MADISON - A new study shows the contentious cuts to teachers' benefits pushed by Governor Scott Walker last year offset about two-thirds of the reductions to school revenue.
The report by the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance shows school districts across Wisconsin collectively cut spending on health and pension benefits by about $287 million in the 2011-2012 academic year as the result of cuts to public worker benefits and limits on collective bargaining.
The alliance found the benefit cuts offset about 64 percent of the $451 million decrease in revenue for school districts that was imposed to help balance the budget passed by Republican lawmakers last year.
The analysis used data from the more than 420 Wisconsin school districts collected by the state Department of Public Instruction.
(Copyright 2012 Associated Press - All Rights Reserved)
LAND O' LAKES - Kids in Land O' Lakes will play cartoon characters discussing their life during a play Friday. Organizers hope this helps them to show their artistic side.
You can expect to hear great sounds at Land O' Lakes Elementary School Friday. Kids from ages 6 to 14 have been learning about the art of performance this summer. They'll play cartoon characters discussing their life on a talk show.
"It's been really amazing to come to the theatre program the last two years. The first year we probably had 60, 70 people. Last year we had 100 people come to the recital," said Land O Lakes Area Artisans treasurer Lynn Richie.
ANTIGO - Just a few months ago, the Moore Family was looking for a new affordable home. They filled out paperwork with the local Habitat for Humanity chapter in Langlade County and were told yes.
"We look for a number of things; we look for an identified need, and the need for housing if the current housing is not serving the family's needs," said Langlade Habitat for Humanity President Paul Grinde.
For the home to become theirs, the Moore's must put in 500 sweat-equity hours divided between themselves and volunteers. Leaders say it doesn't matter what set of skills you have, all you need to do is donate a little bit of your time.
NORTHWOODS - It seems more all-natural and specialty food stores are popping up around the Northwoods. Antigo and Three Lakes welcomed new all-natural and specialty food stores this year. And last week, Eagle River welcomed one, as well.
"We were painstaking about finding things that you cannot find at other shops here in the Eagle River area," said Homeward Bound Specialty Foods owner Patti Katz Black. She and her husband, Dave, opened their Eagle River store last week.
CRANDON - The case against an 18-year-old Laona man will go ahead after a Forest County judge found enough evidence to move forward Wednesday.
Austin Ginter, 18, faces reckless homicide charges in Forest County after a car crash killed 15-year-old Chance Harcus. Another 16-year-old girl was also injured in the July 13th car crash on Old 8 Road west of Crandon.
New information from a preliminary hearing Wednesday shows that Ginter only had his driver's license for two weeks before the crash.
MOLE LAKE - Health workers often face different challenges on the Sokaogon Chippewa reservation in Mole Lake compared to elsewhere in the Northwoods.
"I think they're a little different. We have a (few) more challenges. Sometimes, for a lot of people, it's more crisis than prevention, or preventative services," said Tammy Queen, who works at the Sokaogon Chippewa Health Clinic. "A lot of times, they'll come in when something's bad instead of coming in before something gets really bad."
On Thursday, the tribe wanted to get people thinking about their health before problems occur.
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