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A big change for schools on pause | The Weekly Wausonian
Wausau news for Jan. 26, 2023
The Wausau School Board pulled the brakes Monday on a proposal to restructure Wausau Schools from the ground up.
The proposal would have created one high school for grades 10-12 at Wausau West, and includes an expansion of the campus; East would be a junior high covering grades 8-9; Horace Mann and John Muir would cover grades 5-7. Five elementary schools would be cut under the plan.
Finance Director Bob Tess projected the plan would ultimately save the district nearly $30 million over 10 years time, and district leaders say the plan adapts the school to lower enrollments. It is also supposed to help provide more equitable services to all students in the district and streamline operations for staff who find themselves moving between multiple buildings.
But community and board members alike had concerns about the plan. Transporation especially drew ire because it would definitely mean longer busing times, but also concerns that with driver shortages, the district might not even be able to bus all those students. An extreme scenario might see a student riding a bus for more than an hour.
The Wausonian plans a deeper dive into the proposal and everything we’ve learned about it, for this weekend’s long read.
Subscribers this week read about Granite Peak got a larger ski expansion at the last minute, after years of public input on the Rib Mountain Master Plan:
What else in Wausau?
Affordable housing, take two: Gorman and Company have a new plan for affordable housing on the former Westside Battery site. They’re now proposing a four-story, 56-unit building, 6 more units and one more story than they proposed last year. The project was delayed because the company didn’t get the tax credit they needed — this time they had more time to get in early on several tax credit programs so they ought to get one, Gorman representatives say.
Expanding outdoor school: Monk Gardens’ Sprouts program is expanding next school year, Monk Gardens officials say. The program, aimed at 4-5-year-olds who do most of their learning outside regardless of weather, has been popular and the program will begin offering all-day school, as well as before and after school programs. Open enrollment begins Feb. 8, with current families getting first dibs a week early. Find out more at monkgardens.org.
Infant death: A Wausau man is facing homicide charges following the death of his infant son. Police arrested Ronnie Lofton Jr. in connection with the death of his son. Police say the child presented to Wausau Aspirus Hospital three months ago with unexplained brain injuries. The boy died Jan. 14, and Lofton was arrested the next day.
Around the metro
Fishy PFAS: The Wisconsin DNR has issued an advisory for Lake Wausau that its fish might contain unsafe levels of the forever chemical PFAS. DNR officials advise limiting consumption to one meal of crappie, bluegill, rock bass, yellow perch, carp and redhorse.
Coffee closing: Ugly Mug announced it would be closing its doors Jan. 28. The owners announced last week that they will be selling to new owners, who will take over the coffee shop. The space started out as Alister Deacon, then became Paisley Mug before transitioning to Ugly Mug five years ago. Longtime Wausonians will remember the space was once Something’s Brewing. Ugly Mug joins Condor Coffee in Weston in closing recently.
Saturday. Jan. 28: It’s Winter Fest time! The 400 Block turns into a winter extravaganza with sled dog demos, ice sculptors, games, kids activities, sledding, pizza and ice skating, among the far too many things to fit into this little preview. It’s a great time for the whole family! And, if you like beer, be sure to check out Winter Brew Fest the night before at the Jefferson Street Inn banquet center. Find out more, including ticket info for Brew Fest, at wausauevents.org. (Click on the event tab, the link on the main page is broken.)
Friday-Sunday: If you’re looking for a little more adrenaline than the previous listing, Wausau 525 has you covered. This weekend is the Ice Oval Sprint World Cup - watch racers scream their snowmobiles across the ice, reaching for that checkered flag. Friday night qualifying is free with a canned food donation. Main racing is on Saturday and Sunday. Find out more at the event page.
Friday-Saturday: You’d be surprised at the level of production these high schoolers are capable of. Wausau West presents a series of one-act plays written by Wausau West students. There are multiple times Friday and Saturday so see the event page for more details.
Looking for kids/family events? Check out the family-oriented listing from The Wausonian’s partner Wausau Mama, who puts together a weekly listing of children/family activities.
Boys hockey: The Warriors have pulled even with SPASH for first place in the Wisconsin Valley Conference. Wausau West beat Wisconsin Rapids 5-2 on Tuesday to pull even with the Panthers. The Warriors head to SPASH on Thursday to decide who will move to first place in the conference.
Girls hockey: The Central Wisconsin Storm’s hot streak continues as the Storm took out Wisconsin Valley Union 5-0 Tuesday. The Storm are 14-3 on the season and have won seven straight. The Storm hosts Northern Edge 7 pm today (Thursday) at the Greenheck Field House.
Boys basketball: D.C. Everest remains in second place, the top Wausau area team in the Valley. The Evergreens are 5-2, behind 6-0 Marshfield in first place. D.C. Everest will head to Marshfield Friday to challenge the Tigers.
Girls basketball: Wausau West is in third place, the best of Wausau area teams in the Valley. The Warriors beat Merrill 51-38 Tuesday to hold that spot. SPASH leads the Valley with a 7-0 record. The Warriors take on SPASH Friday.
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