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

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The 2019 Annual Meeting
It is rare for Mercer residents to experience a well-run and transparent School District annual meeting.  But that is what happened on October 28 when about 50 citizens attended what in previous sessions were often boisterous and contentious.  This time the meeting was conducted in a business-like manner by Chairperson Bob Davis, who is also school board president.

Voters authorized the school board to set the tax levy rate at $4.82 per $1,000 assessed property valuation for the 2019-20 school year.  This is lower than 2018-19 rate of $5.13.  Projected total revenues of $2,797,753 will fall short of record-high expenditures of $3,831,953.  The shortfall will be unwisely made up in part by using the General Fund 10 balance instead of adopting a more conservative/reduced budget.   (See MSF 10/27/19 Save Our Students)

The way Davis conducted the meeting was a pleasant departure from about a decade of annual meetings when stumbling and bumbling leadership was frustrating.  Take, for instance, the 2017 annual meeting, presided over by Deanna Pierpont, when pandemonium broke out.  School board member Micki Pierce-Holmstrom shouted out obscenities and then board President Noel Brandt in a menacing manner charged at a senior citizen who was trying to make a point about the board needing to do something about the school’s dismal ACT scores.  A deputy sheriff intervened.

Also, at earlier meetings, former Administrator Erik Torkelson and his school board stooges would pack the house with beneficiaries of their patronage system to assure that all votes would go their way.  Last year’s meeting was attended by more than 150 persons, compared with 50 this year.

Davis and interim Administrator Sheri Kopka were able to peacefully maneuver through a lengthy and routine agenda which included a review of the school district’s 2019-20 budget, authorizing the school board to set the tax levy rate and setting school board member salaries.  The board member salary remains unchanged at $2,500 a year.

Most of the votes approving agenda items were unanimous, again a rare departure from the past.   And in a true democratic manner paper ballots were handed out.  Only one had to be used, and that was for voting on the levy rate which passed 43 to 3.  In earlier annual meetings much of the voting was done by a show of hands, with the count often being suspicious.

Mercer residents could easily get use to a sane and responsible school administration and school board.  Let’s hope more is to come.


  1. That's it, keep spending like there is no end to the money supply!

    How foolish.

  2. I just read your blog. Good work having a calm, respectful meeting. Hope is on the way.