Thursday ushered in a new era for the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage Board of Education. After two separate rounds of voting, Board Member Sandra Sweep was elected board chair.
Sweep takes over for Ron Hill, the most senior member of the board. However, the vote was unusually protracted this year, spanning not one but two meetings due to a deadlock on the board. The board election was originally set for Jan. 10. That day, board member Jim Schmid nominated Sweep. In turn, board member DeeDee Currier nominated Schmid.
"This may be a little unorthodox, but...of all of us, he has the most consumers in his family of the services of our district," Currier said. "I've seen him in leadership positions for a long time and I'd like to nominate him as chair."
Hearing no other nominations, Hill sent the measure to a vote. Board Members Dan Luth, Currier, and Hill all voted for Schmid. The remaining members voted for Sweep, resulting in a tie 3-3. Board Member Paula Teiken was not present at the meeting, leaving the board at an impasse.
The board tabled the matter until its next meeting on Jan. 17. During the second round, Sweep was nominated by Teiken. No other nominations were announced, but the vote was still a split: Hill, Luth and Currier voted against the measure, but were overruled by the other four.
Sweep is a former employee of Burnsville High who was first elected in 2008. She previously served as vice chair of the board. During the 2012 election she and VandenBoom were endorsed by the Burnsville teachers union, which gave both Hill and Currier the cold shoulder in favor of newcomers. Of the four-year candidates, Sweep took the highest percentage of the popular vote on Nov. 6.
In the year to come, Schmid will serve as vice chair. VandenBoom was elected clerk. Luth will be the treasurer for 2013.
Board pay will remain $500 a month per member, an amount that has gone unchanged since 2008. The chair receives an additional $50 per month.