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Somerset School Board tables health care hire

At its Dec. 15 meeting, the Somerset School District Board of Education voted down a motion to hire a new high school health care provider to replace Patty Schachtner, who is stepping down to take on full-time duties with the St. Croix County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Originally, the hire was one of five on the board’s consent agenda for the meeting, but board member Kelly Ott flagged the item for additional discussion and consideration.

Ott indicated that she wanted to have a discussion on the health care position, making it clear that her hesitation to hire was more about understanding the position and nothing to do with the recommended applicant.

Superintendent Randy Rosburg reminded the board that Schachtner’s last day with the district will be Dec. 23, leaving little time for the board to approve a hire before school starts up after winter break again on Jan. 5.

Board clerk Tammie Wishard was concerned that the district received only three applications for the opening, and questioned the efficacy of the job ad.

“It seems to me that if we’re only getting three applicants, we’re not advertising in the places we should be,” Wishard said.

Wishard questioned whether using the Wisconsin Education Career Access Network (WECAN) online job board would have made a difference. The district currently uses WECAN to post positions for educational professionals, but not for support positions.

“I think that we need to evaluate — for the elementary school, middle school and high school — that particular position and things that they may encounter that they never thought of when we were in high school,” Ott said.

Board treasurer Mike Connor spoke to the importance of having a health care provider in place before students returned from winter break.

“If we don’t leave here without something in place, we’re putting our high school in harm’s way,” Connor said. “We can have great discussion on how we make changes to the way we hire, but it’s a little bit 11th hour here, so I’ll make a motion that we approve the hire that was on our consent agenda.”

Board president Brian Moulton seconded Connor’s motion, but it was defeated with only those two voting in favor of it.

The board will discuss the position and the district’s hiring processes next month.

Football team recognized

Early in the meeting, members of the state champion Somerset football team were recognized by the board along with head coach Bruce Larson and his coaching staff, team managers and helpers and the football cheerleading squad.

Larson said the group of students involved in this year’s successful season began playing together in youth football as fourth- and fifth-graders and he thanked the district and the community for the part it played in the team’s success

“I really appreciated everything,” Larson said. “We have a beautiful weight room, a beautiful locker room and beautiful facilities. Our kids are really well treated by the school and the community and everyone involved. It’s really well done. When you get recognized, people have to understand that it’s not what one person can do. It’s more of a recognition of the whole program, which involves hundreds if not thousands of people. No one person can do that.”

Other business

— The board approved a proposal to offer a trap shooting club for high school students. Somerset students will have the opportunity to participate in the team already organized by the New Richmond School District.

— The board approved the hiring of four new district employees, including a district census taker, a certified occupational therapy assistant, a middle school office aide and an early childhood education aide.

— The board approved a slate of winter coaching and advising assignments, and athletic training services for 2014-15.

— The board denied an open enrollment request from a Hudson family.

— The board approved early graduation for two students.

Micheal Foley
Micheal Foley worked at RiverTown Multimedia from July 2013 to June 2015 as editor at the New Richmond News. 
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