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

Sunday, October 27, 2019

“Save Our Students”
Just when Mercer residents were beginning to hope that the new school board and administrator would turn out to be fiscally responsible and begin to stop the waste of their school tax dollars, what happens?  The board and administrator propose a record-high 2019-20 budget.

Under this budget, total school expenditures will rise an alarming 9% to $3,831,953 for 2019-20, compared with an actual 2018-19 spending of $3,518,955.  

And just after settling a $185,465 penalty with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction for misusing Community Services Fund 80 that cost taxpayers $161,515 including legal expenses, what does the new school board do?  It raises Fund 80 spending 31% to $192,934 for 2019-20 from $147,774 in 2018-19.

The original 2018-19 Fund 80 budget was reopened and certain expenditures “that did not belong there” were moved out “to stave off a huge potential issue” with the DPI, according to School Board President Bob Davis.  He said that “significant corrections” were made to demonstrate compliance.  The school district faces a DPI audit in December for Fund 80 compliance.  Of course, Mercer residents have known for years that Fund 80 was being misused and that much of the money was used to pad the payrolls of the former administrator and his select pet staff members.  

In the new budget, the school board did propose some encouraging signs toward weaning the school off the wasteful Fund 80 spending.   However, it kept several programs which should be on a fee-for-services basis.  For instance, the proposed budget continues to provide free baby-sitting services for two- and three-year-olds at taxpayer expense. These services should be paid for by the users.  A big mistake is keeping the free meals for anyone, something taxpayers should not be paying.  

All but 3 of the 15 budgetary line items in the proposed 2019-20 budget will be higher.  Administration and school board costs will rise 10%, even though the administrator is gone, and he was paying himself far in excess of what his contract allowed.  Operation and maintenance costs will go up 13%.  

Mercer school taxes may be lower, but it will not be because of wise or conservative budgeting by the school board.  It will be due to an increase in the district’s property valuation and the unwise use of the school’s General Fund  balance.  Just a few years ago, the district’s fund balance was about $1 million.  The school board will go through $295,196 of the General Fund balance to cover the 2019-20 shortfall between expenditures and tax revenues.  It will start the year with $503,107 and end with $206,911. 

The DPI advises that school district’s maintain “appropriate” fund balances" with “an amount sufficient that short term borrowing for cash flow could be avoided and would also allow the district to set aside sufficient assets to realize its longer-range goals." However, Mercer’s could not be considered “appropriate.”

A Mercer School Facts blogsite commenter probably said it better than the blogsite editors could.  Here is what “Save Our Students” had to say about the proposed budget:
If you never used the walking track? Attend the Annual Meeting. (5 p.m. Monday, October 28)
If you have never taken $400 for sitting in the Paw Shop? Attend the Annual Meeting.
If you never had your "free" lunch at the school? Attend the Annual Meeting.
If you never used the school playground? Attend the Annual Meeting.
If you never used the ice hockey rink? Attend the Annual Meeting.
If you never used the School's Forest Trails? Attend the Annual Meeting.
If you never used the school's WI-Fi? Attend the Annual Meeting.
If you never used the school computers? Attend the Annual Meeting.
If you never used the school's weight room? Attend the Annual Meeting.
If you don't think the school employees should get bonuses? Attend the Annual Meeting.
If you don't think the kids are getting the education they deserve and what you are paying for? Attend the Annual Meeting.
If you think that Mercer School is still being mismanaged? Attend the Annual Meeting.
If like me you find all of these things a gross misuse of taxpayer funds, Attend the Annual Meeting.
Attend the Annual Meeting and vote NO to the 2019-2020 Mercer School Budget.




  1. All I can say is that if the taxpayers don't feel it is important to do something about all of the school's problems, then they are getting what they deserve. Too bad the students suffer the most for it.

  2. Only 43 people showed up to annual meeting? Why does MSF bother anymore. Everyone talks a big game about going, but doesn’t care enough to go. Or a lot of comments are from people who don’t live here. Ugh. Sad when my voice there tonight is not supported by people who said they were going.

    1. It's not just sad, it's disturbing that parents care so little about their children's futures.

  3. The false academics achievement sign is gone. That is a good thing.