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 difference…and 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.
CRANDON - Terri Burl wanted to ask more questions than make comments during Congressman Sean Duffy's town hall in Crandon on Thursday.
"Everybody's in the state of the unknown right now," Burl said.
Burl, a Republican, was thinking of her 26-year-old son in Oshkosh as she asked Duffy (R-Wausau) about health care concerns. She worries about tax penalties for her uninsured son and the GOP's lack of solid ideas to replace the Affordable Care Act.
MERRILL - The Merrill Police Department need helping finding anyone involved in several acts of vandalism that happened earlier this week.
Brian Schwartz has lived in his home on River Street in Merrill for almost 10 years. His garage, his neighbor's garage, and the public service building down the street were vandalized. Schwartz reported the vandalism to police on Monday.
Schwartz says this is the first time anyone has vandalized his property.
MADISON - The Senate judiciary committee is set to vote on four bills that would impose tougher drunken driving penalties.
The Republican proposals would create a five-year minimum prison sentence for homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle and raise the minimum incarceration period for fifth and sixth offenses from six months to 18 months.
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