Six vie for Rhinelander school board seat
Board votes seven times before reaching majority consensus
By Eileen Persike
The School District of Rhinelander board of education put out a call to district residents. Seven individuals responded to temporarily fill the seat of Benjamin Roskoskey who is away on military duty. Per state law, the district is required to fill that vacancy. Tom Fox, Michael Skubal, Richard Barcal, Mark Beuning, Moria King and Merlin Van Buren filed declarations of candidacy. After several rounds of statements, questions, answers and seven ballots at Monday night’s board meeting, Van Buren was declared the winner, garnering five votes which was the majority needed.
“The most important thing this board will be doing is hiring a new superintendent,” Van Buren said. “And it is essential we get it right again. I have no ax to grind, my goal has been and always will be to make sure every one of our students gets the best education possible.”
Van Buren previously served on the board, having lost his most recent reelection bid to Roskoskey. Board member Ann Munninghoff Eshelman said she was supporting Van Buren because with his experience he could “hit the ground running.”
As the discussion continued, Skubal, Beuning, Fox and Barcal withdrew their nominations. Fox threw his support behind King, and Barcal endorsed Van Buren. Board member Mike Roberts voiced his support for King, noting he felt it was important to bring a fresh voice to the board.
“I think it’s important to have new faces,” Roberts said. “I think it would be a benefit to our board to get to know Moria and for the community to see what she could add and bring to the board.”
Van Buren will serve on the board until April 7, the date of the spring election, or before that, depending on Roskoskey’s return from service. Board members encouraged all six of Monday night’s candidates to run for the board in the spring election.
State Report Cards
Rachel Hoffman, director of teaching, learning and technology presented the results of the district’s report card, released by the state department of public instruction last week.
Every school in the district meet or exceeded expectations, something she said hasn’t always been the case.
“So that’s a spot that we should really celebrate and enjoy that we’ve made some significant progress in meeting the goals,” Hoffman said, adding, “We always want to do better.”
The 2019-20 report card may more accurately reflect student abilities, Hoffman said, because the new 4K-grade five elementary school configuration will show more growth.
“I’m optimistic that next year the numbers will be even stronger,” said Hoffman. “In part to the reconfiguration and also in part to the changes that we’ve made to the elementary level.. we’ve implemented a new English-language arts curriculum which early on, one quarter in is very favorable.”
For a detailed look at the district and individual school grades, visit www.dpi.wi.gov/accountability/report-cards.
District Grade: 68