A Letter to the Editor in the Oct. 9 Tomahawk Leader:
Is it time for the voters of the townships of Russell, Schley, Harrison and Birch in Lincoln County to detach (per s. 117.11, Wis. Stats) from Merrill Area Public Schools (MAPS) and attach to the Rhinelander School District?
A Gleason Area Public Charter School (GAPCS) with 100 students represents to a school district $660,000 of annual income and $225,000 of expense, i.e., an annual $400,000 “profit” to whichever school district it attaches.
If the townships detach ($136,621,715 assessed valuation), the MAPS mill rate will rise one point with a corresponding decline in the school district mill rate to which these townships attach. Additionally the gaining district nets an annual $850,000 in tax revenue with a corresponding loss to MAPS.
Detaching from MAPS brings educational advantages to the affected students. The charter school is as educationally attractive today as it was in January when 100 K-5 children signed up to attend GAPCS.
The MAPS school board had called for “sacrifice.” From the perspective of our children, the “sacrifice” is a three-hour-a-day bus ride, five days a week, 177 days a year for 12 years so the MAPS BOE can pay its administrator one of the state’s more generous salaries. We need to decide if this has been a good trade-off.
Though the Rhinelander School System has found elegant and creative solutions to the problem of rural and dispersed children as MAPS careens from one crisis to another, this is a step not lightly taken.
Let’s discuss it. For a detailed discussion see http://gleasoncharterschool.info/ or booklets posted in the community. You can post your questions on the web site and we will hold several community information meetings in early December.