UPDATE Another meeting in Wausau music probe - WFXS, MyFoxWausau - News and Weather for Wausau, WI

UPDATE Another meeting in Wausau music probe

Posted:
WAUSAU (WAOW) - The Wausau School Board has set another meeting behind closed doors dealing with the investigation into the firestorm that erupted over the singing of religious-themed Christmas music by a high school choir.

The board set a special meeting for Monday at 5 p.m. and requested a closed session to review the "legal liability and procedural advice of the board's attorney relating to release of the report," according to an agenda released Wednesday.

The board went behind closed doors Monday to review the 18-page report and decided to seek its attorney's advice before making it public.

In a statement Tuesday, President Michelle Schaefer said the report contains information about the actions of public employees and they have the right to challenge the contents and possibly object to its release.

The board agreed to pay up to $4,000 to a Wausau attorney to investigate the controversy.

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The release of an independent investigation into the Wausau School District music controversy is being delayed, the school board president said in a statement late Tuesday afternoon.

School Board leaders say the 18-page report contains “information about the actions of identifiable public employees.” They say the employees identified can challenge the contents of the report and possibly object to its release.

Wausau School Board President Michelle Schaefer said the board plans to meet soon to talk about how to move forward.

The high-profile firestorm erupted after the director of an elite choir of singers at Wausau West High School said a new policy sought to limit religious-themed Christmas songs that his choir could sing.

He said he would disband the group.

The school district said a review of holiday music was prompted by the threat of a lawsuit and the choir could sing a variety of songs.

After hundreds of people attended a meeting mostly to support using traditional and sacred songs in the concerts, the school board decided to go back to the previous way of reviewing concert songs and the Master Singers began practicing again.

The school board ordered the investigation to find out how the firestorm, which elicited comments from one-time vice presidential candidate Sara Palin, got out of hand just weeks before Christmas.


The report was presented to the board during a closed session Monday night. The board remained in closed session for nearly two hours.

When the board returned to open session, Schaefer said the school district attorney needed to review the report before it would be released to the public.

The district's superintendent, Kathleen Williams, was criticized for her handling of the music controversy. She was absent from the meeting Monday. Newsline 9 was told she was ill.

School Board Vice President Lance Trollop said there was no discussion regarding disciplinary action during the closed session meeting.

Newsline 9 will continue to follow this story as it develops.

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