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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.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 05/02/2016

- Last month, voters in the Unified School District of Antigo rejected a referendum that would have consolidated the district's seven elementary schools. Now the district has to figure out what to do with the teachers, staff and students of one school that will close in June.

- Plus, until now Price County has never had any type of public transportation.  Park Falls hasn't even had a taxi service in years.  That all changed in April with a new bus.

We'll have the details on this story and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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RHINELANDER -

Northwoods timber harvesters can now use a new business tool. 


StumpGeek software allows loggers to track things like their finances, timber and cash flow.


The goal of the program is to offer an easy to use application.


Designers believe the software is tailored to the needs of Northwoods loggers.  


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EAGLE RIVER - Riding through forests and past scenic lakes make the Northwoods one of the best places to go ATVing.

Routes opened for the season at 8 a.m. Sunday in Vilas County.

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ADAMS COUNTY - Update-We now know the names of two men who died in a two car crash near the Wisconsin Dells over the weekend.

The Wisconsin State Patrol tells us 65 year old Timothy Helm and his passenger, 72 year old Frances Chowaniec died at the scene of the crash.

Both men were from Oxford.

24 year old Kolton Coon of Wisconsin Dells was the second driver.

He was taken to a hospital and expected to survive.

The crash happened Saturday afternoon around 2:00 on County Road B north of state highway 23 in Adams County.

Wisconsin State Patrol is still investigating.





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MERRILL - Grass fires forced a road in Lincoln County to be shut down for a while yesterday.

The first fire was reported at 11:30 yesterday morning in the Merrill area near the exit for US 51 near County K.

As fire crews were arriving, additional calls came in reporting fires near County Road C.

A short time later, another fire was reported north of County Road S.

That fire got into heavier brush, and parts of the road had to be shut down.

It took firefighters nearly an hour to put out the flames and check for hot spots.

The cause of the fires is not known yet.

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DEFOREST, WI - Authorities say a manhunt for a suspect in a fatal shooting in West Allis ended with a chase and shootout on a Wisconsin highway.

West Allis police say a 42-year-old man was fatally shot Sunday morning at an apartment complex. Several hours later, a drive-by shooting was reported on Interstate 90/94 near DeForest. That incident led to traffic closures.

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DETROIT - A few hundred Detroit teachers are picketing outside the district headquarters, protesting the possibility that some will not receive paychecks during the summer months if Detroit Public Schools runs out of money.

The district's state-appointed transition manager Steven Rhodes says 45,628 of approximately 46,000 students were forced to miss classes Monday as 1,562 teachers called in sick. The mass sick-out has forced the district to close 94 of its 97 schools.

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