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NEWS STORIES

Will It Pass? Submitted: 02/05/2013
Story By Lex Gray & Kira Lynne

Will It Pass?
THREE LAKES - Educating our children costs money.

But like many of us in this economy, school districts are struggling financially.

Add to that an aging population, declining enrollment, and less money from the state.

It's a tough equation - that's why Rhinelander, Three Lakes and Northland Pines school districts are asking taxpayers for more money.

All three districts go to a referendum vote on February 19.

Newswatch 12's Lex Gray and Kira Lynne went to each district to find out why they need the money and why you need to vote.

Since 1978, Steve Schacht has been teaching and counseling Three Lakes students.

He's seen a lot of changes. Expectations have changed.

"When I was a youngster, high school diploma was everything you needed," Schacht said. "That's not the case anymore."

Politics have changed.

"The change in Madison, the change with Act 10, has not exactly helped people's perception on teachers and education," he said.

The funding formula has changed, too.

At this point, we're penalized because we have a lot of expensive homes on the lake," Schacht said. "Yet our taxpayers are not the highest paid in the area."

But the one constant? Three Lakes pride.

"I think the message that we like to tell our students is, when you leave Three Lakes, you have the ability to do anything you want."

But it seems that's part of the problem people leave Three Lakes and they don't come back. Enrollment in the district has been sliding since 1998.

Declining enrollment doesn't mean a declining education. ACT scores have gone up here.

In fact, Three Lakes has the highest ACT scores in our area.

But those ACT scores don't get the district any more money.

Three Lakes is headed to its fourth referendum in ten years.

"Our community has given our kids the best gift they can, which is a good, solid education," Schacht said. "I trust that they'll do the right thing this year and also pass the referendum."

The odds are in the district's favor. The last vote passed by 74 percent.

The district is telling homeowners a "Yes" vote will cost $58 per year for a $100,000 home.

But a "no" vote could cost even more.

"If we can't fund education, the Three Lakes School District might cease to exist," Schacht said.

Three Lakes could be absorbed by either Rhinelander or Northland Pines both at a higher cost than staying independent.

No matter what, taxes will go up.

"It's a tough sell. No one would like to see their taxes go up, no one wants to pay any taxes," Schacht said. "But if you have to pay taxes, the most important one in my mind is education."

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 IN OTHER NEWS

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Swimmers will launch from Torpy Park for the Minocqua Island Swim Challenge.

The race is one mile long, but people can choose to swim just 400 meters, too.

The water temperature will be about 65 degrees during the race.

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The unusual weather this spring may affect fishing across the Northwoods.

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In a span of six days, at least 17 vehicles were either keyed, had windows bashed in or had stuff stolen from them.

"Some weirdo doings some weirdo stuff that's how I look at it," said Jon Radtke who lives in the neighborhood where items were stolen from a handful of unlocked cars."It's kind of (strange) for this area. We really don't have a lot of problems in the area."

Last Friday, two vehicles parked at the East High Apartments on Street and Adams Street and three more just down the street were broken into.

"We're working on who [is doing] this," said Wausau Police Officer Brian Burkhardt.

He says a few days after the break-ins around 7th Street; he received calls of 12 cars being vandalized, nothing stolen just vandalized.

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 06/22/2018

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:


The unusual weather this spring could have an effect on how many fish you might catch this season. We talk to a local bait shop owner about the connection between the weather and the number of catchable fish that are in the water.

And we'll take you to a recycling event and tell you how you can help a local homeless shelter by bringing in old appliances.


We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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