Wabeno School District Goes to ReferendumSubmitted: 03/26/2013
Story By Lex Gray

WABENO - In February, taxpayers voted to give three local school districts enough money to keep their programs going.

Next week, for the first time ever, Wabeno will ask their taxpayers to do the same.

The district has asked for more money for building referendums.

But up until this point, they've been able to maintain their programs by making $1 million dollars in cuts over the past 10 years.

Now, superindent Kim Odekirk says any further cuts will jeopardize the quality of education Wabeno can offer.

Mary Propson teaches her first grade class wearing a microphone. That's because she has seven special education students in her class of 17. One is hearing impaired.

Wabeno is asking taxpayers for $3.85 million dollars over the next three years. If the district doesn't get it, chances are even more students will be packed into Propson's class.

"I would lose personal contact with every student. Even 17 is a large amount of students to work with every student sufficiently," Propson said. " If it goes up more, students that are quiet and not as demanding are going to get less of my attention, and they deserve my attention like all of the other students."

You probably remember class sizes much larger than 17 kids. But Odekirk says education has changed.

"The amount of mandates and the kinds of things that we need to accomplish with kids in the classroom now are very different from what they were 25 or even 30 years ago," she said. "In order to meet the needs of all our learners, we cannot have those large class sizes."

"Education is getting harder and harder, there are more demands to meet," Propson said. "If you look back as an older adult, you'd say "I can't believe they're learning that in first grade now." We are learning a lot of things as the students grow at younger ages, and the demands of the world are greater."

Without that $3.85 million, the district faces more than just bigger class sizes. The board would look at cutting electives like music, art, and tech ed. But why should taxpayers have to pay for those extras?

"The extras are their basic education. Life isn't just reading a book," Propson said. "Sports are important, students learn life skills in sports, how to get along, how to work as a team, what to do if you lose. Because those are all learning experiences."

Odekirk says if this referendum fails, the district will hold an election again next year. If it fails again, the district would likely be shut down by the state within a year, and students would go to surrounding districts.

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


MINOCQUA - By the time most of us finish breakfast, we already start planning what to eat for lunch.

For some kids all around the world, that next meal sometimes never comes.

The Food for Kidz Minocqua committee will lend a helping hand to change that Saturday morning.

Lakeland Union High School's common area will transform into a full-blown assembly line.

Food for Kidz volunteers will pour and pack ingredients into plastic bags.

The goal is 175,000 packed meals.

Food for Kidz needs more volunteers by tomorrow to meet that goal.

"If you haven't experienced this, come out and try it and you'll go away with just a great feeling," said Food for Kidz co-chair John Breiten.

Kids and adults of all ages are welcome to walk in to volunteer.

The food packages will be shipped off to anywhere from Honduras to Mozambique.

Some special meals will be set aside and sent to local communities in the Northwoods.

"It's just a great, fun community event. I think the kids especially take something away that they are giving beyond themselves," said Food for Kidz sponsor and Lakeland Union High School Spanish teacher Karen Roerich.

Walk-in volunteers are welcome to attend either packing shift tomorrow morning.

The first shift is from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. The second shift is from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

If you can't make it out to Lakeland Union High School Saturday, donations are always welcome.

Call John Breiten at 715-686-7570 for more info.

+ Read More

WAUSAU - Scott Walker faced a tough crowd at times in Iowa during his failed presidential bid. Now, an undercover video released this week may show those protesters were planted on purpose.

The Journal Sentinel reported the videos show activist Scott Foval bragging about disrupting a Walker rally in Iowa. Those videos were released by conservative activist James O'Keefe.

Foval talks about bringing people out of state into Wisconsin, but doesn't give a reason why.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - A simple grooming process many people take for granted helps keeps John honest with himself.

"You can't think too far ahead, at least that's the situation I find myself in," John said.

Convicted of drunk driving seven times, John -- who Newswatch 12 is only identifying by his first name -- faced a harsh reality when he ended up in prison after three arrests in just 13 months.

+ Read More

Play Video

RICE LAKE - The Merrill football team doesn't feel it got the respect it deserved when WIAA playoff brackets came out last weekend. The Bluejays shared a Great Northern Conference championship.

But they were pinned to a number 8 seed, the lowest in the bracket, and travel to face top-seeded Rice Lake in a Division 3 Level 1 game Friday night.

Recent history doesn't favor Merrill in the playoffs. It has lost six straight playoff openers, dating to 2009.

+ Read More

Play Video

WAUSAU - People often leave unused prescriptions in their cabinets at home. But Wisconsin's Attorney General hopes you turn those prescriptions in Saturday to help solve a growing problem.

October 22 is Wisconsin's Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.

Attorney General Brad Schimel said more people die from accidental drug overdoses in Wisconsin than from car crashes.

+ Read More

MILWAUKEE - Wisconsin's utility regulator is planning to spend more money on energy projects in rural areas, including a plan to help underwrite the use of systems that convert cattle manure into electricity.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the systems known as manure digesters also help farms manage waste, which has become an increasingly controversial issue in Wisconsin as the size of dairy farms grows.

Wisconsin Public Service Commission officials say they're considering spending $10 million to $20 million on manure digester technology.

The commission also voted Thursday to authorize at least $7.7 million in funding for rebates for solar, wind and geothermal projects around the state that would keep a rebate program in place for energy consumers.

+ Read More

RHINELANDER - Thanks to funds from one company, Wild Instincts in Rhinelander will get to expand its facility. The non-profit got a $4,400 Green Gift from Cellcom.

Wild Instincts was one of 22 organizations to get a 2016 Cellcom Green Gift. Cellcom gave almost $38,000 in funds out this year.

Wild Instincts has helped rehabilitate wildlife across the state since 2011. Director Mark Naniot explained that with a growing need to help animals comes a growing need for space.

The Green Gift program uses funds from Cellcom's cell phone recycling program to fund green non-profit initiatives.

+ Read More
+ More General News

Click Here