Loading
Search
NEWS STORIES

Will It Pass? Rhinelander Referendum DecisionSubmitted: 02/06/2013
Story By Lex Gray & Kira Lynne

Will It Pass? Rhinelander Referendum Decision
RHINELANDER - No one wants to pay higher taxes.

But Rhinelander, Northland Pines, and Three Lakes school districts are asking you for more money.

So we asked them what's at stake.

Tonight, Newswatch 12's Lex Gray and Kira Lynne take a look at the School District of Rhinelander.

"When I look back to moving to this area, one of the reasons was [my husband] was very confident in the school system," says Lori Haug.

Lori and her husband Tony Haug moved to Rhinelander from Eau Claire 14 years ago.

"At the time when we moved here, I felt it was a very good school district, a good place to raise kids," Tony says.

That's proven to be true for their three children.

"I think our decision to move here was a great one," Lori says. "The depth of the curriculum is something that my girls are really enjoying. We have both of them in Advanced Placement classes. They'll be more than prepared to go to university if they choose."

But the Haugs also have a son in seventh grade.

By the time he gets to high school, AP courses, foreign languages, and other electives could be gone.

"The thought of losing that is scary to us," Lori says.

Scary, but a definite possibility.

The School District of Rhinelander is asking taxpayers for another $4 million per year through 2016.

That means each year, you'd pay $105 more than you do now per $100,000 in property value.

The odds are stacked against the district.

It's gone to referendum 24 times since 1996. Fifteen of the 24 have failed.

Lori hopes this time is different.

"It's time to bury all the distrust before and move forward for the sake of the community."

The effects of a failed referendum go beyond classroom doors.

"The students lose, future students lose, the town loses," Tony says. "When your school system is going negative, people will relocate, businesses will not come here, current businesses will question being here, and growth will go slow."

Growth is important to Tony. He's the president of ABX, a Rhinelander manufacturing company.

"Having a strong school system is important for all businesses that are currently here and all future businesses," he said.

But if this referendum fails, Rhinelander won't have a strong school system.

The board started cutting back in 2002. They've laid off teachers, trimmed down activities and sports, closed a building, and cut back on busing.

This time, the district cuts would go even deeper.

Charter schools and some sports and activities would go.

But most disturbing for the Haugs - elective classes would also go.

"My oldest daughter now is looking into colleges" Tony says. "So when you talk about the electives and courses being cut that would prevent her from getting into one of the universities of Wisconsin, that's a huge concern."

It's a concern big enough to talk about moving.

"If our kids don't have the ability to get into universities, going to Rhinelander High School, I think you have to reevaluate where you're living," Tony says.

"I think we would have to consider it," Lori says. "Would we want to? Absolutely not."

But the Haugs hope it won't come to that.

"I believe most people understand that we have to maintain the school districts and the levels," Tony says. "I believe that it will be passed and it needs to be passed and it's the right thing to do. We want to fight for our town and the school district."

"We're at the cusp of something very important here," Lori says. "I think for the sake of our community and our future, it's very important to support it and move forward in a really positive matter."

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS

Play Video

MINOCQUA - After months of construction, the Minocqua Fire Department could show off it's new home. The department held an open house for its new station Monday night.

The firehouse sits next to Minocqua's Chamber of Commerce building off highway 51. Chief Andy Petrowski says the biggest difference in the new building is how much more space they have in the new location.

+ Read More

RHINELANDER - Butterfinger, Black Forest, and Snickerdoodle flavors fill the cases at the newest bakery in Rhinelander.

Twin sisters Brooke Strong and Carmen Stamper own BC Cakes & More.

They just opened a second location on Brown Street a couple of weeks ago, but the ladies began re-inventing

flavors a few years ago at their Crandon location.

"Being able to try new things all the time with the flavors and getting suggestions from people," says Carmen Stamper.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - You don't get to choose your mayor every year. Rhinelander's Dick Johns has been mayor for more than a decade. But this spring someone will replace him.

Alex Young, Chris Frederickson, and Scott Counter will be running in the general election in April.

Alex Young would like to think he's learned a thing or two about running a city.

"I recall being somewhat overwhelmed when I first got elected," said Young.

Young has served on Rhinelander's City Council for 13 years, while working as a computer software engineer. 

+ Read More

Play Video

OSHKOSH - On Sunday night, police in Oshkosh ended what became a statewide search for a Northwoods homicide suspect.

The Oshkosh Police Department arrested 19-year-old James Lussier, the last of the five men accused of killing Wayne Valliere Jr. near Mercer and hiding his body. Earlier this month, Lussier tried to turn himself in, but was let go on an officer's error in Vilas County.

In a press release, the Oshkosh Police Department said it made the arrest at about 7:30 p.m. Lussier is currently in the Winnebago County Jail.

+ Read More

RHINELANDER - Nicolet College doesn't ever want a student to choose between buying a textbook or paying the bills.

But when one textbook can cost up to $300, it's a choice many students face. 

"We don't want their grades to suffer. We don't want them to have to make that choice [between] do we take a 'C' or do we get an 'A'? Because we're going to have the materials first day of class now because they're free. They're right there," said Open Education and Instructional Resources manager Cindy Domaika. 

Nicolet College is now offering 22 textbook-free courses. 

+ Read More

EAGLE RIVER - You probably did something wrong if you ended up snowmobiling with police.

But Monday, dozens of riders invited DNR wardens and police to ride with them for a little fun and safety advice.

"I'm living in the Northwoods, this is living in my paradise," said Sno-Eagles Snowmobile Club President Howard Wolf.

Wolf was pleased to share "his paradise" with dozens of people Monday.

"God, I just feel so happy," said Wolf.


+ Read More

PHILLIPS - Treating roads becomes more of a challenge when ice starts to build up on them.

Price County Highway Commissioner Don Grande tried to get a jump on the weather.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 





Click Here