Oconto Falls School district social worker Sharon Stodola-Eslien failed in her bid Monday night to get the school board to reverse a decision to eliminate her position. Media Trackers previously reported that the Oconto Falls School district told media that they eliminated Stodola-Eslien’s position for budgetary reasons, however Stodola-Eslien discovered the district also gave several administrators pay increases for the current school year, one as high as 17%. The increases totaled $36,000, compared with the $23,000 her position costs the district.
Stodola-Eslien has been working as a part-time social worker with the Oconto Falls School district since 2014. In light of the district’s decision to eliminate her position at the school numerous students, parents, and staff sent letters expressing their support of Stodola-Eslien:
“I plead with you to reconsider your decision and possibly eliminate some other area that will not have such a huge impact on the students and the parents of those children she may have helped.”
“Mrs. Stodola is the back bone of our school’s sanity. She works with us as students in a way most can’t. She teaches us to have hope, to look at all things from all sides, and most important that there is life after high school.”
“I believe if you eliminate this position, not only will you lose an incredible asset, our children will lose someone they can trust. Someone that our children confide in.”
“Please let her stay, she helps so much in my life.”
“I don’t know where I would be without her. I would probably be dead.”
“She needs to stay to help these kids because nobody else does.”
Stodola-Eslien met with the school board in a closed session on Monday night to make her case against the decision to eliminate her position. Despite public support and evidence of pay raises to administrators that outweighed her own salary, the board voted 5-1 not to renew her position.