Three Lakes School Board holds special meeting to discuss Walker campaign adSubmitted: 08/09/2018
Rose McBride
Rose McBride

Three Lakes School Board holds special meeting to discuss Walker campaign ad
*UPDATED 8/10/2018

Governor Walker told Newswatch12 Friday that the Three Lakes School District knew exactly what it was getting into when he visited its fab lab.

At a campaign stop in Antigo, Walker said his campaign team was clear about why he was visiting the school.

"We're straight forward about what our expectations were, just as we do with every other ad that we do. We tell people what the ads are for. We said it was for an ad, not a public service announcement or anything else. This was an ad out there I think we were pretty clear," said Walker.

Walker also felt the ad was not an endorsement for himself, but rather a chance for the Three Lakes School to tell its story.

"Well in their case they're not endorsing, they're just telling the story. None of them said vote for or against, the bottom line is they just told the story and they told the honest truth about what we've done," said Walker.

Walker also said the ad will reach the end of its cycle this week and will not air again.

Only about 500 students fill the entire Three Lakes School District, but the entire state knows about Three Lakes Schools now.

Governor Walker chose to highlight the school and town in a political ad.

It was an ad that many people in Three Lakes didn't know was coming.

The Three Lakes School Board held a special meeting Thursday night to discuss political partisanship and try to correct mistakes the school district admits it made.

"Recently I failed to vet the purpose of the governor's visit as thoroughly as I should have. This was a mistake on my part, and I apologize for that," said Three Lakes Superintendent Dr. George Karling.

But Board President Tom Rulseh said the board didn't know the governor's visit would lead to a campaign ad.

"That was our understanding, that he was coming here and going to look at the fab lab and learn a little more about it. But we didn't know anything about anything related to a campaign ad," said Rulseh.

The board read and approved a policy Thursday night saying that employees and the board will not engage in political activity or show any political preference on work time.

But many people in the crowd said the new policy just reiterates something that was already expected of public employees.

"Every teacher knows that in a classroom they cannot give any of their political persuasion to their students," said Lynn Zibell from Three Lakes. 

"Public facilities should not be used in any kind of election campaign," said Theresa Griffin-Ray from Three Lakes.

Despite Rulseh's claims, some people weren't so sure the board didn't know the governor's intent.

"It could have been a very willful action designed to please political interests," said Zibell.

Public Comment was not allowed at the meeting and there wasn't a clear next step presented Thursday night. But moving forward Rulseh wants to be more transparent with the public.

"I did hear from several people who had questions that I think deserve answers," said Rulseh.

People we spoke to at the meeting said they want to see consequences for the superintendent and to open a discuss with the school board about the topic.

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


Play Video

RHINELANDER - Northwoods food pantries will soon see an increase in donations.

Wednesday, Trig's Grocery began their annual Stuff-A-Truck food drive. 

This is the ninth year for the event. 

Seven Northwoods communities will benefit from the grocery chain's donation efforts. 

Boxes for food, pre-packaged bags, and personal care items are set up at each store location. 

"We do this to give back to the community," said Trig's Rhinelander Assistant Store Director, Tim Gould.

+ Read More

Play Video

WAUSAU - Drivers in Wausau will need to deal with closures on major east-west roads and a bridge over the Wisconsin River this summer.

On Wednesday, the city announced its plans for this year's construction projects.

Wausau will completely reconstruct more than a mile of Townline Road.

Work will also close parts of South First Avenue and Thomas Street, including the Wisconsin River bridge.

"It's going to be an inconvenience. There's no getting around that," said Mayor Robert Mielke. "But I always like to say, when this stuff is done, it's going to be great, so you got to look at it in that positive sense."

+ Read More

Play Video

WAUSAU - Last year, police officers in Wausau documented hundreds of cases of marijuana possession in the city.

That resulted in more than 250 cases of arrest or criminal referrals.

But if a plan by Gov. Tony Evers is put into place, that number will likely drop in Wausau and around the state. Evers wants to remove penalties for possessing or selling 25 grams or less of marijuana.

Wausau Police Capt. Todd Baeten said the 250 marijuana-possession cases are pretty consistent for his department each year, although he couldn't say how many of them fall under the proposed 25-gram limit.

+ Read More

RHINELANDER - The Rhinelander Area Food Pantry canceled its distribution for Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Executive Director Guy Hansen told Newswatch 12 the snowfall concerns the staff about safety for patrons and others.  The normal distribution on Wednesdays is from 4-7 p.m.

Hansen says the next round of distribution will be Saturday, Feb. 23 from 10:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.

+ Read More

MADISON - Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has vetoed an income tax cut bill in an early showdown with legislative Republicans who had moved to weaken the Democrat's powers just weeks before he took office.

Evers' veto Wednesday came on a bill that his party had called a stunt by Republicans. The GOP doesn't have enough votes to override the veto.

Evers is proposing his own income tax cut and plans to include it in the state budget he will unveil next week.

+ Read More

GREEN BAY - Can you name every Packers player by number?  How about list off their entire 2019 schedule?  The latest addition to the Packers Fan Hall of Fame can.

Amy Nelson of Fence, Wis. was named the 21st member during a ceremony at Lambeau Field on Wednesday. Fence is in Florence County.

+ Read More

MADISON - Gov. Tony Evers says he won't be proposing building a new prison in Green Bay.

Evers told reporters Wednesday that while building a new prison is "something we have to weigh," he won't be including funding to do that in the budget he releases next week.

+ Read More
+ More General News