EAGLE RIVER - When you step into a Northland Pines school, you'll see laptops, iPads, and Chromebooks.
"I would say within five years, we may not even see a textbook in the the classroom anymore," Superintendent Mike Richie said. "It's going to be chromebooks, it's going to be ipads, and those kinds of things."
Even the schools themselves look shiny and new.
So you might ask yourself: why is this district asking taxpayers for more money?
Superintendent Mike Richie says there are a few answers to that question.
One goes all the way back to the early 90s, when the state funding formula started to change.
"That first base year to figure out what the cap would be for each district, it was actually based off the prior year. So any district in the state that was very frugal or did a great job with their tax levy was actually punished for future years," Richie said.
And Pines is frugal. The district stretched their last three year referendum to four years.
And this time, they're asking for $2.7 million per year instead of $2.9 million.
But there are still budget issues they can't get around.
Transportation costs are a huge issue here. While other districts are more compact, Northland Pines covers a large area, and that's why they spend $1.3 million per year just getting kids to and from school.
Any sympathy from the state? Not here.
"That is the problem I have with the funding formula," Richie said. "They don't take into account the makeup of the district and the difference that one district may have over another district."
And that's why Northland Pines is asking YOU to see the difference…and make sure they can stay ahead of the curve.
Technology director Scott Foster says it's not just about having the latest tech toys. Next year, the district may add Chinese language classes.
"We really emphasize providing a 21st century education for our students and connecting them to the global society. And with technology, we're allowed to do that," Foster said.
But even closer to home, technology matters.
"If a community member reflects on their job now even compared to five years ago... there isn't a job out there that hasn't been impacted by technology in any way," Foster said.
And in the long run, technology should save time. And time saves money.
It always comes across as expensive. But really, if you're enacting technology properly, you should be doing it do gain efficiencies in our instruction or the way we do our jobs here as educators.
Pines hosted informational meetings in January and posted slideshows, videos and flyers online. It's a lot of information. But what Richie really wants you to remember?
"This referendum is about what makes this school district a quality school district," Richie said.
MINOCQUA - Channeling your child's energy can be quite a task. The Family Resource Connection from Children's Hospitals of Wisconsin has found a way to combine music and movement to stimulate your child's development.
The Music Garden program is designed to awaken your child's imagination while celebrating the remarkable bond shared between you.
MILWAUKEE - Democratic Party leaders say Milwaukee was chosen to host the presidential debate because of the state's battleground status in the Midwest.
Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz says she expects Democrats to do well this fall in Wisconsin considering the position of the Republican field, which she says is far to the right.
WAUSAU - Wausau Police want to find a convicted dog killer now accused of prostitution.
They're looking for 23-year-old Sean Janas. In 2014, Janas was convicted on two felonies for poisoning her boyfriend's dog. She spent a year and a half in prison after she was convicted in the death of the German shepherd-Labrador mix.
Last month, an undercover officer got in touch with Janas, who was advertising as an escort on the website Backpage.
IRON COUNTY - Humans aren't equipped for single-digit and sub-zero temperatures, but huskies definitely are.
During cold snaps like this week, dog sled drivers can't pass up an opportunity to take the dogs out running—dog sledding or skijoring.
MJ Slone and Chad McGrath in Springstead have 11 huskies at their home. All the dogs are from shelters or families that can't take care of them anymore.
"It was often a sled driver with a team who had maybe 30, 40, 50 dogs and one dog wouldn't fit the team anymore or teams so we would get it," said McGrath.
For Slone and McGrath, taking in dogs started more than 20 years ago.
"Well, I brought home a pup from Alaska because I had worked up there doing some consulting work," said Slone. "My idea was to skijor, which was a fairly new thing in 1990 in the U.S….And then I realized dogs don't like to run alone, so I got another dog….and then I got another dog."
These dogs aren't competitive —they're mostly for recreational racing. Slone and McGrath host outdoor groups and school kids for sled dog racing throughout the winter. They encourage people to get out and try these sports during the winter, even if it's bitterly cold.
"It's the partnership with the dogs," Slone said. "They bring an enthusiasm to your life that you just can't get….They are always happy to see you."
LANSING - A state agency has revised Michigan's quarantine for the emerald ash borer to include four more counties in the Upper Peninsula.
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said Wednesday that the quarantine for the bug now includes Baraga, Dickinson, Marquette, and Menominee counties. The agency said the bug was detected in traps in Dickinson and Marquette counties.
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