Towards next Assembly session
4:11 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Assembly To Discuss Rural Education Issues

Dr. Mike Ritchie
Dr. Mike Ritchie
Credit Northland Pines School District
  Educators are optimistic some key points brought out during the recent Rural School Task Force will be part of the agenda in coming legislative sessions. Northland Pines District Administrator Mike Ritchie says while it's too late for a bill this session,  as Thursday is likely the final day for the Assembly this term, he says the discussion will set the stage for a focus on three key issues. He says one idea is similar to what happens for doctors who choose to work in rural areas...  

"....loan forgiveness for rural teachers. When you get that teacher just out of college that has thousands of dollars in school loans and they're making about $33,000 for a first year teacher, they're talking about a $10,000 loan forgiveness for a teacher in a rural school district...."

 Legislators will also be talking about sparcity aid, or allowing more aids to districts with low enrollments. Ritchie says for Northland Pines, that could mean a sizeable chunk of money...  

"....so we'd qualify for sparcity aid for the first time in history. That alone could mean hundreds of thousands of dollars not only for Northland Pines but other districts in northern Wisconsin or districts like Northland Pines...."

 Ritchie says another point is increasing the amount given for Special Education. He says all three points would be major boosts for rural school districts.A longer interview  with Mike Ritchie will he heard at 7:30 a.m. 3/20/2014.