Flambeau School Board members held a special board meeting July 8 to discuss the current legal situation of the administrator and school board president.
Flambeau School District Administrator Erica Schley has been charged in Rusk County Circuit Court with one felony count of Misconduct/Office – Act/Inconsistent Duty and one misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct. If convicted Schley could be sentenced to a maximum of three years and nine months incarceration or $11,000 in fines or both.
Flambeau School Board President Julie Hauser has been charged with one felony count of misconduct in office – failing to perform known duty and one felony count of misconduct in officer – acting in excess of authority. If convicted, Hauser could be sentenced to a maximum of seven years incarceration or $20,000 in fines or both.
The charges stem from an incident involving Schley’s husband, Jeff Schley, who sent a threatening email in January to a teacher over the grade of his child. Following the incident, two school board members requested to hold a special meeting, Hauser did not schedule a special meeting to discuss the incident.
On July 8 Flambeau School District legal counsel Tony Renning opened the school board meeting by saying, “the ongoing investigation against the school board president and district administrator is only allegations at this time.”
Renning reiterated the meeting expectations and rules for discussion and added that the meetings rules are previously existing board policies and were not created solely for the meeting. Among the rules, attendees and speakers were expected to stay within a five minute time limit and avoid any personal attacks.
Two community members, former school board member Mike Schuetz and parent Laura Dutter-Nelson, spoke during the open forum.
Schuetz made an open records request to determine whether or not the school district was paying the legal fees for Schley and Hauser. Schley’s legal representative is Harry Hertel and Hauser is being represented by Renning.
Schuetz also requested to know, as part of his open records request, if the district was paying the legal fees, if it was indeed a clause in the school’s insurance policy. Scheutz said if that was not the case, he requested information on when the school board would have voted on authorizing monies to represent Hauser.
Dutter-Nelson voiced concern about the ability of the school’s leadership to be able to lead with morality and integrity in light of the present felony charges Hauser and Schley are being alleged with. “You’re just doing wrong things,” said Dutter-Nelson.
She said she was concerned about both her daughter and other students to be able to have high self-confidence and receive a quality education in light of the current situation. Dutter-Nelson said she believes students and the community should not have to be affected by these issues.
During the May regular school board meeting school board members voted Hauser to continue serving as school board president. This vote came days after felony charges for misconduct were filed against Hauser.
Dutter-Nelson spoke about the school’s declining student body and the loss of quality teachers. “You’re setting a bad example for the children,” said Dutter-Nelson.
She requested that Schley be placed on administrative leave until her court case has been settled.
A closed session on the agenda to discuss legal issues surrounding the pending cases did not receive a second motion and therefore did not take place and the meeting was adjourned.