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April 4, 2013

County Post East

Board takes no action on non-renewal of band teacher By Bert Lehman Reporter

MANAWA –Tracy Eklund, a music teacher for grades 5-12 in the Manawa School District, will be keeping her job. The Manawa School Board deliberated for several hours in closed session Monday, March 25, prior to making a decision regarding renewal of her contract. Eklund has been teaching music in Manawa for 23 years. She received a non-renewal notice in late February. The Manawa School Board voted 5-0 at a special board meeting, Feb. 25, to issue Eklund a preliminary non-renewal notice. Board member Paul Sturm was absent from that meeting. An overflowing crowd of students, parents, teachers and residents attended the Manawa School Board meeting March 25, to show their support for Eklund.

Nine people addressed the board in support of Eklund, including two students whose addresses became emotional. Resident Bill Ropke said once he heard of Eklund’s non-renewal he emailed all the board members asking why the district was not going to renew Eklund. “Of the replies that I got, the recurring theme seemed to be we want to move this in a different direction,” Ropke told the board. “I question how a teacher with 23 years of experience is not capable all of a sudden of moving something in a different direction. “I think personally, the board, and I think the people of this town need to step up and work with her as far as, if you want a better band program, say what you want and give her a chance to implement it.” Roseanne Sanderfoot, a Manawa Elementary School

teacher, questioned how the district handles Improvement Plans it gives to teachers. “I would think the district’s purpose would be to come alongside the teachers to help them in an area where they may be struggling, provide encouragement, training, membership, something that would help the teacher improve in a certain area,” Sanderfoot said. “For me, it seems like for our school district it’s a paper trail to get rid of somebody, rather than a way to support and encourage and better a person as a professional. I just think that if we are going to do it as a way to get rid of people then let’s call it something else, rather than an Improvement Plan. If it really is an Improvement Plan then the teacher needs to know exactly what the goals are.” Others questioned the future of the music program in the district.

“We don’t dare lose the music program,” said Dave Lindsay, a former school board member. Later, the school board convened in closed session. The items on the closed session agenda included: 1) Private conference with teacher; 2) Final notice of teacher non-renewal; 3) Teacher resignation; and 4) Administrator agreement. The private conference with Eklund lasted around one hour. The County Post East obtained a copy of the closed session agenda for the private conference. The agenda was used by Eklund, Carmen O’Brien, the vice president of the Manawa Education Association, and Joan Heithoff, the union representative at the regional level. O’Brien and Heithoff accompanied Eklund to the private conference. Items discussed included the past, present and future

start one, but O’Brien said Eklund was never given any dates in which it had to be started by. O’Brien said that the board said in closed session that it has no intention of dropping the band program. After deliberating in closed session for around two more hours, Eklund, her husband, and Heithoff were called back into the closed session meeting. They emerged from the meeting a short time later, with Eklund’s husband giving a thumbs up to the handful of people who stayed for the duration of the closed session. The board reconvened in open session. After roll call was taken, the meeting was adjourned with no action taken on any items. When asked after the meeting about the nonrenewal of Eklund, board President Kurt Kreklow said

of the band program. It also addressed the reason for the non-renewal. The following is from the copy of the agenda, “The only reason we have been given is that the ‘Administration is not satisfied with the high school band program’ and they would like it to move in a different direction.” The agenda also included discussion designated to Eklund having two different high school principals the last two years. It included discussion regarding the effects of the non-renewal for the Eklund family, the band program, the district’s staff and the community. O’Brien told the County Post East that the reason for the non-renewal was vague until the private conference. She said previously Eklund had been given an Improvement Plan. One of the items in the plan was for Eklund to start a band booster club. She didn’t

Horseshoe painting approved for city streets By Jane Myhra Reporter

MANAWA – Horseshoes will be painted on city streets for the July 6 Manawa Rodeo Parade. The painting proposed by the Manawa Lions Club was approved by the Manawa Common Council at its March 18 meeting. No type of display will be allowed on state highways, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Purchase of a replacement dump truck was discussed by the council. A Committee of the Whole meeting was scheduled to discuss the

purchase. The council acknowledged a plan to provide batting cages at Lindsay Park or at the school. A total of $500 of the $2,100 cost has been raised by the junior and eighth graders at Little Wolf Junior/Senior High School. The donation is being made in memory of Jesse Sell. The batting cages could be put at the high school instead of at Lindsay Park, noted council person Mary Eck. “They want the (funds) to be used, but they don’t want it to be abused,” she said. The council talked about the Market Place that is held

at Triangle Park. Conditions for use include having the city workers mark the sprinkler heads. Organizers will be informed of the location of each sprinkler so no damage occurs. Fire Board representatives reported that the Manawa Fire Board has accepted Mike Pamperin’s resignation as ambulance director. The job is being handled temporarily by Randy Gillette and Cathy Wegener. The fire board is in the process of replacing Pamperin after accessing the job position.

The council approved having a summer recreation program. Job applications must be received by April 5. Police radios have been installed at all Manawa schools, according to Police Chief David Walker. Now that they are using more digital devices, Walker noted that more electrical outlets are needed in the police office. In other business, the council: • Set board of review for 3:45-5:45 p.m. Monday, May 20, prior to the council

Dressed for the occasion

All dressed up for Easter is Willow Werth of Manawa.

meeting, with the assessor present from 10 a.m.-noon Wednesday, May 1.

single to family health insurance. • Agreed to allow temporary light duty for a city employee.

• Approved an employee request to be changed from


the board “took no action to not renew her.” After hearing about the outcome, O’Brien left the following message with the County Post East, “We are more than pleased with the board’s decision. We are so thankful to the people who spoke on Tracy’s behalf and we’re all hoping to work together to make the School District of Manawa better, with the board and the administration. We’re interested in having a working relationship with them.” In a follow-up interview, O’Brien confirmed that no action by the board on the non-renewal means Eklund will receive a contract for the 2013-14 school year. “Tracy will receive a contract for next year, and there will be some stipulations to her contract,” O’Brien said. “She will be under what they call an Improvement Plan to try to increase numbers in the program.”

• Adopted resolutions to allow for refinancing of city debt with the Wisconsin Board of Commissioners of Public Lands.

Babygarten, Story Hour resume April 4 MANAWA – Babygarten and Story Hour will resume at Sturm Memorial Library, Thursday, April 4. Infants and children 0-2 years of age and their caregivers will share nursery rhymes, songs, finger plays,

bounces and books during Babygarten. The session concludes with a free play period. Sessions will take place at 11 a.m. each Thursday in April and May. Preschool Story Hour for ages 2-5 are scheduled for

Thursdays at 10:30 a.m in April and may. It is held in the meeting room at the library. No registration required for either session. Contact the library at 920-596-2252 for details.

Send your news tips, press releases and announcements to the County Post East!

Jane Myhra Photo




Clintonville-New London Email:

Manawa-New London Email:



920-740-8552 Celebrate Reading during April at the Clintonville Public Library



Peeps-tacular Contest!

Manawa-Club News

Don’t throw away of those left over peeps from Easter use them to create something Peeps-tacular. Bring your creations to the library and compete for the coveted Peeps Grand Prize Trophy in each age group. Adults 18 and up • Teens 12-17 • Kids 11 and under The Clintonville Public Library will accept creations from April 1 - April 15

Email: Phone:


Culver’s Sponsors Drawing Event in Partnership with Clintonville Public Library


Visiting with the Easter Bunny Sitting on the Easter Bunny’s lap at the Manawa Esater Egg Hunt held Saturday, March 30, were Rylee Vandenheuvel (left) and Evelyn Redmann of Manawa. Jane Myhra Photo

Children can enter the drawing event by picking up drawing sheets from the Clintonville Public Library from April 1 - April 30. Children are encouraged to draw book characters that they would like to meet at the library. Every child who completes a drawing will receive a “Be Our Guest” coupon for a free single scoop of frozen custard from Culver’s and be entered into a random drawing to win an additional prize of a free Team Scoopie Kids meal coupon. Drawings will be displayed at Clintonville Public Library or the Culver’s restaurant in Clintonville.


In celebration of National Library Week, April 14-20, the Clintonville Public Library will join the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation and the Culver’s restaurant in Clintonville in the “Create your own story” drawing campaign for children 11 and under.


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