Merrill school board moves forward - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Merrill school board moves forward


 By Anna Carrera - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MERRILL (WAOW) -- The Merrill School Board hoped to get some community involvement in planning next year's budget and hundreds of people showed up at last week's meeting. Now they work on a plan to move forward and keep as many programs as they can.

More than 1,000 students put pencil to paper inside Merrill High School, but not all their lessons are taught inside the school's walls.

For Pete McConnell's tech ed class, the world is their classroom -- starting in the school parking lot.

"We find that they actually do well in their core classes by learning math and science, English and different skills through building a house and through doing the different projects that we do," said McConnell.

From September to May, McConnell's students brave the elements to build a house outside the school. But with the program potentially on the chopping block because of district-wide budget cuts, he said his students are concerned.

"Would they make us take five more of these classes? Or five more of those kinds of classes? And they said, if that's what would happen, we're not coming to school because we come to school because of these kind of classes because this is what we want to learn about," said McConnell.

Last week's town hall meeting attracted hundreds of community members, which is exactly what the school board hoped for.

"We were thrilled to get that type of turn out," said Merrill School Board President Jeff Verdoorn. "We really want community involvement in the decisions we make and community involvement in our school system."

Now, the board has some decisions to make. Members said they plan to wait and see how much the state will be able to help before deciding where to go from here.

"We take all the learning from last week, from the previous four months and we apply them to essentially make the best decision for the cuts that we essentially know that we have to make," said Verdoorn.

Other cuts could include discontinuing other programs and getting rid of two entire schools: Pine River and Maple Grove. McConnell said he hopes people in Merrill will come together when it matters most.

"People talk about haves or have-nots but in a school like this, our community works very, very hard to provide lots and lots of opportunities for kids because there are so many different types of learners," said McConnell.



The school board met Wednesday night but not specifically to address the budget. Verdoorn said they're ahead of the curve since other districts typically wait until April or May to make big budget decisions. The board still welcomes input from the community.

Online Reporter: Anna Carrera

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