Dickinson Catholic Schools is going through an upheaval and restructuring in its governance.
All seven layperson members of the DCS Board of Education were dismissed during a Thursday night board meeting. Their dismissal follows the resignation of Superintendent Kelly Koppinger, whose final day was March 29.
The board’s executive council — five Dickinson priests — have said the board will be reorganized with some layperson members eventually being brought back to the board.
“There will be some asked to come back,” Rev. Todd Kreitinger said on Friday.
Kreitinger said there is no timetable for when the board plans to reorganize with layperson members, none of whom were relieved because of wrongdoings.
“It isn’t a personality thing or a personal thing,” Kreitinger said. “It was more the restructuring.”
A three-paragraph email sent Friday to DCS faculty, staff and parents states that because the schools no longer have a superintendent, the five priests — all of whom signed the email — will collectively act as interim superintendent. The plan has the full support of Rev. David Kagan, bishop of the Diocese of Bismarck.
The email states, “This temporary structure will be replaced as soon as a new iteration of the board can be implemented.” It was signed by Kreitinger, Monsignor Patrick Schumacher and Revs. Shannon Lucht, Keith Streifel and Kregg Hochhalter, the chaplain at Trinity High School.
DCS is comprised of Trinity High School, Trinity Elementary East and Trinity West Elementary.
Kreitinger said the decision to dismiss the board’s layperson members was difficult and has been met with mixed feedback from the community.
“Each person’s opinion is not only important and valuable, but sometimes all of us can be anxious about the unknown or misunderstandings or even just change” said Kreitinger, the priest at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Dickinson. “I can sympathize and appreciate concerns. That’s how it can get kind of heated. Each person’s opinion is valid.”
In the email, the board’s executive council stated that the school system’s budget for the next fiscal year has been approved and all contracts for the 2013-14 school year will be issued within their usual time frame.
According to the DCS website, the board of education was comprised of Paul Ellerkamp, Joe Fridrich, Rich Holgard, Tina Jassek, Travis Leintz, Anthony Willer and Janet Williams, along with the five above-mentioned priests and Kagan.
Phone calls made to several former board members and Kagan went returned. Other former board members said they would not comment on the story.