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NEWS STORIES

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


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.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
Art lovers travel from all over to go to painting and photography classes at TreehavenSubmitted: 09/23/2014

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TOMAHAWK - People traveled from all over the country to take a class taught in Tomahawk.

Painting and Sketching in the Northwoods is being taught at Treehaven.

A photography class is also being offered.

Both classes take place over the next two weeks.

One of the teachers thinks this class is helpful because people stay at Treehaven for the duration of the course.

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Frat boots UWM chapter president amid drug probeSubmitted: 09/23/2014

MILWAUKEE - An international fraternity has revoked the membership of the president of its University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee chapter amid an investigation into whether local fraternity members slipped ``date rape'' drugs into party drinks.

Twenty-eight-year-old Thomas Kreinbring was president of Tau Kappa Epsilon at UWM.

Kreinbring was charged Friday with several drug-related crimes, including keeping a drug house and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

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Wausau School District wants every student to have iPad or Chromebook by 2018Submitted: 09/23/2014

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WAUSAU - The Wausau School District wants every student in the district to have either an iPad or Chromebook.

They hope to reach that goal by 2018.

Buying the computers and training could cost the district more than $2 million.

The district started giving out iPads to some students two years ago.

But the district might have to go to a referendum to get them to everyone.

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Northwoods counties will form transit commission, expand transportation optionsSubmitted: 09/23/2014

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FOREST, ONEIDA, VILAS - It can be difficult to get around the Northwoods without a car.

Three counties will join together to make getting around easier.

Oneida, Forest and Vilas Counties will form a transit commission.

The Vilas County Board voted unanimously Tuesday to join Oneida and Forest counties.

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Northwoods airport gets grant for pavement repaintingSubmitted: 09/23/2014

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PRENTICE - Only about 700 people live in Prentice.

You may not think a small community like it would need an airport.

But local businesses depend on the Prentice Airport to bring in potential customers.

Pilots need clear markings on the runway to fly in safely.

Crews started repainting the pavement markings at the airport Tuesday.

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Packers ticket scam hit fans outside of MarshfieldSubmitted: 09/23/2014

MARSHFIELD - More Wisconsin residents have reported they were victims of a Green Bay Packers ticket scam through which police say a 37-year-old Marshfield man stole tens of thousands of dollars.

Lt. Darren Larson of the Marshfield Police Department's detective bureau tells the News-Herald Media (http://mnhne.ws/1pqjCqg ) that football fans from outside the department's jurisdiction are coming forward. The Marshfield man, whose name hasn't been released by police, previously admitted to scamming local fans seeking Packers tickets.

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Dems outspend Republicans in summer TV ads; expect things to heat up even more with close raceSubmitted: 09/23/2014

ACROSS WISCONSIN - You should expect to see even more political advertisements as the November election approaches.

A report from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel shows Democrats spent more than Republicans for the governor's race on television ads across the state this summer.

That's a reversal from 2012. The report showed that both candidates and outside groups spent nearly $5 million in television ads.

A September release of the Marquette University Law School Polls shows a close race between Mary Burke and Governor Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin). Gov. Walker received support from 46% of all registered voters polled, while Burke received 46% support.

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