ANTIGO - The School District of Antigo will see a lot of new faces this fall.
The district hired 26 new teachers this year.
They lost so many teachers last year because of retirements and teachers leaving for bigger districts.
The district can't always pay teachers as much as larger districts can, especially teachers in specialized subjects, such as special education or science.
"We've tended overall on average to be in the middle of the pack, but at some levels we're falling behind," says Antigo School District Interim District Administrator Don Childs. "Particularly in areas of high need and specialty. You'll find there are districts that are willing to pay premiums and that sometimes draws people as well away from another district."
This isn't a problem only faced by Antigo schools.
Some teachers are drawn away by a desire to live in a bigger city.
"Typically you don't have all the necessary social infrastructure that you get in a larger community, in an urban area," says Childs. "For a lot of people that's the kind of environment they want."
Teachers going to larger school districts wasn't the only reason Antigo lost so many employees.
Eighteen teachers retired last year alone, and the district could be facing a similar problem at the end of this school year.
The district used to pay for up to 90 months of health insurance for teachers after they retired, but that policy cost the district millions of dollars.
"[A] couple of years ago, the board acted to end that practice because it was extraordinarily expensive, and the state was requiring us to count that in our accounting as one of our best accounting practices. We couldn't just write it off as an annual payment anymore. We had to take it on as an obligation," says Childs.
This is the last year teachers can take advantage of those retirement benefits.
"Others might not have always elected to do so this early. They want to take advantage of that benefit, so we had 18 people," says Childs. "We'll probably have people again who will take advantage of it."
ST. GERMAIN - A school bus doesn't feature a lot of amenities. Seats, windows, and that's about it. But a company out of St. Germain thinks buses, and other big vehicles, make the perfect kitchens.
Caged Crow Fabrication is owned by Josh Romaker. He moved to the Northwoods about three years ago. Around the same time a woman in Madison approached him to help refurbish an old camper. He decided to make it into a food truck instead.
"We took on the challenge and that first build was featured on US Today and some magazines and our phone just started ringing. We've got them in Denver, Salt Lake City, New Jersey," said Romaker.
That was just the beginning for Romaker's company, Caged Crow Fabrication in St. Germain. They now specialize in food trucks of all kinds.
"If a customer wants a food truck that looks like a barn or a steam train or a school bus conversion, we really stick to the unique food truck builds," said Romaker.
The 1982 bus that Caged Crow Fabrication is working on now will be complete in a little over a month. The team made up of just a few workers has one rule- they never build the same thing twice. And they take their time.
"We have a sign on the wall here that says 'quality over quantity'. I think our reputation right now is really based on the attention to detail and I think we want to keep that up," said Romaker.
If you're interested in checking out more work from Caged Crow Fabrication, follow the link below.
MARATHON COUNTY - The suspect in a Wisconsin shooting spree that left four people dead has been identified, and court records show one of the victims was his wife's divorce lawyer.
A person close to the investigation identified the suspect Friday as 45-year old Nengmy Vang. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the person wasn't authorized to speak ahead of authorities officially identifying Vang.
WAUSAU AREA - Organizations in the greater Wausau area set up funds remembering and honoring the victims of Wednesday's shootings.
A Marathon Savings Bank fund will support the families of the two bank employees shot. Dianne Look had worked at Marathon Savings Bank for almost 19 years, and Karen Barclay had been there for more than six years.
WASHINGTON - UPDATE: 3-24-17, 4:00pm: Ryan bemoans collapse of health care bill:
Speaker Paul Ryan says the collapse of the House Republican health care bill means former President Barack Obama's health care law will be around for the foreseeable future.
The Wisconsin Republican addressed reporters minutes after GOP leaders abruptly shelved the legislation, averted likely defeat for the bill. But it still dealt a damaging setback to President Donald Trump, Ryan and an entire party that has long said it wants to annul Obama's statute.
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