News
School district receiving heavy load of info requests

By John McLoone

Contention among members of the Hastings School Board is creating more work for school district staff, at least as far as providing for more than 50 information requests in the last several months.

Many of the requests originated from school board director Mike Reis. There are some from other board members and former board members as well.

Reis released the document tracking requests to the Hastings Journal last week.

Reis filed requests with district Human Resources Director Cathy Moen. His requests for information, many of which were later rescinded, totaled 27.

Other board members also made requests. Vice Chair Stephanie Malm made a request Feb. 7 that was filed April 4. Her request was for: “1. Email exchanges between Mike Ries and Terry Morrow from January 5, 2022 – present.

2. Emails between Mike Ries and Superintendent Mc-Dowell from January 5, 2022 – present where other board members were not included.

3. Emails from ISD 917 to Mike Ries from January 10, 2022 – present. These may have come from Superintendent Favor or the 917 chairperson, Melissa Sauser but I’m not 100% sure.

4. Emails between ISD 917

Page 2 and Superintendent McDowell between January 23, 2022 – present regarding Mike Ries’ attendance and communication with ISD 917.

5. Emails from community members to Mike Ries that he did not respond to from January 5, 2022 – present.

6. Emails between Carrie Tate and Superintendent McDowell from January 23, 2022 – present where other board members were not included.

7. The number of emails Superintendent McDowell has sent to our district attorneys between March 2020 – June 2021 and the number emails Superintendent McDowell has sent to our district attorneys between July 2021 – present. If possible, can I also get the amount of money we have spent on attorney’s fees for those two timeframes too? Maybe I need to narrow this down.”

Here are some of Reis’ requests.

•Filed on Jan. 19 and filled on Jan. 24: “All communications and responses for emails with the following Subject line (including all responses): CDC change and Kennedy 10 day quarantine Legal questions These are 3 separate email chains and may also include “RE” in the subject line. Most of these emails come from Bob McDowell, Brian Davis, and Mike Reis. “

•That same day, Reis requested, “A copy of the email with the subject line “Meeting Agenda and more” between Brian, Bob and Mike Reis.”

•On Jan. 22, he ased for: “A copy of all contracts for Teamworks International and Thrive.”

•March 30: “Detailed list of all costs involving our attorneys since 1/5/22 through today [3.30.22]. Included in request: Who was paid, how much, and the reason for consulting.”

•On April 5: “How much Kelsey Waits requests have cost the district in time and money since leaving office on 1/5/22.”

•On April 8: “All text messages between Brian Davis and Bob McDowell from 11.1.21 through 4.8.22.”

•On April 8: “I am requesting a list of all people that have gone into school buildings since Bob became Superintendent. I want to know who they were, why they were there, who had invited them, and what safety precautions were in place to protect our children.”

•On April 20: “All text messages from Kelsey Waits (for all 4 years of her being on the Board) and Scott Gergen (all 10 years).”

Waits is the former school board chair, and Gergen was a board director until they were defeated in the November election.

Waits was on the list for making one request on Feb. 23: “Emails and text messages between Tate, Reis and Dressley regarding removal of books from the student book fair.”

There were several requests also from private citizens for information on the board and board members. A request is also listed from “KDWA Ashley Alitz & Michael Ruud,” and that was for: “Salary and wages for all current staff listed on the 3.25.22 org chart.

A copy of all organizational charts, including all revisions, going back to the beginning of 2016.

Salary and wages for every person on each version of the organizational charts going back to the beginning of 2016.”

April 27, 2022