Ellsworth SB raises lower level officials’ pay

By Sarah Nigbor
Posted 9/14/23

ELLSWORTH – The Ellsworth School Board voted at its Sept. 11 meeting to raise pay for event workers and game officials in hopes of retaining and recruiting those who make games happen for …

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Ellsworth SB raises lower level officials’ pay


ELLSWORTH – The Ellsworth School Board voted at its Sept. 11 meeting to raise pay for event workers and game officials in hopes of retaining and recruiting those who make games happen for students.

New Athletic Director Kevin Haglund took on the project of comparing Ellsworth’s pay to other districts and found the district to be near the bottom of the ladder.

“We’re competing for all of the same officials,” Haglund said. “In Dunn, St. Croix and Pierce counties. It has to be worth their time, and right now it’s not worth their time.”

The pay for event workers, such as ticket takers, chain gang crew, volleyball line judges and announcers was $25 per game. Neighboring districts’ pay examples for varsity events include Elmwood/Plum City at $30, Spring Valley at $40, Prescott at $35 and Baldwin-Woodville at $40. The board voted to raise Ellsworth’s pay to $35 per game.

“The $35 was a little higher in some areas, but low in others,” Haglund said. “I don’t want to do this again in two years.”

As for officials, Ellsworth has been paying middle school and junior varsity officials anywhere from $55 to $65 per game, or in some cases, $60 for two games (equating to $15 per hour). On the high end, Amery pays anywhere from $65 to $85 per game while on the lower end, Pepin and Prescott are paying $60 per game. The board voted to raise Ellsworth’s pay for middle school, C team and junior varsity officials to $70 per game across the board.

“I’ve had people, like if I’m looking for a volleyball C team line judge, say they’d do it if we paid more,” Haglund said.

He said 11 years ago when he starting reffing basketball, the pay for varsity games was $65; now it’s about $110 and it’s only going to increase.

“The official shortage is so real and we’ll need to keep going up,” Haglund said.

Superintendent Barry Cain was in favor of the increase for lower level officials and event workers.

“We’re just getting to that average and everyone else will continue to bump up,” Cain said. “Conferences have been talking with others trying to figure out how to keep up.”

Currently, Cain estimated Ellsworth pays $60,000 per year across all sports for officials and event workers. The increase will not raise that number by much, he said.

Board President Katie Feuerhelm asked that the pay be put on a review schedule at least every few years.

Community survey

Cain advised a community survey will be going out to school district residents around Oct. 4 about possible a possible facilities referendum. The district will host an open house from 4-6 p.m. Oct. 1 in the Ellsworth High School cafetorium which will include presentations, facility tours, athletic and phy ed space tours, and staff available for questions.

The district is also developing a webpage concerning the possible referendum, which should be up and running by Sept. 22. People are also encouraged to follow the district on social media for information updates.

“We’re really looking for community feedback on all of the projects we’ve put together,” Cain said. “To determine, do we go to referendum or not. Surveying the public in the past has been beneficial and generates an understanding of what the community will support and not support.”

Cain said the community needs an understanding of the projects in order to make an informed decision. A mailer will also be sent with all the information. People can discern and prioritize what they think is most important.

On a light note, Cain said no one should worry that the open house is on a football Sunday.

“Everyone gets panicky when things are planned on a Sunday, but the Packers play that Thursday and the Vikings play at noon,” he joked.  

Personnel report

The board approved the following personnel changes:

Hires: Beth Friedrichsen, high school/middle school Spanish teacher; Ashley Plahn, long-term substitute teaching assistant; Esther Wangen, Panther Kids club staff

Extra/co-curricular: Angie Bjork, mentor; Abbie Green, middle school guiding coalition; Jason Haugley, EHS building leadership team; Renee Helgeson, middle school annual coordinator (.50 FTE); Amanda Kissinger, middle school cross country assistant/health aide; Kayla Klecker, mentor, EHS building leadership team; Madeline Poulos, EHS building leadership team; Erin Relyea, mentor; Jessica Sallander, grade level chair (sixth grade), Hope Tiffany, high school assistant girls golf coach; Erin Tomlinson, grade level chair (seventh grade); Jessica Wiskow, mentor

Transfer: Madalyn Hardy, transfer from PKC staff to PKC staff/elementary special education teaching assistant

Other business

  • The Ellsworth School Board meeting is scheduled for Oct. 10.
  • Cain said 116 children registered for 4YK, which was higher than expected. The district is up one student from last year.
  • The board will bring a proposed school board member salary increase to the annual meeting Oct. 10 of $300 across the board for each member. The board hasn’t had an increase in pay since 2015. While reluctant to talk about an increase, the board agreed they should keep up with the times in order to compensate future boards fairly and competitively.
Ellsworth School Board, event workers, sports officials, pay raise, Ellsworth, Wisconsin