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School board to hold closed talk

The board calls meeting to discuss personnel issues.
Thursday, April 21, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 3:07 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

With Columbia School District officials virtually silent regarding sexual misconduct allegations against Rock Bridge High School Principal Bruce Brotzman, school board members are scheduled to meet behind closed doors today in a hastily called special meeting to discuss personnel issues.

If the session will include a discussion of the Brotzman incident, board members aren’t saying.

The closed meeting — which is allowed under state law — follows an open meeting that was scheduled earlier this month as a regular work session. The closed meeting, however, was scheduled Wednesday morning after Superintendent Phyllis Chase spoke to School Board President J.C. Headley about holding a separate meeting.

The meeting is set for 9:30 a.m. at the school district’s administration building, 1818 W. Worley St.

Headley declined to discuss the purpose of the closed meeting, as well as the allegations against Brotzman. On Monday, he acknowledged previously learning about Brotzman’s encounter with MU police but did not provide a time frame nor indicate how he learned about the situation.

MU police barred Brotzman, 46, from all campus libraries for one year following a complaint by Michael Hopkins, an MU junior and library employee. Hopkins, 22, reported that Brotzman appeared sexually aroused and had followed him from one floor of Ellis Library to another in July 2004. No formal charges have been filed.

School Board member Kerry Crist said that even though the seven elected leaders will meet behind closed doors today, state law requires that any decision reached in this session must be revealed to the public within 72 hours after the meeting.

“We are very open with the public so they know we’re not trying to pull anything,” she said.

Board member Darin Preis said he’s received several comments from parents and staff members about the allegations against Brotzman.

“Some have been Brotzman supporters and others are concerned with the situation,” he said.

Preis said the board plans to handle the issue with respect and professionalism.

“I just expect to listen to all the evidence we’re provided and make decisions based on that,” he said.

After seven years as Rock Bridge principal, Brotzman resigned in January with little explanation about his plans. He was hired in March to work as executive administrator for secondary education for the Cedar Rapids Community School District in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Officials from Cedar Rapids said Tuesday they are working with a school district attorney to investigate the allegations against Brotzman, of which they were not previously aware. Brotzman is scheduled to begin work in Cedar Rapids on July 1.


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