School board's Harder resigns; seat will stay open until April

·2 min read

Jan. 18—EAU CLAIRE — The longest-serving member of the Eau Claire school board, Aaron Harder, has resigned, board president Tim Nordin said at a Monday board meeting.

Harder's seat was up for re-election in April, and he had filed papers saying he wouldn't run for his seat again. The board recently received a letter of resignation from Harder, Nordin said. He noted that Harder said he needed time to pursue personal matters.

Harder was the board's treasurer and is a local business owner. He joined the board in 2016.

Other members of the board thanked Harder for his tenure.

"I think your effectiveness is rooted in a deep sense of caring, and you always have a sense of, 'What's the right thing to do?'" said board vice president Lori Bica to Harder, who attended the meeting remotely.

After a resignation, the school board traditionally welcomes applications and then votes to select a new member, but given that Harder's resignation is just three months from the April election, Nordin said Harder's seat will stay open until then.

"Our understanding and the recommendation from legal counsel was to hold the seat open for the election in April," Nordin said.

Nordin and one other incumbent on the board, Marquell Johnson, have filed to run again. In total, seven candidates have filed to run for the three open seats on the board this spring.

A primary for the school board race will be held Feb. 15. The election is April 5.

In other school district news:

—The board on Monday also discussed recent trends in math scores among Eau Claire students. See Wednesday's Leader-Telegram for more details.

—The board voted to close some schools and programs to open-enrollment students, based on staffing limits. Twenty pre-K community sites, 14 elementary schools, five middle schools and four high schools will be available to open-enrolled students, and the Prairie Ridge Early Learning Site, special education cluster programs, Arctic Zone and 18- to 21-year-old special education transition programs won't admit open-enrolled students. The district closes some sites to open-enrolled students every year.

—Eau Claire schools superintendent Mike Johnson and the board discussed the district's progress on meeting financial planning and budgeting benchmarks.

—No members of the public spoke during the public comment portion of Monday's meeting.