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Rural Schools Task Force recommendations expected by AprilSubmitted: 03/09/2014
Story By Lauren Stephenson


RHINELANDER - Superintendents at rural schools face challenges like growing poverty, declining enrollment, and high transportation costs.

The State Assembly formed the Rural Schools Task Force to find ways to help.

12 members of the State Assembly make up the task force.

They've traveled to schools around the state for the last six months.

They made two stops in the Northwoods.

The task force turned to superintendents, business leaders, and other community members to learn more about the challenges the schools and communities face.

The state did increase funding for schools in their most recent
budget.

But some rural school superintendents said the $150 per student budget increase this year wasn't enough.

They want the state's funding formula to change.

"Initially when we brought the task force together, the task force was charged to find solutions that didn't necessarily - weren't fiscal. And so what we found is these school districts are doing the best they can with the money they have. And unfortunately, a lot of these solutions will be fiscal. And so that could potentially be pointing to the next budget cycle," said Republican Rep. Rob Swearingen of Rhinelander, the Rural Schools Task Force Chair.

He says high transportation costs, poor broadband service, declining enrollment and lower teacher retention rates will most likely be addressed in the recommendations.

"The report is going to be generated hopefully here in the next week or so by legislative council. And then the task force will get a chance to look at the report and give our final recommendations to Speaker Vos."

The report is expected to come out at the end of this month or the beginning of April.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 03/23/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We'll take you live to Schofield and bring you the latest information on the shooting in that area Wednesday that took the life of a police officer and 3 other people and put several places in the Wausau area on lockdown.

We'll show you how the Merrill Fire Department is honoring the officer who was killed in the shooting incident, and we'll talk to the Oneida County Sheriff about how the county's Special Response Team feels about being able to assist the officers on the scene.

And today was day 9 of the trial for Kristopher Torgerson, the Wausau man who is accused of killing Stephanie Low and burying her body in Forest County. We'll bring you the details of the hearing.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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MADISON - Cheese may become Wisconsin's official dairy product.

Wisconsin lawmakers want to give cheese the honor after encouragement from some fourth-graders at Mineral Point Elementary School.

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MADISON - The head of the Wisconsin Hospital Association is urging Gov. Scott Walker to parlay his influence with the White House and Republican leaders in Congress to make significant changes to the stalled health care overhaul bill.

Hospital Association President Eric Borgerding outlined more than a dozen points of concern in a letter marked as hand-delivered to Walker on Monday.

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MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker says international candymaker Haribo will build its first North American plant employing 400 people in southeast Wisconsin.

Walker announced the $242 million planned facility on Thursday surrounded by state and local economic development officials. The company is expected to be operational in Pleasant Prairie, near Kenosha, by 2020.

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RHINELANDER - Northwoods students competed in a financial version of March Madness.

Three high schools came together to compete In the Finance and Investment Challenge Bowl today at Nicolet College.

This was the fifth annual Rhinelander Northwoods Regional Tournament.

The goal of the competition was to increase financial literacy around the state.

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LAND O' LAKES - Picasso, Van Gough, and even Andy Warhol all had to start somewhere.

This month Land O' Lakes Arts displays local students' artwork in a gallery in honor of Youth Art Month. The gallery holds 112 different art pieces from students ranging from kindergarten to eighth grade.

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WABENO - In school classrooms in Wabeno and in the community, the upcoming April 4 referendum is on the mind.

"There is an energy. There is an excitement," said Caroline Lampereur of the Wabeno Home and School Association, which supports the referendum.

Wabeno will ask taxpayers for $1.6 million for each of the next five years to keep its school operating as is.

"We want to maintain all of our operational programs and opportunities that we have for our students, as well as our extracurricular activities," said Wabeno Superintendent Jennifer Vogler.

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