Merrill Area Public Schools has found itself in the position of filling another key position in the Central Office administrative team when the Board of Education voted Monday night to accept the resignation of Finance Director Louise Fischer, effective Jan. 2, 2012.
In her letter of resignation to the board, Fischer said she had accepted the finance position at Lakeland Union High School. She has been with MAPS for 6 1/2 years.
The search for a replacement started Tuesday with the positing of the job listing on online job sites used by education professionals. Because Fischer’s position is involved in key areas of the administration, Interim Superintendent Bruce Anderson recommended that a replacement be found quickly.
When asked if the hiring of a replacement finance director could be held off until the end of the school year, Anderson said that would leave the administration and board without proper financial leadership while putting together the budget for the 2012-13 school year.
“You’d have two key administrators – the superintendent and finance director – not knowing what was going to be presented at the annual meeting three weeks later,” Anderson said. “I really think this position needs to be filled quickly, if a qualified applicant is out there.”
The board will set up a committee made up of administrators and less than a quorum of board members to conduct the search for a new finance director. Although the final process won’t be decided until the December 7 board meeting, Anderson recommended that this committee conduct the interviews of the finalists and make a recommendation to the full board, which would then make the final decision.
Because there are certain tasks that are time sensitive for the month of January, including preparing W2 and other tax forms that must be sent to employees by the end of the month, Anderson said Fischer had agreed to help on a part time basis until her replacement is hired.
In her letter of resignation, Fischer eluded to the challenges the board and administration will face the rest of the school year and moving forward.
“Every member is very aware of the involvement it takes to be a critical and objective board member,” Fischer wrote. “In your tenure as school board members, you have realized the information you are privy to is by far more comprehensive than any district resident is aware. As a board member you will realize you cannot always make the politically popular or easy decision, but the decision that is right for the district as a whole.”
She also said that it was her opinion that the funding of education in Wisconsin wasn’t going to get any better soon, and she hopes the board can continue to make the long-term decisions needed to keep the district moving forward.