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New positions are in the works for Menomonie schools and a request of support from another school district sparked an in-depth discussion Monday.

The Menomonie School Board discussed several key issues Monday night, including a surplus dollar figure the board is looking to use for the 2019-20 school year.

Going into the fall, there is expected to be a surplus of $213,000 in the board budget, with a few ideas being represented by district administrator Joe Zydowsky.

Two weeks before the meeting, Zydowsky emailed all administration and staff in the Menomonie school district asking for suggestions for what the money should be used for.

The four most requested options were for the addition of a staffer for intervention support, funding to hire a science Olympiad coach at the elementary level, increased site budgets (although this will most likely be considered after the budget is finalized in October) and adding a teaching budget for each classroom of $100, which would total about $25,000.

Zydowsky said the latter option would be easy and quick to implement, with the funding readily available and the staff fully aware of what they could use the money such as upgraded equipment and supplies.

“With board support, that’s something we could budget for and get started at the beginning of the school year,” Zydowsky said. “This way teachers could maximize any effect this would have as early on as possible in the classroom. I think it would be a good option.”

After a brief discussion, the options will be brought back to the board for consideration.

The board also discussed a request from the Wausau Area School Board to support a resolution Wausau is presenting to the state to ban all mascots, symbols, images, nicknames and titles associated with Native Americans.

Board member David Styer said he is opposed to supporting the Wausau resolution because it features a few gray areas in its wording that may not reflect the views and opinions of the Menomonie area.

“To be honest, I’m not in favor of it,” Styer said. “We’ve had a long history here in Menomonie, going back to when the Indian logo was removed at the high school and there has been a lot of controversy ever since then. We made the decision to go with the Mustang instead of the Indian logo, so I think something like this should be left to each individual school and school district. I don’t think we should be in a position of saying it is right or wrong to anyone for using any logo or name, because it is so local. I think Menomonie should stay out of it.”

Board member Jim Swanson wholeheartedly expressed his support, saying that not supporting the resolution would be an act of “bigotry.” Swanson said what happens in Menomonie affects other areas in the state and country, because how the schools represent themselves in other communities affects those areas.

The board plans to vote a future meeting on whether to support the resolution.

The next Menomonie school board meeting is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 5.

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