Williston District 7 school board president releases statement after WEA requests his resignation

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Williston Basin School District #7’s board president says he refuses to resign from his position despite a vote from the Williston Education Association demanding he immediately leaves.

The WEA held a news conference Tuesday saying in a unanimous decision they support a vote of “no confidence” in Chris Jundt and called for his resignation over how he handled concerns raised about the district Superintendent Dr. Jeff Thake.

Thake was placed on administrative leave because of alleged discrepancies in funds used to support the
creation of District 7. It remains unclear how much is unaccounted for.

The association’s president, Eric Rooke, says the decision to place Dr. Thake on administrative leave was without public consultation and a bad precedent that threatens teachers.

In a statement to KX News, Jundt says “leaders do not run the other way in the face of adversity” and that he “strongly” refuses to resign from his position.

All attempts to reach out to board members and district officers for comments have been unsuccessful.

Below is Jundt’s full statement:

“The following response is in my individual capacity as an individual school board member and not in my
capacity as President/Spokesperson for the School Board.

In response to the Williston Education Association’s request for my immediate resignation, I strongly
refuse to resign my position as a member of the Williston Basin School District #7 School Board. Leaders
do not run the other way in the face of adversity. Leaders face those challenges head on with a focus
and conviction to do what is right. The Williston community expects financial accountability and
academic accountability, both of which have been severely lacking in the school system for decades.

Financial deficits and reckless spending is not what the taxpayers of this community expect or deserve.
Proficiency scores that lag significantly behind the state averages is not what this community expects or
deserves. This is not what our students deserve. We have combined two districts that last year had
proficiency scores across the districts of 24% and 19% in Math compared to the state average of 38%.
We must do better as a community and as a district in helping our students excel in their academic
achievements; rather than lagging behind.

I have a tremendous amount of respect for the work teachers do. I have relatives and friends that are
teachers. I understand that it has been a difficult couple of years in the teaching world. That does not
however give Mr. Rooke, or the Williston Education Association the right to try and force me into
resigning as a member of the school board.

Executive sessions have been properly noticed, properly called, and properly held. Negotiations with
the Williston Education Association were held in good faith. The School Board has been focused on
student centered discussions such as CTE programming at Williston High School, monitoring of student
academic performance, strategic planning, updating of curriculum across the district, formation of a
technology committee to better align technology with the needs of staff and students in the district, and
many others.

My door is always open to anyone who wishes to have a professional discussion on ways for us to move
forward as a district in a positive manner. I look forward to everyone refocusing their energy and efforts
towards the academic success of our students because that is what everyone in this district should be

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