Loading
Search
NEWS STORIES

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


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

LANSING, MI - Michigan lawmakers may re-enact a wolf-hunting law declared unconstitutional by the state appeals court.

The Republican-led Senate voted 27-10 along party lines Thursday to define wolves as a game species and to authorize the state to designate game. The bill goes to the House.

+ Read More

Play Video

LAONA - For the first time in his life, Melvin Casiano got to walk across a graduation stage.

"I feel nervous at the same time, but proud that I made it this far," said 19-year-old Casiano.

Casiano is one of 16 students that graduated from Blackwell Job Corps' first structural firefighting course.

It's an accomplishment that he never thought was possible.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Cupcakes and donuts might sound like a recipe for packing on some pounds, but a Rhinelander man is blazing his way through social media by showing off healthy spins on those tasty treats.

The man behind the apron is Dustin Chronister, known as "The Flexible Baker" on the social media platform, Instagram.

Chronister has over 30,000 followers from all over the world.

Chronister posts photos of his healthy treats, then the likes and followers flood in.

"It is super humbling because I never expected it, but it's refreshing," said Chronister.

Chronister is a competitive weight lifter.

To maintain a certain weight, he knew he couldn't eat his favorite traditional desserts.

Chronister decided to create recipes using alternative ingredients like adding protein and sugar substitutes.

Many of his recipes are less than 100 calories.

"I had to figure how to enjoy those sweets and maintain that healthy lifestyle. Then this was born. I just wanted to have my cake and eat it too, and kept it rolling after that," said Chronister.

Chronister recently wrote a second e-book with all his healthy recipes, so he continues to post pictures on Instagram every day.

He reminds people to be "flexible" and find balance in their diets.

+ Read More

Play Video

WAUSAU - Wausau police officers believe they're pretty good at caching criminals. But they say they're not so good at helping victims suffering from mental trauma. 

To try to fix that, the Wausau Police Department will hire a mental health therapist to serve in the Victim Resource unit. 

+ Read More

COLUMBUS, OH - Former astronaut and U.S. Sen. John Glenn has died in Ohio. He was 95.

Glenn became a national hero in 1962 when he became the first American to orbit the Earth.

Hank Wilson with the John Glenn School of Public Affairs says Glenn died Thursday afternoon at the James Cancer Hospital in Columbus.

+ Read More

Play Video

LINCOLN COUNTY - We can add one more northern Wisconsin county to the list of those who finished the recount.

Lincoln County finished up Wednesday afternoon, and it didn't see much change.

Lincoln County Clerk Chris Marlowe said the totals fluctuated a bit within each town, but county-wide each presidential candidate gained onevote.

Marlowe said although it was tedious,he learned a lot.

"You know when we do our training and discuss all these things it's always, we always reference the possibility of a count, a recount," Marlowe said. "And it's one thing referencing a recount and it's another thing actually doing the recount."

Lincoln County re-counted all the votes by hand. There were 16 volunteers, and they went through close to 15,000 votes.

The statewide recount cost Jill Stein about $3.5 million.

"You know, at the end of the day was it worth the money, I don't think so, but you know, we gained experience," Marlowe said.

The deadline to finish the recount is Dec. 12. 

+ Read More

Play Video

MERRILL - As shoppers rush down aisles carrying Christmas lists, Merrill firefighters carry Christmas tags.

"We're just finishing up, wrapping up some loose ends," firefighter Jon Leiskau said.

Leiskau, his chief, and battalion chief spent several hours this week hunting the shelves at the Merrill Walmart, looking to make Christmas a little more special for hundreds of kids.

"Make sure we have everyone taken care of," Leiskau said.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 





Click Here