Maple Grove parents learn potential impact of Merrill referendum

ATHENS, Wis. (WSAW) -- Two schools in Merrill will be forced to close if a referendum on the ballot in April doesn’t pass. One of them is Maple Grove, a charter school with about 80 students.

The school is known for being hands-on, while students still have regular classes, they also raise chickens and tap maple syrup.

Maple Grove’s parent board held a meeting Monday night so that parents and community members could get their questions about the referendum answered.

For Angie Servi, keeping the elementary school open is especially important now that another generation of her family is attending.
"I went here as a kid and graduated from Merrill High School,” Servi said.

Now, she sits on the parent board. "We wanted an opportunity for our community to come and learn, just be informed about what's going on, what the possible impacts for our school could be,” Servi said.

For Superintendent Dr. John Sample, it was important that he was there to answer everyone’s questions.

"This building has a lot of history, we have a lot of wonderful people here who are worried about this building, So that's my job as superintendent to provide them with information, as much information as I possibly can because April 3rd is going to be very important to us,” Sample said.

He believes getting the referendum passed and keeping Maple Grove open is possible.

Dr. Sample hosts open office hours to answer questions about the referendum every Friday from 4-5 p.m.

Besides keeping Maple Grove open, the upcoming referendum would also support industrial and technical education, maintain current programs, staff and building maintenance.

If the referendum fails, Jefferson Elementary would also close. Washington and Kate Goodrich elementaries would house K through 3, Prairie River Middle School would house 4 through 7 and the high school would house 8 through 12.

If approved, the referendum would cost an estimated $6 per year for each $100,000 property value over the current 2017-2018 tax levy.