Loading
Search
NEWS STORIES

Rural Schools Task Force holds first public hearingSubmitted: 10/23/2013
Story By Lex Gray

Rural Schools Task Force holds first public hearing
RHINELANDER - Rural schools face different challenges than schools in suburbs and cities. State legislators say they want to understand what those challenges are, and how they might help.

Local state representative Rob Swearingen chairs the Rural Schools Task Force. Eleven other representatives make up the task force.

Their goal is to create legislation that will help rural schools. Today, the task force listened to superintendents from four local districts.

Their overwhelming message: the school funding formula needs to change. Most Northwoods districts get less state aid because they have high property values.

"It doesn't take into account the ability of our taxpayers to help with the funding of schools," said Kelli Jacobi, superintendent of the School District of Rhinelander. "As our state aid goes down, our taxpayers are expected to pay more, and our taxpayers can't afford to do that."

Swearingen says he hopes house speaker Robin Vos will listen to that. But the funding formula wasn't the purpose of the task force, and it won't be the focus.

"The focus of this group is to make sure the school districts are using the money they have more effectively, so that's part of the discussion. Clearly, the state doesn't have money to just throw at the districts," Swearingen said. "But if we can transfer some of this into categorical aid, something that specifically relates to these rural school problems, maybe we can address some of those financial issues."

Categorical aid could apply to costs like transportation. Three of the four superintendents who spoke today said that would be a big help.

Their districts are geographically large, so they spend huge amounts of money getting kids to and from school. Northland Pines spends $1.3 million every year. Rhinelander spends $1.5 million.

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS

HARSHAW -
A culvert that collapsed after the weekend rainfall has caused Rocky Run Road west of Hwy 51 in Harshaw to be closed according to Cassian Town Chairman Tim Augustine. 


Augustine said in an email that the culvert is unsafe to be driven over. The Cassian Town Board has been working with property owners to get the culvert project underway. 

Construction to replace culvert is currently scheduled for July.

+ Read More

MERCER -
People knew "Bike the Heart" as Vilas County's bike trail system.

Now that's changing as Mercer is now a part of "Bike the Heart."

That means the entire trail is more than 50 miles long!

But you'll have to wait until next month for Mercer's piece to be totally paved.

"It's been going for a long time. To be the last sort of Northern point of the trail for now, we are honored and excited about it," says Mercer Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Beth Wetzler.

+ Read More

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Supreme Court rules against Wisconsin Democrats in the fight over the drawing of legislative boundaries.

Democrats believe current maps give Republicans an unfair advantage in elections.

+ Read More

Play Video

LAKE TOMAHAWK - Camp American Legion recently opened up for visitors this year, but campers will notice some big changes.

The entire top floor of the main building was redone with new flooring and new bathrooms. The camp also cleared the way to put in concrete outside the front entrance to be used as a future spot for music and other outdoor gatherings.

But those aren't the only projects underway. 

"The other one that we worked on was the front entrance and the sunroom entrance out here actually on the second floor, and that got a complete facelift on it also," said Camp Director Don Grundy. "We got stone work on the outside, all new windows, that we'll now be able to use these spaces in the winter." 

Grundy hopes to be able to have winter programming in the future. The camp will also have a grand opening for a new building for families of the fallen this coming Wednesday.


+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Wearing his black gown and mortarboard, Derek Pranke looked every bit the part of a proud graduate on Monday afternoon.

"We all pulled straight A's," Pranke said of his graduating class.

But Pranke knew his outfit beat the one he got used to wearing the last few years.

"[Class was] better than wasting time and just sitting and doing nothing in prison," Pranke said.

+ Read More

NORTHWESTERN WI - Heavy rains have caused an earthen dam to fail in a rural area of northwestern Wisconsin.

Douglas County Emergency Management Director Keith Kesler says he's unaware of any evacuations from the damage Monday. Few people live in the area.

Kesler says water is overtopping the Radigan Flowage Dam west of Dairlyland after several days of rain.

+ Read More

Play Video

LAKE TOMAHAWK -
Heavy rain this weekend nearly delayed the start of Lake Tomahawk's snowshoe baseball season.

The Snowhawks will begin their 12 game schedule Monday night against Newswatch 12.

Early Monday, it looked like the field at Snowshoe Park might be too wet to play on.

Snowhawks Manager Jeff Smith said the sun Monday afternoon has helped prepare the wood chips on the field for the game.

"Once you get them ruffed up, it kind of pulls the moisture out. It's kind of nice to have the sun going, because it will dry some of that right up. It takes a little while, it takes a little wind, but with everything going on now it's going to make big improvements by game time," said Smith.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 





Click Here