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 421 Wis. schools

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

A Misquote?

Maybe it was a misquote, but if it wasn’t you have to wonder if newly appointed Mercer School Board member Jeff Nehring really knew what was “going on” when he was quoted in the Daily Globe as saying:

“I think a group of people in the town…thought there was a lot more going on than there was.  When you are on a board you know what is going on more than someone who is not and doesn’t have a clue.”

Is Nehring referring to the “group of people in town” as not knowing what was “going on” and not having “a clue” those who have raised significant questions about the operation of the school?  These concerns include, but are not limited to:

§  Extremely poor academic results which placed Mercer in very last place of the state’s 422 school districts rated by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction with its annual School Report Card scores.  It has also been well below the state and national averages with its ACT composite scores.

§  A DPI investigation into the Mercer’s School’s test administration and scoring scandal?  Two teachers could face revocation of their teaching licenses.

§  The Mercer School District was forced to pay $124,515, plus about $37,000 in unreimbursed legal costs, to settle a claim by the DPI for improperly using Fund 80 Community Services funds.  The DPI had originally claimed that $185,465 had been misused. The School Board must now develop a proper Fund 80 budget for 2019-20.

§  An unresolved issue concerning the pay of Administrator Erik Torkelson.  His contract was for $98,000, plus benefits of about $30,000 for a maximum total of about $128,000 a year.  But somehow, he managed to pay himself well in excess of that amount every year since his mother-in-law Kelly Kohegyi hired him, including $168,641 in 2016-17 and $165,962 in 2017-18.

So, are these some of the issues that Nehring said “a group of people in town thought there was a lot more going on than there was”?

Or what about Nehring’s statement to the Globe that “when you are on the board you know what is going on more than someone who is not?”  Well, Christa Reinert and Karl Anderson were on the School Board and should have known “what was going on” but most of the time did not because they were consistently denied information and records which they should have been routinely entitled to as School Board members?  They were also intimidated and threatened in their attempts to learn what was really “going on”.

In any event, Nehring’s statement in the Globe is puzzling.  We certainly hope that when he begins his School Board term at the August meeting he will focus on what was really “going on” and direct his efforts (and language) to repairing a system which tolerated poor academic results and mismanagement and misspending.


  1. When I first read this blog I though MSF might be treating Nehring unfairly because he is just beginning his term. But then when I read the Globe article it became clear that his statements were irresponsible and indicated that he doesn’t have the foggiest notion of what has been “going on” and what is wrong at the school.

    1. Consolidate the school with a larger district. It is extremely apparent no one in Mercer knows how to run a school.

      Do it for the students well being.

  2. It appears that you have another school board that you can`t trust!! Some of the board members need to speak up and finally tell the truth to the public! Sounds like Torkelson wants to come back real soon! That just tells me he doesn`t want any of his dirty deeds to get out!!
    What a shame the kids suffer!!!