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Merrill could ask taxpayers for millions for schools; survey shows referendum supportSubmitted: 11/21/2017
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com

Merrill could ask taxpayers for millions for schools; survey shows referendum support
MERRILL - Merrill could be the newest local school district to rely on referendum money in its school budget.

The district faces a $1.8 million dollar operating deficit for next school year, and it has had to take from savings for years to keep the school running.

"We've been making cuts, and we've gotten in the habit of making cuts. Unfortunately, we became very good at making cuts," said Superintendent Dr. John Sample.

A consultant's survey got more than 1,600 responses from people in the district. It shows two-thirds of respondents support some sort of referendum to help pay for schools.


"The survey showed that most of the community gets that whether you've got children or grandchildren currently as a student in the district [or not], that the district needs the community just as much as the community needs the district," Sample said.

The most popular option was raising $2.5 million per year over the next four years to support the current level of operations and support some additional ones, like tech ed and maintenance.

"As much as I think I know the community, because I'm out in the community as much as I possibly can be, it was still a huge sigh of relief and a very pleasant surprise [with] the outcome of the survey," Sample said.

Merrill's school board could approve a referendum plan as soon as December 6. The referendum question would be on the April ballot.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 06/18/2018

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:


Storms over the weekend produced heavy rain and high winds causing damage throughout the Northwoods. We'll take you live to Rainbow Flowage to show you some of the flooding, and to Park Falls to let you see some of the storm damage in that area.

We'll show you the condition of the field in Lake Tomahawk where the Snowhawks plan to start out their 12 game snowshoe baseball schedule tonight against our team from Newswatch 12, and we'll talk with the Snowhawks manager about how the sun is helping to get the field ready to go in spite of the heavy rain over the weekend.

And we'll show you video of students from Prentice and Rib Lake helping to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington D.C.


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

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ASHLAND COUNTY - Police believe a man died because of flooding in Ashland County. 

First responders found Thomas Koeper, 75, of Mason, Wisconsin near his truck in the Township of White River. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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WINNEBAGO, WI - People should be on the lookout of two men that escaped from the Winnebago Correctional Center.

James Heather and Alexander Weinmann escaped from the minimum security prison recently.

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+ More General News
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