January 2021



As I write this month’s newsletter article, I am thrilled to see some sunshine, albeit weak, starting to come through outside my window. I absolutely LOVE the snow and winter activities AND also miss seeing the sun more during these months. Both feelings can be happening at the same time. That is called a polarity. Similar to this current situation we are in with balancing the desire to keep staff and students safe while also returning them all to school at some point, right? I believe we all feel this tug toward both directions of the “pole” and that doesn’t make one end right or one end wrong.

I appreciate the work you are all doing to serve our students as we keep moving forward with returning students back to in-person learning! At the elementary level, the number of students shifting back to in-person learning is significant and the changes that level is managing without missing a beat is impressive. It is a testament to our collaboration and teamwork ability across the District. I believe it also shows that most of you (if not all) took some time over the Winter Break to refuel as I wrote about last month. Thank you all…for everything!


We have started to receive a few inquiries about vaccination status for COVID-19. I am actively working with the Marathon County Health Department and Aspirus to plan for this process for our staff. I have already communicated to them the total number of staff that we have in the District and I have predicted that about 80% of our staff will opt to receive the vaccination when it is offered. I may or may not be right about that estimate, but I selected that based on the fact that our flu shot participation this year went from around 300 or so to over 1,000 vaccinations this year. Impressive!

As soon as we receive word that the vaccinations are available for the staff in the District, I will share information with everyone about the times/locations that the vaccinations will be available. I am hoping to bring them to us in the buildings, but my focus will be on having them available the quickest way possible in the most efficient distribution method. Some have asked if we will be prioritizing staff access in any way. I don’t believe we have a good way to do this and I am optimistic that we will get enough for everyone at the same time. If that doesn’t happen, I will work with the MCHD and Aspirus to ensure we roll it out based on their recommendations. Watch for more communication coming on this soon!


I recently sent out an email to everyone with reminders of the Wellness Program deadlines. If you still have a spouse that hasn’t signed up, there is still time to do so! You will need to call the HC360 Customer Service number to get their account activated though because we didn’t have their last 4 digits of their SS# to give them for the account verification. Once they have that, you should be all set.

Another clarification related to spouses is the reward for participation. As you likely recall, as an employee you can receive a $300 premium credit and a $100 cash stipend if you do all components including earning at least 100 points. Your spouse completing their requirements allows you to “double your money" because they can receive this same amount of benefit. If you complete the process and they do not, you would just receive your portion of the credit and stipend.

Please review my past email on this topic for more information.


As a friendly reminder, if you have an issue connected in any way potentially to COVID-19, please email as soon as possible. We do monitor and respond to this email throughout the weekends so please do not wait until Sunday to send something to us if you are impacted on the weekend.

We have employed Mike Fischer, a retired teacher, to assist us with some of our close contact tracing and tracking of COVID situations. As a result of these changes, using the one email account will allow for us to process contacts more efficiently and timely without duplicated efforts. Tabatha Gundrum, Tammy Bents, and Mike Fischer will be working from the COVID email account for processing issues as quickly as possible.


People Connect is back! What is People Connect? It's an opportunity to ask any questions you have about benefits, teacher compensation, sick leave allocation, and much more.

To sign up for a virtual check in visit


Contribution changes to a 403(B) or 457(B) may be made three times a year. The next deadline is this month. If you would like to make any changes, Salary Reduction Agreements (SRA) need to be received in the Payroll office by 4:00 pm January 29, 2020 and will be effective the first payroll in February. The SRA form may be found on the District website.

Wisconsin Retirement System rates remain stable for 2021 continuing at 6.75% employee contribution and 6.75% employer contribution.

W-2 Forms will be delivered to schools by January 29.

When Will I Receive My ETF Statement of Benefits?

The Department of Employee Trust Funds will begin distributing employees’ January 1, 2021 Wisconsin Retirement System Annual Statement of Benefits in April, after 2020 account data reconciliation processes have been completed.

The annual statement is a summary of an employee's year-end WRS retirement account information, including the effective rate of interest applied to the account. Employees can expect their new statements by late April, either directly from their employers or mailed to their home addresses.

To learn more about the WRS Annual Statement of Benefits, watch this ETF video or visit the My Statement of Benefits web page.


Have you moved recently? Did your address change with the Marathon County Readdressing project and you haven't let HR or Payroll know? Do you have a new phone number or no longer have a landline? Now's the perfect time to check to see if your information is up to date in Skyward. It's easy to update your information through Human Resources and/or Payroll. Send a quick email or call 715-261-0520.
EAP: Peaceful Solutions Counseling

During this time of the COVID-19 virus, the District's Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is offering (Tele-Health) remote sessions to clients via cell phone, computer, or tablet. Call Peaceful Solutions Counseling 715-675-3458 to learn more.

ETF Appointment Scheduling

Scheduling a benefits counseling appointment with the Department of Employee Trust Funds just got easier! Using ETF’s secure online appointment scheduling system, WRS members can view available appointments and book with an ETF benefits specialist.


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