School district adds new positions
Three counselors, 4K teacher to start in 2017-2018
By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD — The School District of Marshfield will add four new positions in the 2017-2018 school year. The positions were approved by the Marshfield School Board during its July 12 meeting.
Amber Kiggens-Leifheit, the district’s finance chair, said that one of the district’s current 4K providers in the community would only be offering two sessions, instead of three, in the upcoming school year, which would leave the district short of 4K education offerings for an estimated 20 children.
Kiggens-Leifheit said that the district had three options to solve the problem.
“Administration researched to see what we could do,” she explained. “What the final three alternatives were to go to one of the programs and have them do another session, but they wanted more money, … considerably more. … That would be precedence setting with the other sessions. We can’t pay one provider more than we are paying the others.
“We could rent space from one of the local churches and do a session there, but then we would also need to hire a new teacher. Space would be $50 a day, and we would also have to worry about insurance and those kinds of things.
“The third option I bring forward on behalf of the (finance) committee would be to put the session at Washington school where there is space. It is an appropriate size room that has been used in the past for 4K. We would hire a teacher. In the morning they would be a 4K teacher.
“This was something that sprang out of, more or less, an emergency situation. It is now July 12, and we need to sign these students yesterday, and we don’t have a place to put them, and by law we have to service all of the children that want to go to 4K.”
Prior to the meeting, it was determined that a lead teacher was needed for 4K and that a half-time 4K instructor and a half-time lead teacher could be served by a single full-time position.
Five months ago the board voted down a pilot program that would bring one of the current 4K programs being hosted through community providers into district facilities.
This time the board agreed in a 5 to 1 vote, with Mary Carney voting no and Dorothy Chaney absent, in favor of establishing the 4K teaching position within the school district.
The board also passed a recommendation by the finance committee to add three more school counseling positions in the district.
“What it would involve is taking the two people we already have hired that are trained as social workers and let them do the job of a social worker. It’s something we need in the district as students across the state — not just here in Marshfield — are needier. They need help with mental health issues (and) a host of other issues,” Kiggens-Leifheit said. “So the first part of this option coming on behalf of the finance committee is to move our two school social workers to social workers and then to replace those two social workers with new counselors, people trained to be counselors, but beyond that to add another counselor, and these three would service the elementary schools based on the need.”
Kiggens-Leifheit said that the new counselors would not fill the full need of the district, but they would be a start to addressing it.