OTTAWA – More than 50 people attended Tuesday’s Ottawa-Glandorf School Board meeting to discuss re-hiring Superintendent Kevin Brinkman while he receives retirement benefits. Many in the crowd were teachers and school employees.
Although all the speakers said they were in favor of the retire-rehire issue, many expressed concerns about the fairness of how it is being done at Ottawa-Glandorf. A major concern raised by three speakers was the offer made to current athletic director Al Laubenthal. Laubenthal’s retirement was accepted during the March board meeting.
“I feel there is divisiveness here between the teaching staff and administration,” said Brad Leis. He said offering Laubenthal only 57 percent of Laubenthal's current salary if rehired had been a "slap in the face.”
Troy Yant said Brinkman should be rehired and said Laubenthal also should be rehired in a fair and equitable way. Yant requested a show of hands of who was at the meeting to show support for Laubenthal. The majority of the people raised their hands.
Charlie Kiene said Brinkman should be rehired. Saying Ottawa-Glandorf has a superintendent it can be proud of, Kiene said he knew Brinkman watched the finances of the school like a hawk.
Kiene said Ottawa-Glandorf had the lowest in school taxes in the county and attributed much of that frugality to Brinkman’s leadership.
According to Ken Schriner, Laubenthal deserves a reward.
“We are always taught that you should be firm, fair and consistent. I’m not sure that it was fair what was offered to Al Laubenthal,” Schriner said.
Teacher Ann Ellerbrock said she also favored retire-rehire by Ottawa-Glandorf schools and reminded the board other schools were doing it.
“I hope you can work to keep good people here,” Ellerbrock said.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the board went into executive session to discuss personnel. No decision was made about Brinkman’s retire/rehire employment.
Brinkman became Ottawa-Glandorf superintendent in 2004. He previously had been director of business and education affairs. Brinkman was a teacher and assistant principal in Elida, a middle school principal in Shawnee and the principal of Glandorf Elementary before assuming the business manager's post in 1998.