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NEWS STORIES

Taxpayer Opposition to ReferendumSubmitted: 02/15/2013
Story By Lex Gray

RHINELANDER - Last week, we spent three days telling you why the Northland Pines, Three Lakes, and Rhinelander school districts are asking for more money.

The explanation is complicated, but it boils down to this: schools don't get as much aid from the state anymore, so they need to cut programs and ask for money locally.

We also told you that especially in Rhinelander, programs will be cut if the referendum fails.

But the downside if it passes? Your taxes will go up.

Today, we spoke with a taxpayer who says he supports education, but not that equation.

Michael Kuczek has paid taxes to the School District of Rhinelander since 1996.

He voted for the first referendum when he moved here, but then his property taxes rose dramatically.

"Quite frankly, I never thought I would be a person who voted against a school referendum, it almost makes me feel like a tea party crazy," he said. "I'm all for a good education but I was taxed out of one house. That's not any fun."

Kuczek thinks his property taxes will go up about $250 per year if the referendum passes.

That wouldn't make or break his budget at this point, but he says the district needs to be more responsible with their budget.

"I certainly am not looking to gut the schools. I just don't want to have to pay more taxes. I don't want the school board to spend money that they don't need to," Kuczek said. "We still want good schools, it's foolish to think we can get by with poor schools. The country lives and dies on the strength of the middle class. One of the great strengths is education. Without education, I don't think we'd have a middle class, quite frankly. It's a question of balancing the needs for education of the middle class and the ability of the middle class to pay for it."

The Rhinelander referendum election is Tuesday, February 19.

The school district posted pages of financial and referendum information on their website.

You can find the link below.

Related Weblinks:
Rhinelander Referendum Information

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- Four Wisconsin State Assembly candidates will debate in Wausau tonight. The two Democrats and Republicans will argue about topics like jobs, healthcare and the direction of the area. We'll have a preview of the debate tonight on Newswatch 12.

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