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Rural Schools Task Force recommendations expected by AprilSubmitted: 03/09/2014
Story By Lauren Stephenson

Rural Schools Task Force recommendations expected by April
RHINELANDER - Superintendents at rural schools face challenges like growing poverty, declining enrollment, and high transportation costs.

The State Assembly formed the Rural Schools Task Force to find ways to help.

12 members of the State Assembly make up the task force.

They've traveled to schools around the state for the last six months.

They made two stops in the Northwoods.

The task force turned to superintendents, business leaders, and other community members to learn more about the challenges the schools and communities face.

The state did increase funding for schools in their most recent
budget.

But some rural school superintendents said the $150 per student budget increase this year wasn't enough.

They want the state's funding formula to change.

"Initially when we brought the task force together, the task force was charged to find solutions that didn't necessarily - weren't fiscal. And so what we found is these school districts are doing the best they can with the money they have. And unfortunately, a lot of these solutions will be fiscal. And so that could potentially be pointing to the next budget cycle," said Republican Rep. Rob Swearingen of Rhinelander, the Rural Schools Task Force Chair.

He says high transportation costs, poor broadband service, declining enrollment and lower teacher retention rates will most likely be addressed in the recommendations.

"The report is going to be generated hopefully here in the next week or so by legislative council. And then the task force will get a chance to look at the report and give our final recommendations to Speaker Vos."

The report is expected to come out at the end of this month or the beginning of April.

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 IN OTHER NEWS

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Some Wisconsin schools will be using gunshot-detection sensors when classes resume this fall to try to get police to respond more quickly to a mass shooting.

The sensors are among various security upgrades schools are rolling out with grant money state lawmakers approved this year after the shootings in Parkland, Florida.

The Kenosha Unified School District plans to use $384,000 of its nearly $900,000 award to install sensors from New Mexico-based EAGL Technology at its 43 schools. The system is designed to alert police within seconds of shots being fired and activate surveillance cameras near their location to livestream the scene to authorities. The sensors can also lock doors after gunshots.

EAGL Technology says the number of schools across the country expressing interest in the sensors has increased since Parkland.

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LAKE TOMAHAWK - Back in the early nineties, an event in Lake Tomahawk gave thanks to veterans. This year, a group of community members decided to bring it back.

The Vets and Guides event invites veterans from King, Tomah, and other areas to come to Lake Tomahawk for a day of fishing, food, and a good time.

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ARBOR VITAE - Last summer the Northwoods LBGT community and allies came together to celebrate love, diversity and acceptance.

After last year's successful festival, the Rainbow Hodags planned an even bigger one for this year.

More than 75 people celebrated gay pride at the second annual Pride Fest in Arbor Vitae.

Lots of laughter, live music, and dancing filled the park. 

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FLORENCE COUNTY - Two high school students died in a car crash early Friday morning in Florence County. The wreck happened at around 6:20 a.m. according to the Florence County Sheriff's Office.

The vehicle was traveling north on County Highway N in the Commonwealth Township, when the driver lost control while making a turn. The vehicle crossed the center line, left the roadway, and hit a tree, bursting into flames upon impact.

The names and ages of the Florence High School students will be released after notifications are made.


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RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander group working to maintain recreational trails in the area got some help in their mission. The Rhinelander Area Silent Trails Association received grants to help fund its various projects.

The group got two DNR Recreational Trail Act Grants totaled at a little more than $13,000. The WPS Foundation also gave a total of $1,800 in grants. The grant money will be used to help with multiple projects. 

One project is to construct a boardwalk over the wetlands of the Cassian Cross County Ski Trail. RASTA is also going to construct a new ski trail at Washburn.

For more information on all of RASTA's projects, visit their Facebook page lined below.


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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 06/22/2018

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:


The unusual weather this spring could have an effect on how many fish you might catch this season. We talk to a local bait shop owner about the connection between the weather and the number of catchable fish that are in the water.

And we'll take you to a recycling event and tell you how you can help a local homeless shelter by bringing in old appliances.


We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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RHINELANDER - People could drop off almost anything with a plug at an electronic recycling event in Rhinelander June 22.

Computers, laptops, and TVs filled boxes in the Charter NEX Films parking lot.

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