Most Northwoods school districts will see less state funding next yearSubmitted: 07/02/2014
Story By Adam Fox

ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS - New funding numbers released by the Wisconsin Department of Instruction released Tuesday show most schools in the Northwoods will see a reduction in state funding for the 2014-15 school year.

School districts in Rhinelander, Wabeno, Minocqua, Mercer, Phelps, White Lake, Elcho, Tomahawk and Three Lakes will lose more than 15 percent of their state funding compared to 2013-14 funding.

The school districts in Hurley, Laona, Butternut, Lac Du Flambeau and Prentice will see more funding.

Rural schools specifically struggle with shrinking enrollment and high transportation costs.

During a campaign stop Wednesday in Rhinelander, Gov. Scott Walker (R) said his reforms have given schools more flexibility.

"I think again, allowing to continually allow reforms to be used at the school district level overall will help school districts save on things like bidding out their health insurance and other changes have seen significant gains," Walker said.

Walker's critics argue he cut billions in school aid in 2011, more than 225 Wisconsin School districts will see increases in funding for the 2014-15 school year; 197 school districts will see reductions.

Leaders hope proposals from the Rural School Task force will help fix funding issues for schools in the Northwoods. The task force of bipartisan lawmakers toured the state interviewing district heads to learn how legislators could help.

"In the last budget, we included a significant increase for transportation aids for those very school districts," Walker said. "We'll be looking to do even more of that working with people like Representative (Rob) Swearingen and Senator (Tom) Tiffany and others in the next budget."

The legislature will take those proposals up during next year's session.

Walker was touring multiple areas across northern and central Wisconsin, Wednesday. He spoke to more than 250 people at a campaign event hosted by the Oneida County Republican Party.

For a full list of the DPI report, click the link below.

Related Weblinks:
DPI General Aid for 2014-15

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 10/27/2016

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

For months people around Squash Lake near Rhinelander have debated who should pay what to have DNR divers clear Eurasian Water Milfoil. This morning, the Crescent Town Board passed a resolution to approve forming a Squash Lake District. But some people who live near the lake aren't sure they want a district. Tonight you'll hear from people on both sides of the issue.

An anonymous woman donated $10,000 to go towards a new dog park in Rhinelander. We talked to a dog park advocate to find out what the donation means for the project.

And the Antigo Red Robins put up 56 points in winning their playoff opener against Fox Valley Lutheran last Friday. But the road only gets more difficult from here. We'll take you to the Robins' practice tonight as they get ready for tomorrow's Level 2 game.

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

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WOOD COUNTY - We now know the names of the people involved in a Wood County Crash that killed two people Tuesday afternoon.

The Wood County Sheriff's Department says the cars crashed head-on along Highway 80 in the Town of Dexter around 3:30.

71-year-old Barbara Baldwin of New Lisbon was driving one of the cars, and died in the crash.

Her passenger, 74 year old Louise Hemenway of New Lisbon, also died.

Another passenger in the car, 72-year-old Dona Sharp, was hurt....as was the driver of the second car, 30-year-old Greg Kopelke of Wisconsin Rapids.

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BISMARCK, ND - Authorities have begun arresting some Dakota Access pipeline protesters at a camp the demonstrators set up on private land in the path of pipeline construction.

An Associated Press reporter says law enforcement officers formed a horseshoe-like loop around the camp in North Dakota.

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TOMAH - The Tomah VA Medical Center will end a lease agreement for a shelter for homeless veterans.

The Veterans Assistance Foundation has operated the shelter for nearly 20 years.

Tomah VA spokesman Matthew Gowan says there have been more than 30 incidents involving shelter residents recently.

They include a suicide attempt, a drug overdose and criminal violations.

The center has given the foundation notice that it will end the lease in January.

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MERRILL - A former Merrill High School choir teacher will go to jail after a judge found him guilty of sexual assault last month. 

26-year-old Chase Tonar will spend three years on probation and 15 years on a sex offender registry. As a part of that probation, Tonar will serve four months in jail.

Tonar had sex with a student both while he was a teacher at Merrill High School and after he resigned last May.

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MERRILL - People know Helene's Hilltop Orchard in Merrill as the place to go to get your fall season fix.

The pie makers and apple peelers come in early to crank out caramel apple pies fresh throughout the day.

When people come to Helene's, they are usually greeted by the smell of the pies before they even see them.

"I love being out in the parking lot when people step out of their cars and smell the air. It doesn't smell like a lot of other farms. It's distinctly the cinnamon sugar you smell," said Helene' Hilltop Orchard baker Olivia Telschow.

Helene's is only open for six weeks from mid-September to late October; however, Telschow works alongside her mother Helene throughout the entire year.

Even in the winter, the apple orchard is checked on.

"February is pruning season. Think of me when it's minus ten and it's snowing and windy and snow drifts because I will be out there," said Telschow.

The orchard is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through October 30th.

Helene's will close Sunday for the season, but pies will be available to order for Thanksgiving.

Call (715) 536-1207 for more information.

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THREE LAKES - Baseball fans in Three Lakes watched the Cleveland Indians beat the Chicago Cubs in the first game of the World Series on Tuesday night.

A few of those fans might live on Cy Williams Road, or down the street from Cy Williams Park. As they watched, they may have drawn the connection between that Northwoods man, Cy Williams, and the game they were watching on the field.

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