Letters: Here’s how to calm the school waters in Stillwater

10December 2020

The Stillwater Area School District’s interim superintendent, Malinda Lansfeldt, has been given a golden opportunity to calm the waters and bring unity to the district: All she has to do is to decline to enter into negotiations to extend her contract unless it goes through the normal process.

Ms. Lansfeldt was made interim superintendent when the sitting superintendent was ousted prior to the end of her contract.  The school board members who engineered the ouster have since either resigned from the board or lost their positions in the election Nov. 3.  Ms. Lansfeldt’s contract as interim superintendent runs until next June 30. The current board chair, a lame duck, is pushing to negotiate a three-year extension of the contract, which doesn’t follow the normal hiring process.

Malinda Lansfeldt (Courtesy of Stillwater Area Schools)

The hiring process the board outlined last June would include searching for qualified candidates and engaging the community, staff, students, and under-served communities in the effort.  Ms. Lansfeldt could choose to participate in negotiations that circumvent the engagement of the community and the review of other qualified candidates.  If that is her choice, she will likely be seen as an illegitimate superintendent who risks not having the support of the incoming board, the community, and staff of the district. The conflict and rancor in the district will likely continue, to the detriment of all.

This is Ms. Lansfeldt’s opportunity to show her integrity: decline to negotiate an extension of her interim contract, and insist that the normal hiring process be followed. She would gain the respect of the incoming school board and the community, and demonstrate that she values unity in the district.  Would she want anything less?

Karen Thielman, Woodbury


One word

Before this country implodes there is one pertinent word: ENOUGH!

Rodney A. Davies, St. Paul


The line

While I have great respect for the politicians of this state (especially those who have shown their care for the citizens of Minnesota by promoting and modeling good public health behavior) there are some groups that should get the coronavirus vaccine before them: Health care workers, elderly (already cited), teachers, children, bus drivers, retail workers, funeral home workers, volunteers, families of people in nursing homes, small business workers, airline pilots, airline attendants, taxi cab drivers, police, firefighters, secret service agents, corrections officers, incarcerated people, busboys, waitstaff, DMV workers, factory workers. There are others I’m sure. If there are a few doses left maybe we could even give it to the lawyers.

Brian Kersten, Bayport


Particularly not minor

Regarding your recent news report on Hennepin County proposing eliminating bail for “minor offenses” such as theft of a motor vehicle, forgery, damage to property and identity theft: In my world, these are not minor offenses. The Twin Cities has seen an alarming increase in carjackings, often involving threatening the owner at gunpoint. A recent news report said that the same offenders keep hijacking cars repeatedly. So, as a parent, this is the same logic to me of not punishing a child for behavior you wish to eliminate.

Anyone who’s been a victim of these crimes would not agree that they are minor crimes.

Since when is reducing prison populations more important than deterring car jackings, ID theft, forgery? I focus on these particular offenses because they strike me as particularly not minor.

I feel as though our county attorneys have lost perspective on what constitutes a minor offense, and what the public is willing to sanction, which is what suspending bail is, in my humble opinion.

Am I the only one who thinks this is a slippery slope?

Susan Winsor, Afton

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