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Wausau Board decides to study district music guidelines


WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) - Well over 500 people packed the Wausau East Auditorium, with nearly everyone speaking against recent changes to the district’s music guidelines.

Julie Burgess is a music instructor from D.C. Everest, whose children go to school in Wausau. She says the music instructors don’t try to push a religious philosophy, but do try to teach students the best music and the history behind the songs.

Rabbi Dan Dansen has had a few letters from students who felt uncomfortable with certain musical selections. Dansen says there is no doubt Wausau West and director Phil Buch have a top notch program. He says the issue is with certain song selections.  He agrees with the action taken by the school board at the end of the night to create a broad based community committee to look into music issues and help the board create future policy.

Board member Pat McKee says the board clearly heard the people, and the way this situation developed was embarrassing.  

McKee questioned administrators about the potential lawsuits and wanted to know who authorized administration to contact an attorney without the board’s knowledge. He moved to return the Wausau music departments to the administrative rules before February of this year when they were threatened with a lawsuit.

Board Member Lance Trollop wants to see this future music issues developed as a board policy and not as an administrative rule.

Several of the speakers from the community urged the district to recognize the significance of choral music instructor Phil Buch, and wanted the school to give him an apology. Board member Pat McKee offered his personal apology.

Board President Michelle Schaeffer made the motion to create the community committee to study music. She believes every administrative code needs a board policy as its foundation.

School board members also requested to add an agenda item to the Monday meeting schedule. That is a request for Superintendent Kathleen Williams to have an evaluation of her performance as soon as possible.


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