TORKELSON COMP. $165,963
Contract $98,000; Benefits $30,000
3rd highest paid of state's 424 admin.
Wis. DPI Supt comp. $121,307
Cost per student Mercer $24,910,
Wis. $12,942, Nation $10,667
Mercer DPI Report Card score
lowest of all 422 Wis. schools




Sunday, August 4, 2019


The Mercer School Board 
A NEW BEGINNING? WELL MAYBE

For the first time in eight years the Mercer School may have a Board of Education and Administrator which will focus on quality education and the efficient use of taxpayer dollars.

Two new Board members, selected at the July 30 meeting, will join two recently elected members, Bob Davis and Jim Hannemann.  This is in contrast with a Board which not too long ago lacked the ability to manage school affairs in an open and honest manner.

Recently retired Mercer dentist Dr. Jeff Nehring and retired Racine schoolteacher Sue Loth were selected from a list of five to fill two vacant board seats.  The vacancies were created by the resignations of Karl Anderson and Noel Brandt.   

Now only one holdover from the knavish School Board is still on the Board.  But voters will have a chance to remove Micki Pierce Holmsrom in the Spring 2020 election.  They had earlier ousted clique members Kelly Kohegyi and Denise Thompson.  The cabal was further decimated when Deanna Pierson chose not to seek reelection in the last election, and Noel Brandt resigned and moved out of town.

At least two attempts were made earlier to break up the clique with the election of Karl Anderson and Christa Reinert, who were committed to honest and open management of school affairs.  They were repeatedly harassed, insulted and even threatened.   A smear campaign was successful in edging Christa out of her Board seat in this last Spring’s election.  Karl resigned for some unknown reason. 

Probably the best qualified candidate for appointment to a vacant Board position was not selected at the July meeting.  He is Rich Pegg, a retired attorney who has a long history of working with youth groups and has been active in Mercer community organizations.   As an attorney, he would have been able to provide valuable legal insight into school issues and possibly avoid any future wasting of taxpayer money on outside counsel like was done in the last school year -- $77,108, $37,212 of which was reimbursed by the school’s insurer.

Another opportunity for rebuilding a sadly lacking academic program may involve the selection of Sheri Kopka as interim Administrator.  She was the school’s science teacher when chosen to replace Administrator Erik Torkelson who had a stroke in June.  At its July meeting the Board approved a $90,000 one-year contract for Kopka.

To gain greater community involvement Kopka said at the July meeting that she would appoint a citizens’ advisory committee.  She said that the committee would work on creating a new school vision and a strategic plan for continuous improvement “which will guide our work here at the school”.

Let’s hope that Kopka chooses wisely and avoids putting any of the old clique Board members or their followers on the committee.

3 comments:

  1. Einstein said, the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again but expect different results!! Kopka is "All in"! - there won't b a change!! Two different students and a teacher stated that administration and "a teacher" removed students from class the last week of school to all meet in the library and "fix their grades", open book finals and the eatimated 20 students that were failing were no longer failing!! Oh and there's two teachers license on the line for cheating accusations, no explanation/documentation provided by business manager as to administrator's allocated sick days, vacation etc. Nothing will ever change at that school because the parents don't get involved or ask tough questions, the board doesn't question the administration or do the right thing! Oh and then how does the board explain approving $7,500 and $2,500 pay raises to janitor and business manager when there is no budget in place. Meanwhile the Fund balance was depleted to $230K at June's meeting and the expenditures report shows $700+K surplus. This doesn't add up!! Hey BOARD OF EDUCATION WAKE UP!!

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  2. What is wrong with the people of Mercer! Have you no brains , or don`t you value your children??? Wake up!!

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  3. There's optimistic, thinking things will change in Mercer. And then there is realistic, the fact that things will remain the same.

    If no new ideas (people) come in as administration, there is no reason to believe things will be any different.

    Mercer must be deaf, dumb and blind.

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