RHINELANDER - Last week, we spent three days telling you why the Northland Pines, Three Lakes, and Rhinelander school districts are asking for more money.
The explanation is complicated, but it boils down to this: schools don't get as much aid from the state anymore, so they need to cut programs and ask for money locally.
We also told you that especially in Rhinelander, programs will be cut if the referendum fails.
But the downside if it passes? Your taxes will go up.
Today, we spoke with a taxpayer who says he supports education, but not that equation.
Michael Kuczek has paid taxes to the School District of Rhinelander since 1996.
He voted for the first referendum when he moved here, but then his property taxes rose dramatically.
"Quite frankly, I never thought I would be a person who voted against a school referendum, it almost makes me feel like a tea party crazy," he said. "I'm all for a good education but I was taxed out of one house. That's not any fun."
Kuczek thinks his property taxes will go up about $250 per year if the referendum passes.
That wouldn't make or break his budget at this point, but he says the district needs to be more responsible with their budget.
"I certainly am not looking to gut the schools. I just don't want to have to pay more taxes. I don't want the school board to spend money that they don't need to," Kuczek said. "We still want good schools, it's foolish to think we can get by with poor schools. The country lives and dies on the strength of the middle class. One of the great strengths is education. Without education, I don't think we'd have a middle class, quite frankly. It's a question of balancing the needs for education of the middle class and the ability of the middle class to pay for it."
The Rhinelander referendum election is Tuesday, February 19.
The school district posted pages of financial and referendum information on their website.
WISCONSIN - Mud, debris, and damaged property still cover parts of Northern Iron County after a storm ripped through there more than two weeks ago.
The lack of money to repair certain areas is largely keeping the rebuilding process from getting started.
That's why the Federal Emergency Management Agency came to Iron County Tuesday.
It surveyed the damage because of its severity and the extreme costs to fix.
"Really if it's beyond the scope of local jurisdiction, and even the states that respond," said FEMA External Affairs Officer Troy Christensen.
Wisconsin Emergency Management currently believes the damage caused by the mid-July storm is around $38 million across 10 counties and Bad River Reservation. Around $15 million of that happened in Iron County.
FEMA relies on local government like the ones in Iron County to help it assess damage.
"They have sights selected so they will be showing us a lot of these sights." Said Christensen.
Those sights included multiple towns, Saxon Harbor, and crumbled highways.
This week Iron County gave its damage estimates to FEMA.
RHINELANDER - Building a robot may seem like a pretty lofty summer camp goal, but teens in the Northwoods love the technological challenge.
It's all part of a summer camp that's heavy on science and social interaction.
13-year-old Sean Timm says the eight day robotics camp at Nicolet College mixed the best of both worlds.
"I like technology a lot more than I do outside stuff," Timm said. "It's kind of nice to have technology like drones to bring me outside. It's really fun."
Camp Instructor, Mike Wojtusik has many years of experience as a technology education teacher and robotics advisor. He wants kids to see the importance in learning these skills.
"The kids are getting experience from a mechanical engineering side, electrical engineering side, design, prototyping," said Wojtusik. "We try and cover as much as we can about the whole entire system."
Learning about robotics isn't the only thing these students do. Some of them are also exercising skills they'll need in the future.
"I think it's a great experience for them to understand what really goes on in the real world as far as a career," Wojtusik said.
Certain careers that often require teamwork.
"Challenging part is working with a team because you don't always agree on the same thing," said 12-year-old Louis Malais. "When you build a robot you do the most teamwork than I think in any other job."
As their final project, students design and build their own version of a remote control robot.
They are required to work in teams to sketch a vision, make prototypes and design a working model with aluminum.
"It's not just you know operating a piece of machinery, it's learning how that machinery is put together," Wojtusik said.
Students are piecing together machines and building future careers at the same time.
"If I were to get an opportunity to do something like this in the future, I would definitely take it," Timm said.
Throughout the course of the camp, students were exposed to prototyping, brainstorming, modeling, safety and sketching.
The last day of the robotics camp is scheduled to be Thursday, July 28.
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