Letter: Restoring community confidence in Rhinelander public school(s) by Eric and Nicky Lindman
Does Rhinelander have a healthy community psyche regarding our own public schools? While we have Hodag pride, do we have confidence that our children will receive a quality education if placed in the public school, specifically the public elementary school(s)? Do we promote and speak positively about our district and do we back up our words with our actions?
Consider the fact that communities like River Falls, Hudson and Superior have significantly more people than Rhinelander, but are sending fewer children to private school. Rice Lake, New Richmond, Ashland and Merrill are nearly the same size as Rhinelander, yet send 1/3 the amount of children to private school. What does this say about Rhinelander and how people feel about our public elementary school?
For every child who attends Rhinelander public schools, our district receives $9,200/year in state aid to help educate that child. If your child attends private school or is home schooled, our district does not get that money. If a family has multiple children who do not attend public school, you can understand the magnitude of the loss to our district. We have three children. If we chose to not send them to public school, the combined loss for just our family would be $248,400 to our district for their kindergarten through 8th grade years. How do we begin to address the exodus out of our public elementary schools?
As a community, we need to come together to piece back the reputation of our public school! We need to elevate the excellence, address and dispel the rumors and negativity. It begins with a unified community voice voting “yes” on the referendum. We need more community leaders to invest their greatest asset into our public elementary school, their children. The Rhinelander school district needs to regain the confidence and trust of our community and we need leaders to pave the path. Rhinelander becomes more sellable if we have strong private and public school(s)! Passing the referendum is the beginning, changing the community psyche is the end goal!
On Feb. 19, each of us has the opportunity to help rebuild the academic foundation on which the mighty Hodag stands! Help place a brick of excellence underneath our public school. It is our thoughts, our words and our deeds/actions that will make our community stand out. It begins with you!
Eric and Nicky Lindman, Rhinelander