The Menomonie school board reorganized Monday, with Amy Riddle-Swanson taking the office of president after Dan Paulson resigned from the position on Feb. 14.

Paulson was not present at the meeting. He was in Costa Rica Monday, Riddle-Swanson said.

The board voted unanimously to approve Paulson’s resignation Monday and did not formally discuss the matter during the meeting.

The board elected treasurer David Styer as its new vice president on a 5-3 vote, replacing Riddle-Swanson. It voted Tanya Husby as the new treasurer on a 5-3 vote.

The new positions are official until the school board reorganizes after the April election.

Paulson was elected to the board in April 2017 and has been president since April 2018. His term on the board expires in April 2020.

“I’m honored to take his place,” Riddle-Swanson said after the meeting.

New plan for makeup days

District administration is “back to the drawing board” to find more makeup time after the district cancelled classes Monday, district administrator Joe Zydowsky said.

It was the ninth cancelled school day for the Menomonie district this academic year.

The board approved April 22 and June 7 as makeup days, but after Monday’s cancellations, schools are in danger of missing the state-mandated number of instructional hours per year, Zydowsky said. Menomonie High School is especially at risk.

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Last week the district began extending the school day by 10 minutes per day to help make up for lost time, but the district is looking into adding even more time onto the end of each school day to make up for recently canceled classes, Zydowsky said Monday.

Another option: bringing students back to school for a June 10 makeup day, although there is “concern about how much learning is going to happen at that point,” Zydowsky said.

Adding minutes onto the school day is the better option, according to community feedback, board member Jim Swanson said.

The administration also recommends that solution, Zydowsky said.

Board member Tricia Thompson expressed concern about more possible snow days in March.

“If we were to run into a few more days in March, we’d have no choice but to look at Saturdays or going into second week of June,” Zydowsky said.

Adding minutes onto the school day will also impact extracurricular activities, Zydowsky said.

Some school districts are considering e-learning days — days when students check in through devices and work from home — to make up for canceled classes, but not all Menomonie School District students have reliable internet access, Zydowsky said.

After research and discussion, the district could explore e-learning days for the 2019-2020 school year, but it’s not a viable option for this year, Zydowsky said.

In other school district news:

  • The board Monday approved hiring Mike Kennedy, a principal in the Plum City School District, as the new River Heights Elementary principal. Current principal Peg Kolden will retire in June after a 21-year career with the district. Kennedy will begin July 1; his wife Erin Kennedy is a first-grade teacher at Wakanda Elementary.

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