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Music program changes upsets School Board member


WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) - Wausau School Board members are gathering information about last week’s administrative decision to change the number of religious-based songs in a program for the Wausau West Master Singers, and also to eliminate elementary winter programs.

One of the board members that is not happy about what happened is Patrick McKee. “In my opinion as a board member, the real issue to me is that administration apparently took it upon themselves to initiate what amounts to a significant policy decision, without involving the school board, without involving other stakeholders in the community.”

The issue of religious music use in schools is not new, but McKee says he’s wondering why the drastic changes were made. “If there were complaints, if there were threats of lawsuits, etc., we should have all had the opportunity to those and understand who made them, how many of them were there, and then let the board decide on a proper course of action.”

McKee does not believe the district was responding to a legal threat when they changed how they implement what ‘s called an “alternative process” applying an administrative rule. “Historically, if there has ever been the slightest whisper of any pending legal activity within the district, any letters received from attorneys, the administration has always gotten the board into closed session and we reviewed it. That never happened, which tells me there may not have been any complaints, which makes the mystery even greater as to why this change was implemented.”

McKee is very upset that the school board was not brought into this issue in the beginning. “We have to be able to respond to this at least halfway intelligently. Not having information to do so has been extremely frustrating from my perspective. We’ve got to get to the bottom of this. We’ve got to know who made what decisions, and with the constituents help, I think we need to hold those people accountable in whatever manner we can.”

The Wausau School Board is attempting to schedule a special meeting to discuss the music issues before Monday’s regular board meeting. So far, that hasn’t been set.