PHILLIPS - We're keeping you updated on school district referendums around the Northwoods. Tonight we'll tell you why the School District of Phillips is asking for more money. They have a referendum on the ballot for April second.
The referendum will ask for not more than $650,000 for five years, for operations within the district.
The Phillips School District says its responded to declining enrollment and lessening state aid by making its own cuts. That includes eliminating staff, changing health and retirement benefits, and starting energy savings projects.
"We've cut everything that we possibly can. So it's really not a cliché when we say that reductions would be devastating. We have departments with only one individual in it. If we were to reduce staff it means we're reducing programming," says Superintendent Wally Leipart.
Without the extra money the district would have to eliminate $500,000 from the budget next year, and another $200,000 each of the next four years.
For taxpayers, approving the referendum means five dollars a month, for a property valued at $100,000.
"We look at the extracurricular activities as being cut. I think some of the core programs will be impacted as well. A lot of the core stuff that you need to get into college may not be available," says Phyllis Frase, from Parents Advocating 4 Successful Schools.
There will be one last informational meeting Tuesday, March 26th at 6 PM in the middle school library. For more information please see the link below.
Burke releases rural jobs plan, focuses on schools, health & growth
ACROSS WISCONSIN - A new job plan from Democratic candidate for Governor Mary Burke focuses on her economic objectives with rural Wisconsin.
Many parts of Wisconsin's rural areas, like the Northwoods, lags behind the rest of the state economically; for example, five of the ten Wisconsin counties with the worst unemployment rate in the state are in the rural portions of the Northwoods, according to June unemployment numbers from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.
Her focus is on growing the rural economy, boosting healthcare and improving schools.
WISCONSIN/THREE LAKES - Wisconsin continues to be the best state nationwide when it comes to producing cranberries. One Northwoods farm is preparing to make this year even better.
James Lake Farms in Three Lakes harvested close to 8,000 barrels last year. They hope to meet those expectations this year.
Right now they are in the growing season. The assistant manager believes Wisconsin is a natural environment for growing cranberries.
"It's fairly consistent as compared to somewhere out on the coast where most of the other cranberries are grown. I think a lot of those things combined help make it a good place to grow," said James Lake Farms Assistant Manager Benjamin Riker.
RHINELANDER AND MINOCQUA - Summer gets us outside playing games on the lake or in the yard, but with cooler temperatures this year, trips to the lake may not be as popular.
That impacts certain businesses in a good way. Imaginuity toys stores in Minocqua and Rhinelander have noticed a difference in the toys they've sold this summer.
"We're definitely getting a lot more traffic with the cooler temperatures. A lot more people in the door, which we're loving. We are seeing a lot more people buying more project based items. They're buying a lot of the active play but not so much the water active," said Jessica Hatch, Store Manager.
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