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The Tomahawk Leader is a state and national prize-winning weekly newspaper serving the scenic Northwoods area in and around Tomahawk, WI.

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PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2007 4:27 pm 
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A letter in the May 8 Tomahawk Leader:

Dear Editor:
In my “Introduction to Developmental Psychology” class at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point I was told that the earliest years are the most important in the learning process. At the Dec. 20, 2006, regular MAPS meeting Jon Krohn eloquently asked “Who will speak for the little ones?” as the school board made cuts to the Head Start program.

Regarding 4-year-old kindergarten, yes, it is available in Tomahawk and Marathon public schools and in some Merrill parochial schools, but no mention has been made as to when this will come to MAPS. (The state of Wisconsin helps pay for this vital schooling.)

In the 2003-04 school year, Dr. Sarnstrom (who stands by her published numbers), in her first year as superintendent of schools, allowed Kate Goodrich Elementary Principal Mark Jahnke (or was this someone else’s idea?) to assign two third grade teacher 29 students each and the third teacher got 16 students (MAPS 2006-2007 Budget Book). Was this due to federal SAGE money? What were the two teachers told regarding their having 13 extra students? Is this fair? Were they threatened then or before? (An expert elementary principal once told me 22 was the ideal maximum in grades K-5.)

In the 2004-05 school year those same three classes went to 30, 29 and 19. Feel free to ask the same questions noted in the previous paragraph.

On May 23, 2006, MAPS released the results of the WKC examination taken by students in November of 2005. I was concerned about unusually low scores at Midway Elementary. After 12 months, I think I have it figured out. Keep in mind the principal knew by this past July that he would be the eighth principal released by the MAPS Board of Education in the last two years. I have also been told by informed individuals, that, while Dr. Sarnstrom is aware of the problem (since at least December of 2006), she is doing nothing about it.

And now the April 18, 2007, school board (as opposed to the April 23, 2007, school board which began its 2007-08 duties at about 5:45 p.m. on April 23, 2007) implies that we taxpayers ought to allow anyone age 21-80 who does not have a high school diploma to attend the Merrill Adult Diploma Academy Charter School at no cost to them, while approximately 360 K-5 students spend time being taught/learning in portable classrooms. (See the March 27, 2007, Wausau Daily Herald front page headline: Portable Classrooms Cost Kids Instruction Time, Teacher Says.

Why does the April 17, 2007, school board and Dr. Sally Sarnstrom seem to not care so much about anybody younger than 11? Is it because they don’t think we will hold them accountable in 2012 through 2018, or is it because they plan on moving out of the district like Colin Niemeyer?
Sincerely,
Wolfgang Cahn
Merrill

P.S. I personally do not believe Mark Jahnke should become the ninth principal to leave MAPS in the last two year.


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