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Student credit union created

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Who ever heard of cashing a check at school?

That's what high school students will get to do when the student credit union opens at the new high school in 2010.

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New Richmond School Board members approved the new credit union at last week's board meeting.

The credit union, which will be manned by student workers, will act as a fully functional credit union.

The proposal comes from WESTconsin Credit Union, which has been working through Ann Scharfenberg, who teaches economics at the high school.

WESTconsin occasionally helps her students with the personal finances, Scharfenberg said.

WESTconsin recently opened student credit unions in Menomonie and River Falls.

The students will work in the school and the hours are usually during lunch hours, said Kari Jacobs, WESTconsin marketing manager.

The interactive financial program is staffed with student tellers working under the supervision of credit union staff. It will be available to students and staff of the school district and give students hands-on learning about personal finances.

Casey Eckardt, the high school activities director, toured the Menomonie facility, said Jeff Moberg, high school principal.

"The students do get a lot out of it," he said. "Some had even opened Roth IRAs."

All costs associated with opening the student credit union will be covered by WESTconsin (or whichever bank wins the contract). Those costs include equipment, staffing, student tellers and construction. The school only needs to provide the space.

The district will take proposals from any financial institution interested in opening the student-run credit union.

As the school opening gets nearer, more details will be determined.

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Jackie Grumish
Jackie Grumish has been a reporter with the New Richmond News since 2008. She holds degrees in journalism and fine art from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill. Before coming to New Richmond, Jackie worked as the city government reporter at a daily newspaper in Aberdeen, S.D. 
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