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Will It Pass? - Looking at school district referendums: Northland PinesSubmitted: 02/07/2013
Story By Lex Gray & Kira Lynne


EAGLE RIVER - When you step into a Northland Pines school, you'll see laptops, iPads, and Chromebooks.

"I would say within five years, we may not even see a textbook in the the classroom anymore," Superintendent Mike Richie said. "It's going to be chromebooks, it's going to be ipads, and those kinds of things."

Even the schools themselves look shiny and new.

So you might ask yourself: why is this district asking taxpayers for more money?

Superintendent Mike Richie says there are a few answers to that question.

One goes all the way back to the early 90s, when the state funding formula started to change.

"That first base year to figure out what the cap would be for each district, it was actually based off the prior year. So any district in the state that was very frugal or did a great job with their tax levy was actually punished for future years," Richie said.

And Pines is frugal. The district stretched their last three year referendum to four years.

And this time, they're asking for $2.7 million per year instead of $2.9 million.

But there are still budget issues they can't get around.

Transportation costs are a huge issue here. While other districts are more compact, Northland Pines covers a large area, and that's why they spend $1.3 million per year just getting kids to and from school.

Any sympathy from the state? Not here.

"That is the problem I have with the funding formula," Richie said. "They don't take into account the makeup of the district and the difference that one district may have over another district."

And that's why Northland Pines is asking YOU to see the differenceÖand make sure they can stay ahead of the curve.

Technology director Scott Foster says it's not just about having the latest tech toys. Next year, the district may add Chinese language classes.

"We really emphasize providing a 21st century education for our students and connecting them to the global society. And with technology, we're allowed to do that," Foster said.

But even closer to home, technology matters.

"If a community member reflects on their job now even compared to five years ago... there isn't a job out there that hasn't been impacted by technology in any way," Foster said.

And in the long run, technology should save time. And time saves money.

It always comes across as expensive. But really, if you're enacting technology properly, you should be doing it do gain efficiencies in our instruction or the way we do our jobs here as educators.

Pines hosted informational meetings in January and posted slideshows, videos and flyers online. It's a lot of information. But what Richie really wants you to remember?

"This referendum is about what makes this school district a quality school district," Richie said.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

LINCOLN COUNTY - A Wausau man needed to go to the hospital after an ATV crash in Lincoln County.

Deputies and firefighters were called to the Town of Harrison Saturday afternoon about 1:15.

A 40-year-old Wausau man had been hurt in an ATV crash on County Highway B near Ski Hill Road.

The man was brought to Saint Mary's Hospital in Rhinelander, where he was listed in good condition as of Sunday night.

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LAC DU FLAMBEAU - Sunday morning, Lac du Flambeau welcomed a new event to the community.

The first Carry the Torch 5K and kids' run took place at the Lake of the Torches Casino.

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LAWRENCE - A 36-year-old Oneida man has died after police say he drove his car the wrong way on Interstate 41 and crashed into two other vehicles near the town of Lawrence.

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MARATHON COUNTY - One man has died and three others are seriously hurt after a two-car crash in Marathon County late Sunday afternoon.

According to the Marathon County Sheriff's Office, police got a call about a crash at the intersection of County Highway N and County Highway Y in the Town of Norrie.

Crews took the three hurt people to Aspirus Wausau Hospital.

Police will not yet release the names.

The accident reconstruction team will investigate.

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MILWAUKEE - A New Jersey woman who was hit by a baseball during batting practice before a Brewers game in 2014 has now sued the team.

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MADISON - The state of Wisconsin paid an estimated $9.7 million in one-time bonuses or various pay increases for state workers in fiscal year 2016.

An analysis by the Wisconsin State Journal found the payments went to 4,638 workers, roughly 15 percent of the state's workforce.

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MCNAUGHTON - After almost seven hours of fighting fire Saturday night, a fire chief calls a house just north of Rhinelander likely a total loss.

Newbold Fire Chief Mark Fetzer said crews got the call around 10:30 p.m. Saturday about a house filling with smoke on Spider Lake Road.

Newbold and Pine Lake Fire Departments were the first to arrive.

According to the Pine Lake Fire Rescue Facebook page, the fire was on the second floor. Firefighters first went in the house to try to put out the fire but had to put it out from the outside because the roof started falling in.  

Fetzer called it a "persistent" and "stubborn" fire because the house had several layers to its roof. 

Crews called in mutual aid from several surrounding fire departments including Crescent, Pelican, Nokomis, Rhinelander , Lake Tomahawk, Minocqua, Woodruff, Little Rice and Cassian. Crews used the Pelican Fire Department ladder truck to help get the fire out. 

Fetzer said no one was hurt, but according to the Pine Lake Fire Rescue Facebook page, two firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion on scene. 

Fetzer said Newbold Fire will investigate the cause of the fire, and as of right now it does not appear to be suspicious.




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