Contract $98,000; Benefits $15,000
2nd highest paid of state's 424 admin.
Wis. DPI Supt comp. $121,307
Cost per student Mercer $25,281;
Wis. $12,942; Nation $10,667
Mercer ACT & School Report Card
scores lowest of 21 N. Wis. schools

Friday, December 15, 2017

A  Grievous Mistake?
A respected Mercer citizen’s reputation may have been damaged by a misquote and the distortion of his well-intended proposal.  The baseless accusation has appeared in “Letters” columns in three local newspapers and was read at a Mercer School Board meeting by an errant board president.
We are referring, of course, to a Mercer student’s letter which misquoted Rick Duley for what he said at the October School District annual meeting.  The misquote was that he called Mercer students “pathetic.”
Read the following transcript from a recording of what Rick actually said and you be the judge:
“I’m going to ask  you folks (the school board) to pledge that you’ll do everything, come hell or high water, in order to get the ACT scores in this district up, because at this point in time they are pathetic, and basically, these kids couldn’t get into college with these scores.”
Note that Rick said nothing about the students being pathetic.  He said the ACT scores were pathetic and they are.  Mercer’s ACT composite score of 16.6 placed the school at the very bottom of the list of the 21 northern Wisconsin schools.  And Mercer’s DPI School Report Card score of 61.9 – “meets few expectation” -- placed it again at the bottom of that list. (See MSF 9/29/17 Mercer ACT Scores Plummet, 10/8/17 More Bad News, 11/21/17 Mercer 2016-17 DPI Report Card Score.)
School Board President Deanna Pierpont compounded the letter’s error by reading the “pathetic” accusation at the November School Board meeting, certainly knowing that the “pathetic” charge was wrong.  But then not reading it would not have served her purpose or the purpose of Administrator Erik Torkelson.
Irrespective of the above transcript, the whole matter could be cleared up if Torkelson would allow the video of the meeting to be posted on the school’s website, as has been done in the past.  But Torkelson made a unilateral decision, without school board approval, not to show the video.  He also mandated that video recordings would not be made of future school board meetings.
The ability to misuse the “pathetic” statement was probably a deciding factor for not allowing the public to see the video.  But another motivation could have been to prevent the public from seeing and hearing one school board member shout obscenities and another charge at Rick Duley in a threatening manner, only to be stopped by a deputy sheriff.
Fortunately, digital audio recordings of the bizarre events were made by several people.  Eventually the video will probably be ordered to be made public and then these scenes may go viral on YouTube.


  1. Don't hold your breath for an apology. It will never happen, because they have told so many untruths that they have lost track of what is real and what has been concocted.

    This is one of their tactics, make someone else look bad, so they look good.


  3. Can't believe they still have their jobsDecember 16, 2017 at 1:17 PM

    There is no doubt Mercer School needs to clean up its act.

    Let's see: fake hacking scheme, violating freedom of information act, illegally indicating students name at school board meeting (50 Shades Koheygi), threatening slander/libel law suits for stating public facts, indecent exposure on senior class trips, contributing to the delinquency of minors (50 Shades of Grey (Koheygi)), threatening taxpayers, use of profanity, plummeting ACT scores, and illegal campaign flyers, are just some of the alarming acts by the current district administrator Torkelson and his band of dismal & complicit followers.

    And yet these people remain?????

    This is our chance to get Koheygi off the board.

    Let's take advantage of this opportunity for the sake of our kids!


  4. “50 Shades” must go! We need someone on the school board with the intelligence of Christa to help her fix a very bad situation. The declaration of candidacy forms must be into the school before noon Wednesday when the holiday vacation begin or on January 3 when the school resumes. We can’t let an incapable, unqualified person remain on the school board.

  5. It`s much easier to do nothing and look like laughing stocks in Mercer! I know the surrounding areas are shaking their heads at the stupidity!!

  6. Too bad Torky won't allow the video on line. Then everyone could see Noel Brandt, "doing the right thing".

    Really Noel, charging at a taxpayer pleading for the school to improve, is what you consider the right thing?

    Oh, those mixed up Mercer values.

  7. We can't let "50 Shades" Kohegyi, who showed a dirty movie to our kids, go unopposed. She doesn't have the good sense to not run again so someone has to file for the election. The declaration of candidacy form has to be in to the school before noon Wednesday or on January 3. DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN TO OUR KIDS!!!

  8. I hope you were all able to make the board meeting this evening. If you were unable to attend, you missed a poorly run meeting where members of the audience had to assist the board president in the use of "Robert's Rules" and proper meeting etiquette.

    You also missed the District Administrator's attempt to invalidate the state report card which shows Mercer at a 61.9--a score which results in the school meeting few state expectations. While he has disdain for this years score, he strongly believes that the same score derived from the same scoring rubric last year is completely true and without question.

    As the district administrator frequently likes to do, I would invite each of you to visit Mercer School during your free time to observe the daily goings on in the building. This can help with deciding how out of place the state report card score really is.

    Take a look at the students who are allowed to freely roam the building. Watch as older students are allowed to check themselves out of the building at will, frequently without parental consent or notice. Watch as students sit unattended in classrooms playing games on their cell phones as their teachers stand in the hallway chit-chatting with one another. Listen closely and you may even hear some of the teachers and students freely using profanity in the classroom.

    If you start to analyze the school closely, you might start to have questions, such as, "How can a student body, 90% of which is on the honor roll, only be able to muster a 16 point average on the ACT?" An average that has fallen year after year.

    Folks, this is why we desperately need a new school board member. This school is in freefall and requires dramatic action to save the educational futures of these students.

  9. To anonymous on December 19, 2017 at 9:12 PM

    I whole heartily agree with you. Having heard Torkelson say deadlines don't matter, keeping students out of class for the whole day for his projects that by right should have been the responsibility of the custodians/maintenance, having watch him berate some students and treat his pets like they were royalty, does not make for a solid education.

    This is unfortunately what Torkelson refers to as his "gold standard of education".

    Torkelson and his conspirators on the school board are a travesty to education and the community. But you can not totally blame them. We taxpayers also have some responsibility in this. They keep getting voted back into office.


  10. Anonymous on December 19, 2017 at 9:12 PM

    You failed to mention that the only administrator in the district, Torkelson, is frequently out of the building. So he either doesn't see it or doesn't seem to care.

    What a waste of money.

    Where can he possibly be going all the time?

  11. As someone who has spent a good deal of time around Mercer School, I can verify all of the observations from Save Our School and the Anon. to whom he/she replied. If you have not spent much time in the school, I urge you to go at some point after break. Sit in on a class and watch as kids "work" on their computers with headphones in while their teachers sit at their desks and "check emails" or just blatantly play with their phones. Do a couple of laps up and down the hallway and you'll see and hear all kinds of chaos that will make you wonder whether class is even in session--students at their lockers or in rooms where they're not supposed to be, students who were excused to go to the bathroom but never came back to class, music with profane lyrics playing out loud as elementary students are on their way to library or music or art, students who were sent to the office for disciplinary issues but not properly dealt with by the District Administrator... And that's just scratching the surface.

    The only hope for Mercer students is a change of school culture, which can only come with the removal of the District Administrator. This is not likely to happen until we, as tax payers, vote out some of the current school board. I really hope someone with courage to do the right thing runs.

  12. Anonymous on December 20, 2017 at 5:11 PM

    I too agree with these comments. If Mercer School were a licensed day care facility, it would be closed if ever evaluated.

    There are a few teachers that try, but they are fearful of the wrath of Torkelson. Torkelson's usual comment to a teacher trying to maintain discipline is that the student doesn't like the teacher. So they need to back off then.

    Your last lines are the solution.

    "The only hope for Mercer students is a change of school culture, which can only come with the removal of the District Administrator. This is not likely to happen until we, as tax payers, vote out some of the current school board. I really hope someone with courage to do the right thing runs."