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 …
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.
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.
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