RHINELANDER - Parents, students, teachers and community members packed into the Rhinelander High School auditorium tonight.
They pleaded with the school board to save their charter schools, electives, and teaching jobs.
The board is considering massive cuts to make up for a $3 million budget gap.
Tonight, they voted unanimously in favor of asking voters to support a referendum, instead of making those cuts.
If the referendum fails, the board would likely shut down two charter schools, cut some extracurricular activities and all elective courses, and lay off eight full-time teachers.
Chad Rich has four kids in the district. They're at the high school, middle school, AND both charter schools.
He left the meeting tonight in support of a referendum.
"I'm one that wants to make sure we're spending wisely. I thought there was a lot of waste in the district, and looking at our school district versus other school districts and how much they are spending -- we do things for less," he said. "So it's not a matter of wasting money, it's a matter of us needing more revenue."
Andrea Walker has been at the charter schools since fourth grade.
She's now a senior, and said her experience wouldn't have been the same without project-based learning and a close-knit learning environment.
"They are the best teachers," she said. "They care about us succeeding and excelling in life."
Superintendent Dr. Roger Erdahl said he believes the referendum has a good chance of passing.
RHINELANDER - The Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce group held a seminar at Nicolet College in Rhinelander Tuesday, to plan how to make Wisconsin more attractive to skilled workers and manufacturing businesses.
WMC's president believes the shortage in younger people in the industry has to do with two big misconceptions about manufacturing.
"The younger kids, as do their parents, have a perception on what manufacturing looks like and it's about 40 years out of date. If you're in an advanced manufacturing facility now, it's clean, it's high-tech, the engineers and technicians are working together," said Jim Morgan."We have a perception problem. I think we still have a definition of success that's says unless you have a four-year degree, you're not successful."
Morgan says groups like WMC work to change that perception. He believes workers with a two-year degree are just as successful in the industry.
So far, WMC held seminars at nine other technical colleges. For Rhinelander, more manufacturers could mean more economic independence.
"The Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce is looking to see how it can help and partner with local manufacturers to make the Rhinelander area a more favorable place for them to locate their businesses, as well as to attract and retain skilled workers to make those businesses successful," said Dana DeMet, Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce director.
Over the next six months, WMC will continue to look for ways to attract more workers and businesses to the state.
In December, it hopes to have 1000 representatives for a meeting in Milwaukee focusing on how manufacturing will benefit the state.
WMC also works with the University of Wisconsin system and the Wisconsin Technical Colleges.
LAC DU FLAMBEAU - Ruby's pantry opened their doors Tuesday in Lac du Flambeau. This is the first time the Ruby's pantry has set up shop there. They decided to come to Lac du Flambeau because of the good turnout in Rhinelander. The food pantry asks that people give a $20 donation.
“It's not your typical food pantry,” says Gloria Cobb, Ruby's Pantry Lac du Flambeau Lead Coordinator. “This is an opportunity to give people dignity, to serve with dignity, and it's a donation base.”
“I mean look at the hustle and bustle going on we've got the community coming together not only Lac du Flambeau but the surrounding community coming together to meet a very basic need and that's to help with hunger,” says Cobb.
The pantry offered items like strawberries, cake mix, and toilet paper. More than 400 people were expected to show up.
“A participant will go through the line with a laundry basket and or box and they will be offered items,” says Cobb. “They can refuse them however we will encourage them to take the item because somebody else that they may know may have a need.”
“They get a certain amount of each item and they go through the line like an assembly line,” says Cobb.
The pantry had more than 21,000 pounds of food to give away.
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