Wausau School Board taking bids for music investigation - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Wausau School Board taking bids for music investigation


School board members want more answers on the Christmas music controversy in Wausau.

Earlier this month, district leaders proposed limiting religious music at holiday concerts. That heated debate attracted national attention and huge community backlash.

Now, an outside investigation is next.    

The Wausau School Board wants to know what led up to a firestorm, all about limiting religious music in school concerts.

"We need to know what started it, what made it grow and how we can avoid something like this in the future," said Jane Rusch, Wausau School Board Member.

School board members said they want clarity. Now, they're taking at least two bids for an independent investigation.

"The public wants to know and we have the responsibility to find the answers for them," said Rusch.

The controversy started about two weeks ago, with proposed guidelines from the district, to limit religious music in school concerts.

The superintendent said it stemmed from the threat of a lawsuit.

Following community backlash, the district backtracked, and singers went back to their original playlists.

The board's next step is to figure out specifics.

"A timeline of when things happened, who put them out there, just to find out the facts," said Rusch.

A sample letter from the Wisconsin Association of School Boards gives some insight into what an investigation could look like. That includes questioning, interviewing witnesses and investigating any documents involved.

It also outlined some of the possible costs, including legal services and travel.

"I think that it's really good for us to take a step back and to clearly look at what happened, what was the reasons behind it, what was the thinking behind it," said Michelle Schaeffer, Wausau School Board President.

While some board members voiced their concerns about spending, the board voted unanimously to move forward with investigation bids.

Board members went into closed session to begin the review of Superintendent Kathleen Williams. Williams was not at the open board meeting.

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