Letter: Let’s be proud Hodags by Kristin Larsen
I’ve wanted to teach since I was a child; my dad brought me leftover worksheets so I could enlighten my toys. I followed my dream passionately, graduated from college and moved back to teach in my hometown, the place I dearly love, “The Home of the Hodags.”
I’m proud of Rhinelander, our heritage and community; I know we want to continue to attract new families to the area and continue to thrive. We have a lot to offer: clean air, beautiful water, tranquil scenery, growing industry, low crime, great health care, amazing kids and excellent schools with a plethora of options for families.
For no other reason than a faulty state funding formula, our school district is in severe jeopardy. If the upcoming referendum fails, the school board has no choice but to make the following cuts:
• A reduction of more than 35 FTE teaching positions
• The elimination of SAGE (Student Achievement Guarantee Education). SAGE ensures smaller class sizes in kindergarten through 5th grades.
• The closing of both charter schools, NCSS and NCES.
• A reduction or elimination of co-curriculars. This includes music, art and physical education teachers in kindergarten through 8th grades.
• A reduction or elimination of advanced course offerings including AP classes.
• A reduction or elimination of course electives.
• Larger class sizes in all grades.
The board is not “holding our students ransom.” They have no other choices. This isn’t because of mismanagement of funds, it’s not because we have too much administration, it’s not because we’re wasting money on unnecessary things.
Please take the time to become informed about the dire situation we’re in and look at the statistics before you decide your vote. The website rhinelander.k12.wi.us/community/districtreferendum.cfm will provide all the facts. If you look at this, you will see that the school board members have no other options. If the referendum fails, our community will suffer because our kids will suffer. Families will move to districts that have enough money to provide educational options. We need to continue to help our beloved Home of the Hodags grow and flourish, and if our school district is decimated due to a failed referendum, it won’t happen.
I love my school, my district and my community. I’m very proud to be a Hodag for life. Please join me in supporting our children and community with a YES vote on Feb. 19.
Kristin Larsen, Rhinelander
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