District bids farewell to two teachers, coach
At a special session of the Somerset School District Board of Education Monday night, the board approved the resignations of three employees.
Andrew Emerson, who has been the grades 7-12 band instructor for 14 years, has resigned from his position to pursue an opportunity near Las Vegas, Nev.
According to district administrator Randy Rosburg, Emerson and his wife are relocating to Nevada to be closer to family. Rosburg said Emerson had applied for a position in Nevada in April, but just heard back last week. Both he and his wife will teach in charter schools in Las Vegas.
Board member Mike Connor spoke highly of Emerson’s tenure in Somerset.
“I enjoyed working with him once a year for the Memorial Day celebration,” Connor said. “He was always there and I could count on him.”
The position has been posted and the district is accepting applications, Rosburg said.
The district is also bidding farewell to its high school boys basketball head coach Brent Larson, who has accepted a position as an assistant basketball coach for the UW-Eau Claire men’s program, Rosburg said.
The board also approved the resignation of Christine Scheid, the district’s English as a second language/bilingual instructor. Scheid’s position had been cut down to 0.6 due to the district’s declining number of students who aren’t English-proficient. Rosburg estimates that number of students to be around seven or eight, significantly lower than a few years ago.
According to Rosburg, Scheid has accepted a position in the St. Paul school system. Board members said the position will be more difficult to fill, because it’s not full time anymore.
The board approved a contract with RMM Solutions IT Services as an IT manager service provider, effective immediately.
The school district entertained bids from three businesses. RMM came in at the least expensive at $87,000 for one year. Others considered were Heartland Business Systems at $121,000 per year and Varitech Inc. (an Ohio-based company) for $110,000 per year.
Board members agreed they like RMM’s proposal best because the company is local (based in Wausau) and works with Wisconsin school districts.
Middle school media specialist Tracy Yndestad said she hopes the service will help by being more objective and unbiased, but would prefer an IT manager onsite.
“I’m disappointed that we’re not hiring an onsite person, but I see the pros and cons,” Yndestad said.
Board member Kelly Ott assured Yndestad this is simply a test run for one year to see why the district’s IT systems “are not up to par.” The district’s IT staff will still have the responsibility of the day-to-day needs, but will have a place to turn for added input and solutions when problems occur.
Board member Tammie Wishard said she liked RMM’s proposal because the language was clear and straight-forward, much like shes hopes their lines of communication with the district will be.
Board member Tom Walters said he feels Heartland has been working with the district for several years with lackluster results; constituting a change. He requested adding a bi-monthly report to the board as part of the contract so board members are aware of any IT issues.
“We spent a lot of money on this through the referendum,” Walters said. “It’s a critical piece in today’s education. To not have it working at 100 percent is not good.”
Board members asked Rosburg to check with RMM on the addition of weekly meetings with Somerset IT staff. The proposed contract accounts for two meetings per month, but IT staff members requested weekly meetings, especially in the beginning to coordinate building by building.
- The board approved hiring Melisa Erwin as a full-time high school English teacher. Rosburg said the she was chosen from a pool of 10 candidates.
- The board voted to add a 0.5 junior kindergarten teacher position. The position could be bumped up to full time if 110 or more students register for the school year.