Wausau School District

School board contemplates next steps following merger ending 

Wausau School District

With the Wausau East/West merger shelved, the Wausau School Board is now facing a number of questions around what exactly happens next. 

The board on Nov. 27 wrestled with many questions now facing the district as the board a last month killed the idea of merging East and West high schools, creating a junior high and bumping up fifth graders to middle school. 

Chief among those issues is what, exactly, happens to the Montessori and newly formed Red Granite Charter School. Both were to be given new spaces under the merger plan — Montessori would have gone in Lincoln Elementary and Red Granite into classrooms at Hewitt-Texas Elementary. Red Granite, a new outdoors-themed charter school modeled similarly to the Tomorrow River school, was to begin in fall of 2024. 

Those spaces are now up in the air. 

The board also discussed issues like how to create parity between class offerings, and whether to make any changes to the 4k structure. 

But perhaps the biggest question: Board Member Pat McKee’s plan called for the district to focus on the elementary issues – but how will the board handle that going forward? Superintendent Keith Hilts says a number of school districts around the state are currently in the process of handling consolidation, and he says he plans to reach out to find out more about their process. 

That came after McKee suggested that it didn’t make sense to hire a consultant until the board decided exactly what its goal are, with metrics. Board Member Lance Trollop said the elementary schools committee for the former merger plan identified it as improving services to students and improving working conditions for staff, while operating more efficiently – that essentially means fewer buildings.