Wausau School Board Member Wants Four Members to Resign

By: Liz Hayes Email
By: Liz Hayes Email

If a student got a hold of a test and passed it out to some of his classmates without the teacher's knowledge, that would be considered cheating.

Wausau School Board Member Pat McKee says you can apply the analogy to a situation he witnessed Monday night between colleagues also on the board, which he says raises serious ethical questions.

McKee has only been on the school board since April, but he says what he recently discovered shocked him so much, he's calling for the immediate resignation of four fellow board members.

McKee says three members: Dale Lawson, Theresa Miles and Jane Rusch, who are all up for re-election in April, were given forum questions before Tuesday night's Wausau Education Association's candidate forum they would be participating in.

The only non-incumbent candidate, Matt Young, did not receive the questions.

McKee says board President Michelle Schaefer gave the questions to Lawson, who then gave them to Miles and Rusch. He witnessed Lawson pass a piece of paper to Miles Monday night and asked Rusch about it who told him she got the questions from Lawson.

"These are the individuals that the constituents have selected to represent them, I can't think of a more unethical situation," McKee said.

Schaefer admits to giving the questions to Lawson, but says McKee's allegations are baseless.

"Instead of entering into a civil discourse with myself and other board members, he has chosen to bring his case to the media and I believe that is his prerogative, his choice and right to do that, but I believe Mr. McKee should examine his own motivations in choosing this path," Schaefer said.

After learning about the leaked questions, Wausau Education Association President Jeff Berkeley says he was dumbfounded, but immediately decided to throw out the prepared questions and come up with new ones before Tuesday's forum.

"We scrapped the questions immediately," he said.

Dale Lawson says he did receive the questions from Schaefer, but did not want to comment further. Miles and Rusch did not return phone calls for comment.

Wausau Schools Superintendent Dr. Kathleen Williams says she learned of the situation second-hand, but that she is not getting involved and the board members should resolve their issues themselves.

"It would be inappropriate of me to be responding to opinions," she said. "It's not my role nor is it my responsibility."

Meanwhile McKee says if the board members don't resign, there are people willing to begin the process to have them recalled.

The school board election is April 2.

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