By JOE VANDELAARSCHOT Daily News
RICHFIELD — The Friess Lake School Board agreed Tuesday night to hire NEOLA of Wisconsin to develop and update all school district policies and guidelines and to post them to the district’s website.
The board heard a presentation from Richard Zimman, an educational consultant with the company. During his presentation, Zimman explained the laws and regulations for schools and dealing with employee issues change so much that it is nearly impossible for school districts to keep their policies and guidelines up to date and the district protected from possible related legal action.
Zimman said the service would cost the district a one-time charge in the first year of $8,550 for creating a new district policy book with the necessary legal changes and another one-time charge of $8,550 in the contract’s second year to create a book with all of the district’s administrative guidelines. The district would also pay $4,900 as a fee for putting all of the new information on the district’s website, $550 a year to maintain that information on the website, and an annual charge of $2,200 as a subscription fee to pay for annual changes and updates in policies and guidelines.
Board members agreed keeping district policies and guidelines up to date is almost a full-time job and that Administrator John Engstrom also serves as school principal, making it difficult to devote the time needed to keep policies and guidelines current.
“You can look at it as an insurance policy,” Engstrom said. “It will protect the resources of the district and the payback is that all the district’s policies are right and the district is protected.”
Wolff said he was shocked by the cost but realizes a legal case would be more costly. Board members emphasized they believe all the district’s policies and guidelines are correct and legal, but want to make sure there are no loop holes.
“Doing this is like getting the gift that keeps on giving,” Engstrom said. “We are trying our best to do this ourselves, but one hole can create a big problem.”