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McFarland Youth Center falls $3k short in funding, seeks higher pay for a new director

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Former McFarland Youth Center Director Megan Beckler (right) accepts a donation from Tom Mooney of the McFarland Optimist Club (left) in October 2020.

The McFarland Youth Center had a nearly $3,000 hole in its 2021 budget despite receiving $15,000 in grant funds, the center’s board president Shawn Miller said during a Sept. 20 annual report to the school board.

Miller also indicated that the youth center will likely need $20,000 more in funding next year to keep up with expenses. According to Miller, that comes out to a roughly 20% increase over last year’s needs.

“What’s really driving that [increase] is... our recent new managing director Kelsi [Salm] has already turned in her resignation to move on to a different position and… in the marketplace right now, we’re just not where we need to be competitively for wages,” Miller said.

Salm’s resignation comes less than three months after she was hired in July. She replaced the youth center’s former director of five years, Megan Beckler.

Miller said he accredits the quick turnover in directors to lower than average wages.

“Kelsi ultimately decided this wasn’t a good fit for her, but I think part of that was a very narrow set of candidates that we were able to attract with what I’ll term a minimal compensation package,” he said. “What we were offering for starting wages in the $15 to $16 an hour range is really just not competitive anymore.”

He said the youth center will “need to go significantly beyond” $15 an hour to attract the right candidate for the position.

The youth center board is currently working on posting an updated job description and compensation package.

“We’re really trying to preserve and we really do appreciate everybody’s support,” Miller said.

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