Contract $98,000; Benefits $30,000
Wis. DPI Supt. comp. $121,307
Cost per student Mercer $20,146,
Wis. $12,942, Nation $10,667
ACT comp. score Mercer 17.0,
Wis. 19.6, Lakeland UHS 20.0,
Hurley 18.7; perfect score 36.0
Mercer DPI Report Card score
lowest of all 422 Wis. schools

Monday, April 1, 2019

A Board Member’s Disturbing Disclosures 


Admission of over payment of the administrator’s salary and benefits, denials of access to public records which a school board member should be routinely provided, false accusations defaming the board member… these are just some of the facts Christa Reinert exposes in the following.  Some of these issues have been discussed in other forums, but this is the first time we get these facts straight from a school board member.

First of all, I want to thank each and every one of you for your unwavering support over the last three years.   As you all know my school board position has been tumultuous at best.  I continue to fight the battle because I truly care about the students and their future at Mercer School as well as the staff members who may not agree with the current state of the school.  I have always tried to prepare for each meeting, asking many questions, not to "harass any one staff member", but simply to do my job as an elected official.  When I am told to file an open record request by Erik Torkelson and Tricia Thompson, who are the administration, it becomes obvious there are things I shouldn't see!  

After filing my October 2018 Open Record Request (ORR), which asked for an explanation of my estimated overpayment (calculations were based on Lori Boltz's breakdown) to Erik Torkelson in 2017-18 of $11,504, I NEVER GOT A RESPONSE!  So, I filed another ORR in December 2018, and I got certified mail December 22, 2018, verifying that Mr. Torkelson was overpaid, and the business managers' explanation was an accounting error. The admitted overpayment of $10,400 was for the combined years of 2017/18 and part of the current year. Yet my estimate is strictly from 2017/18, so this raises more questions)  Then without the five-member School Board's involvement the business manager along with Ms. Gerbig (school attorney) and Erik Torkelson came to an agreement -- BEHIND CLOSED DOORS –- in November for Mr. Torkelson to repay this $10,400 (Yet I did not get my response to the October ORR and I only got a response when I refiled the request for the explanation in December)!  PLEASE NOTE:  I DO NOT AGREE to the repayment method or the school's interpretation of the overpayment that I outlined in my ORR.   

I am currently waiting for the school's attorney, Ms. Gerbig, to fill another ORR and this ORR asks for 1) The Business Manager Lori Boltz's contract that I never received in three years, 2) An explanation of my estimated (again based on Lori Boltz's calculations of his payroll) overpayments to Erik Torkelson dating back to 2011/12 through 2017/18.  Two problems arise with this, I still have not received any answer and the ORR was filed March 8, 2019, and the school attorney is filling the request.  The Administrator, Erik Torkelson, in open session at the School Board meeting on March 25 stated he is "the record keeper".  Therefore, he should be filling ALL ORR not the expensive school attorney who is not the record keeper!  PLAINLY PUT!! 

So again, all the documents I have ever asked for were not given to me in a transparent manner, I've been forced to file ORR!  This is not good practice for a public entity and an elected official.  

In reference to the "ANONYMOUS" mailer that defamed me I will say a few things to that.  I told Mr. Miller that I would not speak to him any longer as his family and the Schoeneman's filed a lawsuit against myself and my extended family for an egging incident even though my son apologized to both teachers with the Sheriff's Dept. present and offered to clean up everything in less than 12 hours of the incident.  But instead of setting a good example and using the incident as a "teaching moment" they sued us for damages!   

Regarding the Restraining Order incident, that was all fabricated by school officials to say I had threatened Robyn Schoeneman and her livelihood.  The historically correct, anonymous defaming letter that I was accused of writing was the basis for the Restraining Order; however, I was exonerated by the author who claimed his letter after the fact!   And the real problem lies with the community members who are OK with teachers and coaches showing a nearly X-Rated movie to students while they are supposed to be setting an example for our students!  Additional behavior I find disturbing is the fact that Kelly Kohegyi did not shake my daughter's hand after a volleyball competition, an expected procedure between a coach and a player. She was supposed to be setting a good example for our kids!  Oh, that's right Kelly Kohegyi said at a January 2017 board meeting "everyone knows I don't set a good example" after I said "Hello” to her and said I thought we could start off with a new year and get along"!! 

There are so many unprecedented behaviors I could address here but my last comment refers to those people who feel compelled to use my children's right to open enroll as leverage against me and as a political tool to defame me are disgusting, ignorant people.  And some of them are district staff and past/present board members.  The "ANONYMOUS" mailer that is for POSITIVE ACTION for the school is not setting good examples for our young people AT ALL or creating a POSITIVE atmosphere for our students! Also, it is really disturbing to see retired residents disparaging my son on Facebook!  PLEASE NOTE:  My two intelligent, high achieving kids were not removed by me from Mercer School. They "REFUSED" to continue attending Mercer School—but it the first time we get them straight from a school board member. get the facts!  

Again, thank you all for your continued support and I hope you will consider a vote for myself and Jim Hannemann to gain the majority on the board and establish a TRANSPARENT BOARD.  This will allow us to address the tough issues to ensure our students the best education we can afford them and treat our taxpayers who support our school with RESPECT!  GET OUT & VOTE APRIL 2.  With tons of gratitude and thanks, Christa Reinert   


  1. I’m sure Christa has enough damaging information to warrant a major investigation. She’s been digging into this for us taxpayers for the last three years. Thats why Torkelson and his gang and her opponents are fighting so hard to get her off the board.

  2. Thank YOU Christa, for all you have done and endured over the past three years. I have witnessed the personal attacks on you and your family. Thank you for hanging in there and continuing to fight for what is right. You and Jim Hannemann have my support in tomorrow's election.

  3. Damn! It’s embarrassing and downright cruel the way the committee for negative action continues to try to degrade an honest elected member of the Mercer School board. We see now how much the current administration and his minions have to lose. This is not Business. As. Usual. We must come together as a community to end this travesty of democracy! Thank you, Christa and Karl, for representing us, the honest Mercer Taxpayers. Please please get out and vote April 2nd. Our childrens future and your tax bills depend on Christa and Jim winning!

  4. Then she should turn it doesnt matter if shes one the board or not...if she has the proof then tuen it in

    1. I have turned in info that's how the DPI resolution was met! I submitted my concerns of fund 80 spending to the DPI in august 2017 after then board president Pierpont insisted NO ONE was paid from fund 80! Did u all read the Iron Cty Miner where I outline fund 80 spending since Erik's tenure totalling over $320,000 paid to three administrative positions and two maintenance positions!! And I continue he to forward my open record requests to the Iron County DA, Matt Tingstad! The question lies with the DPI and the DA, when will they follow through? Get out and vote today for myself and Jim for a much needed change, a TRANSPARENT BOARD! Thank you

  5. Did you see that someone moved the trailer with the big WANTED-REWARD sign of Torkelsons candidates from the lot between Nancys Bait shop and Toms Cafe to a spot right near the polling place in the library. While where it is might be legal it certainly tells us something about the bad taste and ethics of these two candidates. My family and I will never go in those two businesses again and I will tell my friends to do the same.

    1. This is reason enough to NOT vote for Davis and Chaney. If they allow this happen it shows very poor judgment and we sure don’t want that kind of thinking with responsibility for the education of our children and the honest spending of our tax dollars. I’m voting the Reinert and Hanneman.

  6. A documented overpayment of $10,400 and former business manager saying it was just for one year? Could the same error have been made for Torkelson’s other years of employment and who was responsible? This could add to six figures.

  7. The traveling billboard is the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen. If I was a candidate with my face plastered on this, with balloons attached now, directly across from the polling place, I would be furious and demanding this be taken down. It would be hilarious if it wasn’t so obviously disgusting and ridiculous. Any voter that would be swayed by this ridiculous sign shouldn’t be voting. Good luck Christa and Jim! May common sense prevail at the polls today