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Peshtigo Fire
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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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From our readers

To the Editor:

Recent letters from Wausaukee School District taxpayers and others have brought forward the same proposition, that the Board of Education and the Administration are supposedly wasting taxpayers’ money. The latest letter, which appeared in the November 14, 2012 edition, contains several misrepresentations which I feel must be addressed. The statement “we were told that the District was broke - that we were headed for dissolution unless a referendum was passed in order to save the school” seems to indicate the dissolution was not based on the facts. The facts are, plainly and simply, the District was indeed “broke” since the General Fund balance for the fiscal years ending June 30, 2008 and again June 30, 2009 was negative by $55,000 and $129,000 respectively. This fiscal status happened after deficit spending for seven consecutive years. The problem was acute and demanded that appropriate action be taken by either dissolution or raising additional funds through referendum.

The next statement in that letter said “Since then the amount of money needlessly spent has been appalling.” If what is meant by that is that the District must not defend itself against what had been a succession union grievances with subsequent arbitrations, including the grievance, arbitration and WEAC defense of a convicted sexual predator, then the public should understand that the Board not only has the responsibility but statutorily the duty to do so.

We all recognize that enrollment in most rural school districts in Wisconsin has been declining, and such decline is affecting the School District of Wausaukee also. When there is a decline in enrollment and property values rise, state aid is decreased. This is the nature of the current state formula for educational funding. It is certainly true that our teachers have taken pay freezes but no teacher’s pay has been reduced. Teachers, not only in Wausaukee but throughout the State, now must pay more toward health insurance premiums and retirement because of legislation and an effort to bring public employees more in line with the private sector. To my knowledge the only “valuable staff members” who “have been lost” are those who elected to retire to take advantage of generous benefits or who have left for other personal reasons beyond our control. The willingness of our staff to make necessary sacrifices to enable the school to continue to be viable is appreciated by all concerned.

Contrary to the statement that “class offerings have diminished,” class offerings are actually increasing through our NWTC collaborative effort with Crivitz and Pembine and our distance learning lab. We are now in a position to offer courses that we could never afford if we had to hire new personnel to teach a course with low student participation. We are taking advantage of the advancements in technology which will continue to expand opportunities in the future.

It is true that recently a teacher was given a substantial increase in order to retain that teacher, which should be considered in view of an even more substantial offer to leave the district. To say on the one hand that we are losing teachers because of their sacrifices and on the other hand that we should not be competitive on compensation is not logical.

If “There seems to be no rhyme or reason for such important decisions to be made and one seriously has to wonder how much thought really goes into some of these decisions,” then I suggest that those feeling that way attend Board meetings, especially the annual meeting, when there is unfettered access to make suggestions and offer criticisms. The last two annual meetings were each attended by only three members of the public. Criticizing district decisions based on misinformation is easier than participating in a productive manner.

As far as I know, no Board member said or would even say, “no man is worth an extra $10,000” regarding the loss of a principal earlier this year. The decision to leave was made for reasons other than salary since I don’t believe that there was any dissatisfaction with the offer the Board had approved. We did everything possible, within reason, to retain that principal, and until the last moment expected he would remain at Wausaukee. Both the Board and Administration are interested in retaining high value employees.

It is accurate to say that I expressed the sentiment “It is a sad day for the Wausaukee School District” relative to recent losses of arbitration cases and I firmly believe that is true. In the case of the sexual predator, the arbitrator repeatedly stated in her ruling that the Board had every right statutorily to decide staffing levels but attributed some “improper motive” as the basis of her decision. The department involved had been undergoing reductions for several years based solely on spending cuts. The other arbitration case lost was based on an arbitrator’s interpretation of long existing contract language which had never been questioned by any retiree in the past. We fully expected to win both of these cases at the outset.

While some may argue that Board decisions do not agree with their own personal priorities or goals, in my opinion both the Board and the Administration have acted and will continue act not only in the best interests of our taxpayers but most importantly in the interest of the children we are educating. We owe no less to both groups.

Dave Kipp,

Wausaukee

These comments are the personal views and opinions of Dave Kipp and are not meant to reflect those of the Wausaukee Board of Education as a whole or for individual members.



Letter to Editor:

Thanksgiving is a special time of year when we reflect on the past and give thanks for blessing received. The Peshtigo Food Pantry is no exception. We have truly been blessed with phenomenal support from local individuals, businesses and organizations. The citizens of Peshtigo and surrounding area have contributed generously to the many food drives engineered by area churches, schools and employers. Without your donations, we could not exist.

We especially want to acknowledge the Peshtigo and Porterfield postal staff and the Peshtigo scout troops, who have conducted successful food drives for us, as well as the students, teachers and support staff of the Peshtigo Public Schools and the employees of Goodrich, Great Lakes Custom Tool, Rennes Group, Marinette Marine, Aerial, the Center Bowl and all who participated in their annual fundraiser, BPM, Inc. for providing us with a beautiful building and Lee's Family Foods for their contributions.

Thanks to the Peshtigo Woman's Club for including our building in the city beautification program, as well as their many fundraisers, Peshtigo Women's Pool League, Marinette County Tavern League, Marinette County Sheriff's Department and the Peshtigo Eagle Scout candidates for the yard barn and wooden benches. We, of course, cannot forget our loyal volunteer staff, past and present, who contributed their time and energy to making the Peshtigo Food Pantry a success.

RuthAnn Sandberg and

Susan Rudolph, Co-Managers,

Peshtigo Food Pantry



ARE YOU THANKFUL?

Are you thankful this Thanksgiving

For the things God’s given you?

Are you thankful for the blessing

That He sends the whole year through?

Are you thankful for your family,

For your shelter, food and friends?

For the health and strength God gives you,

Plus forgiveness of your sins?

Are you thankful for your freedom,

And the nation in which you live?

For the men and women who fought,

And had to sacrificially give?

Are you thankful for the many things

That God has given everyone?

Like the mountains, plains and seas,

The heavens, the stars,the moon, the sun?

The trees, the birds, the animals,

And even each breath we breathe,

Are only a few blessings,

That we daily receive from Thee.

Are you thankful for contentment,

And peace within your heart?

There are so many blessings,

This list is only a small start.

So let us all be thankful,

For God’s blessings sent our way.

And let’s make it Thanksgiving,

Each and every day.

By Joyce Bedora

of Krakow,

Former Peshtigo Resident



Dear Editor:

This letter expresses the thanks of the Marinette Lions Club to the sportsmen and ladies who attended the 16th Marinette Lions Sports and Hunting Dinner on Nov. 1 at Little River Country Club. The event continued the successful fund raisers of the Club, and the 125 participants in attendance enabled us to be on track with our budget of philanthropy in our local community.

The 50 individuals and businesses who chose to be sponsors of the event deserve a large thank you for their backing of our Sports and Hunting Dinner. Their financial help made the event really work.

We thank the entire group of participants who entered into the auctions and found their generosity rewarded with fine art works that will give pleasure for years to come. We thank Henry and Leonard Yoap, who made giving a real treat. Their auctioneering skill gave entertainment to the bystander and an exciting ride for the auction participants.

We thank the donors of merchandise for our door prizes and their financial backing. We hope that the mention of their names and businesses in our program and word of mouth helps their standing in the community.

Sincerely,

Ruth Thielen, President,

Marinette Lions Club


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841 Maple St
PO Box 187
Peshtigo, WI 54157
Phone: 715-582-4541
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