Local News Briefs Thursday 10/29/15

Thiesfeldt Opt Out Bill Moving Through The State Legislature

State Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt’s so-called “opt out” bill is moving through the state legislature. It passed in the Assembly on a voice vote, which Thiesfeldt says is evidence that there isn’t as much concern now about allowing parents to have their children “opt out” of state standardized testing. The bill also passed the Senate’s Education Reform Committee and is waiting to be scheduled for a full Senate vote. The bill would allow parents of students in 3rd through 12th grade to opt out of testing. Right now only students in 4th, 9th, 10th and 11th grades can do that. The state lawmaker from Fond du Lac says the bill would make the “opt out” more consistent. Thiesfeldt says he doesn’t see a mass “opt out” movement developing in the state if the bill passes into law.

NFDL Superintendent Comments On Referendum Legislation

North Fond du Lac Schools Superintendent Aaron Sadoff says legislation at the State Capitol that would limit when school districts can hold a referendum is trying to fix a problem that doesn’t exist. Sadoff says he spoke with State Representative Michael Schraa of Oshkosh about the legislation. He says the information Schraa had that led him to authoring the bill was incorrect. Sadoff says it’s about legislators who don’t trust schools. He says in the case of Lomira in February of 2014 they were hoping to pass a $24 million referendum that month so construction could start while students were off for the summer. But he says the cost of building materials also is a factor with costs constantly rising. Sadoff says traditionally area school districts have done a good job of providing information to voters when there is a referendum being put before them. He says school districts are trying to get the resources they need to help their schools do well. 

Waupun Common Council Gets Budget Preview

Waupun’s Common Council this week got a look at the 2016 budget. The total proposed budget is $10.2 million with a tax levy of just under $2.6 million. The levy is $19,000 less than last year, but city tax rates for Dodge and Fond du Lac County residents will increase. The rate for Dodge County residents goes up by 15 cents to $6.71 and for Fond du Lac County residents living in Waupun by 39 cents to $6.81. A public hearing and adoption of the budget is scheduled for the Council’s Tuesday, November 24th meeting.

Planning For The Next Waupun K9

The Waupun Police Department’s K9 Yako isn’t ready to retire yet, but that day is coming and the department is already planning on a replacement. Chief Dale Heeringa says the dog is 8 years old and probably has a couple years left on the force, but they want to get a jump on fundraising for the next K9 and handler. He says Yako has done well in both detecting drugs and in searches. In fact he recently helped apprehend a man who was combative and had barricaded himself in a basement. He says Yako’s handler, Officer Trevor Kreitzman, decided not to continue as a K9 handler so in addition to raising money for a new dog they will have to train a new handler. He says they do have an idea of how much it may take for that. He anticipates a cost of about $12,000, but he says they do have equipment for the program so they won’t have to deal with having to purchase a lot of equipment.

Wisconsin Graduation Rate Third Highest In The Country

Wisconsin public schools in 2014 had the third highest graduation rate in the nation at 88.6 percent. According to the state’s Department of Public Instruction Wisconsin tied with New Jersey for third place. Iowa finished first with a graduation rate of 90.5 percent, followed by Nebraska at 89.7 percent. Wisconsin’s graduate rate was six-tenths of a percent higher in 2014 than the previous year. 

Leave Burning Not Allowed In City Of FDL

The Division Chief of Fire Prevention for Fond du Lac Fire and Rescue reminds residents that they can’t burn leaves and yard debris in the City. Troy Haase says only wood in a fire pit can be burned. He says leaves are too unpredictable when they burn and to keep in one place. He says they can also burn right up to a house or garage and start them on fire. He says in rural areas you don’t usually have to worry about how close together homes are. He says the fire department has already received quite a few complaints about people burning leaves this fall. The City does have a leaf collection program and a yard waste drop off site.

Hoth Retiring From BBB Of Wisconsin

The Better Business Bureau of Wisconsin says President and CEO Randall “Ran” Hoth will retire next October. A search committee will appoint his successor. Hoth’s retirement takes effect on October 1st of 2016.  During his 18-year-tenure with the BBB he expanded the BBB of Greater Milwaukee into the Better Business Bureau of Wisconsin, which provides business owner accreditation support for 6,500 businesses throughout the state.