would not resign, but didn't say much else.
"When I am finished I will not discuss it or answer any questions in regard to it or in regard to issues surrounding it," Kautza read from a prepared statement at the meeting.
The email thanked supporters for their votes in the primary election and also asked for their votes in April, but then went on to say,
"I want to win April 2 and win with Jeff, John, or Chuck. We feel we
can get the district back on track."
Kautza told the board, "It has taken me this long to respond because I have been out of the country in South Africa for roughly three weeks."
She told the crowd at the meeting that she will not step down. She refused to talk with Newsline 9 and answer questions about the email.
A parent at the meeting told the board Kautza's actions were unethical. She asked Kautza to resign and to withdraw from the school board race. The parent also asked the board president to apologize for her actions.
The board discussed the email, but in a closed session. Interim Superintendent Don Stevens said the district's attorney advised them to do that.
He told Newsline 9 the board did vote during the closed session and decided to keep Kautza as president. That vote was 5-3 in favor of her keeping the position. According to meeting records, Kautza did not vote.
The superintendent also declined to answer any questions on camera about the situation.
Last month, he told Newsline 9, "Immediately, I recognized that this could be a concern. There's no question about that."
Lin Kautza told the board she is committed to finishing out the role she was elected to fill.
She is still a candidate in the upcoming school board election on April 2.