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ACT scores show schools

provide quality education

There may be reason to debate the way in which Wisconsin funds its public education system with such a heavy emphasis on property taxes, but there is little room for argument that school districts here are doing a great job of educating our youth.

 

Seniors in the class of 2013 at Northland Pines, Phelps and Three Lakes who took the American College Test (ACT) scored far above the national average and two schools scored better than the Wisconsin average — a state that is again ranked third in the nation.

 

Three Lakes led the way, turning in an average composite score of 22.8. The district was very close to an average score of 23, which it topped handily the past two years to lead the sprawling Cooperative Education Service Agency (CESA) No. 9 — which includes large schools such as Antigo, D.C. Everest, Merrill, Rhinelander and Lakeland.

 

Three Lakes officials credit a long-term project titled “cultural change.” It began in the 2004-’05 school year with a results-oriented focus on fewer disciplinary problems, a drop in failing grades and improved test scores. Since that year, detention numbers and the percentage of students with even one failing grade have plummeted.

 

Seniors at Pines turned in an average composite score of 22.3, down slightly from last year but still one of the district’s best scores in the past five years. Phelps seniors scored 21.1, below the state average but above the national average. One of the smallest schools in the state, Phelps has very few seniors taking the test each year.

 

The ACT?is a curriculum-based test of educational development in English, mathematics, reading and science. College-bound students in districts here are as prepared as any in the state, which is a great reflection of the classroom work being done by teachers, principals, administrators and just as important, parents at home.

 

Supporting local education through property taxes might be a tough pill to swallow for some property owners, especially those without children or grandchildren in school. But we’d argue that education is vital to the future of our country, and that these ACT?test scores once again show tax dollars are funding quality education.

Wheel tax is unpopular,

but other options limited

A Vilas County Board committee recently rejected the idea of a $10 wheel tax for the 21,000 vehicles registered here, which would have raised $210,000 annually for road work.

 

We agree with the committee’s decision mostly because a great deal of the wear and tear on county roadways can be attributed to vacationers and weekend visitors, and they would escape the new tax burden.

 

However, a county in dire financial straits doesn’t have the time to wait around for the perfect solution. Vilas has to get serious about cutting expenses and raising revenue. Supervisors can’t continue to steal from the general fund in order to balance the budget.

 

Bottom line — there are few alternatives.

Behind the editorial ‘we’

 

Members of the Vilas County News-Review editorial board include Publisher Kurt Krueger, Editor Gary Ridderbusch and Assistant Editor Anthony Drew.
Tuesday, September 03, 2013 2:56 PM
 

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