By Craig Marx, Editor
The Village of Mattoon was well represented on Tuesday evening as members of the community were given the chance to voice their comments, concerns, and opinions regarding the recent proposal of separation from the Unified School District of Antigo. Heard by members of the school board and school district staff, also present were a handful of naysayers that opposed such a separation from the Antigo-based contingent.
While the overwhelming majority of those present for the public hearing were in support of a separate, brand new Mattoon-administered school district encompassing the southeastern corner of Langlade County, there were also concerns expressed from the opposition. In particular, community members from Phlox and Aniwa voiced concerns about travel times and commutes to what would be a new jurisdiction for them in Mattoon should the district be created.
The concerns over travel times were first discussed by the pro-Mattoon supporters, who were without the services of their community’s school as of this fall. Concerns over the wait on bus times for children that have been relocated to Crestwood Elementary School were of particular note, along with residents noting the Antigo School District as being in the bottom 25% of districts in the state, according to Department of Public Instruction grading.
With the closure of the Mattoon school just a few months ago, solutions to revive and continue the small town operation have been explored. The creation of a new district would then become a financial matter, where a referendum amongst tax payers would decide whether or not to give the green light to the ambitious project of creating a separate school district from the USDA.
The newly-proposed district boundaries would consist of Hwy. 47 to the north, Hwy. 45 to the east (with portions of Aniwa on the west side of the highway included), and the Shawano County line to the south and east. In addition to the aforementioned Phlox and Aniwa area, this district would encompass the towns of Norwood and Rolling also.
The petition reached 1,948 signatures to create the new district, which would include a proposed 230 students, roughly. The per pupil revenue limit would be a maximum of $9,808.35, while the entire new district revenue limit was listed at $2,275,579 based on projection models. Should the new district come to fruition and eventually falter, the USDA would be responsible for absorbing the costs of the separation and new district creation.
A meeting next month to discuss more about the proposed district, including more of its financial aspects, is scheduled. More information will be provided in the meantime.