Cost per student Mercer $25,097,
Wis. $13,505, Nation $11,762
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. districts

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

The DPI School Report Card


The Mercer School District will have to wait until possibly November 2021 before it could be removed from a list that ranked it as the worst school district in the state of Wisconsin.  

At least, that seems to be the case as the result of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction decision to suspend the grading of schools with its annual School Report Card.  Mercer School District President Bob Davis announced the DPI’s decision to suspend the annual Report Card process at Monday night’s School Board meeting. 

Ordinarily the DPI report card would have been issued this coming November, and the expectation was that the Mercer School would have dug itself out of the poor position it found itself in under the previous administration and former School Board.  Davis said that the new School Board and Administrator Sheri Kopka have been working on areas to improve but that now, without a report card, the district will not be able to demonstrate those improvements.  

The 2018-19 DPI report card placed the Mercer School District at the very bottom of the state’s 421 school districts with a score of 50.4 -- fails to meet expectations -- the only school in that category.  It was the third consecutive year that Mercer’s score hit near rock bottom.  The district had scores of 55.9 and 61.9 – meets few expectations – for 2017-18 and 2016-17. 

These three years of tragic scores happened during what should be the last of Administrator Erik Torkelson’s reign of mismanagement.  He was placed on medical leave after experiencing a stroke last June.

Also, at Monday night’s Mercer School Board meeting the board went into what has become its usual closed session “to discuss administrator leave status, and to potentially take action regarding same.”  After the two hour and three-minute closed session it was AGAIN reported that “no action was taken.”

However, during the closed session the board did give Kopka a performance review which was “very positive,” according to the board’s new clerk Sue Loth. Details of the performance review were not disclosed. 

Loth was elected to the clerk’s position by the other board members during the routine April meeting election of officers.  Bob Davis was again elected president, Jeff Nehring vice president and Jim Hannemann treasurer. 


  1. Save Our StudentsMay 5, 2020 at 4:11 PM

    Did the school ever get proof whether Torkelson can or can't actually work? Or are they still naive enough to take him at his word?

  2. Tricky situation trying to fire somebody who is on medical leave regardless of who they are. Could be very costly in legal fees.

  3. Exactly how long does it take to have an accountant go through the school books and find out where all the money has gone and to whom? Then have the criminal charges filed? I believe they call the crime embezzlement.

    What is the new board waiting for?