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Mattoon decision appealed
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Supporters of a Mattoon school district have appealed the Antigo school board’s rejection of their proposal with the state Department of Public Instruction.

Antigo School district Administrator Brian Misfeldt said he received word of the appeal late Wednesday afternoon, just meeting the filing deadline.

I’m sure the Department of Public Instruction will be sending us a letter outlining the next steps, Misfeldt said.

The petition for review had to be signed by at least 10 percent of electors in the affected school district, in this case Antigo, by Feb. 15.

The boundary appeals board, which is made up of 12 school board members from around the state appointed by the state school superintendent, will hold a public hearing and consult with the school board. That must be done by May 15.

The board could overturn the decision of the local school board only if it finds that the conclusion regarding seven factors are not supported by the facts or were not properly applied.

If the appeals board approves modifications, the issue goes back to the Antigo school for a review and a vote to grant or deny the modified plan. That action must be taken by June 15.

If another petition is not filed following that decision, the boundary review panel can proceed to issue an order granting or denying the district. That must be done by Aug. 21.

The final step, if approval is ultimately granted, would be a referendum election involving voters in Mattoon or perhaps the entire Antigo school district.

According to the DPI requirements, at this stage, fees for boundary commission actions must be paid by the person filing the petition for review of the local board decision.

The appeals comes just over a month after the board voted 8-1 to reject the attempt from Mattoon area residents to create a new school district.

The decision came after the board walked through seven factors, plus possible other mitigating circumstances as laid out by the state DPI that must be considered prior to a decision.

The board dissected individual bullet point included in the administrative review that provided a Cliff Note version of the previous months of meetings, hearings and presentations dating back to last spring, when Mattoon supporters filed a lawsuit to stop the school’s closure.

After considering each factor, the board took an informal show-of-hands vote on whether it had a positive, negative or inconclusive effect on the educational welfare of children in the Antigo and proposed Mattoon districts.

The results of those votes indicated most of the factors would have created a negative effect, with questions related to noncontiguous boundaries and socioeconomic factors considered to be nonapplicable.

The appeal is the latest step in a long saga of the district’s relationship with the Mattoon school.

In July, supporters of the school dropped legal efforts to keep the facility open for the upcoming school year, delivering a petition to district officials seeking the referendum election on creating its own school district instead. The plan was to educate students through sixth grade at first, eventually extending perhaps to grade eight, and share a high school with an adjoining district, probably Antigo.

Mattoon officials and parents had initiated the lawsuit in May, following the school board’s decision to close the school effective at the end of the 2015-16 school year. The complaint, filed in Shawano County, sought an injunction or restraining order against the school closure.

For now, the school building remains closed and the children transferred to other schools—mainly Crestwood—within the Antigo district.

The district has closed several facilities in response to budget shortfalls, changing educational requirements and demographics over the past decade. The roster includes Lily, Aniwa, and River Grove schools.

The appeal comes as the district is wrestling with further consolidations of elementary facilities.
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Mattoon decision appealed
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Supporters of a Mattoon school district have appealed the Antigo school board’s rejection of their proposal with the state Department of Public Instruction.

Antigo School district Administrator Brian Misfeldt said he received word of the appeal late Wednesday afternoon, just meeting the filing deadline.

I’m sure the Department of Public Instruction will be sending us a letter outlining the next steps, Misfeldt said.

The petition for review had to be signed by at least 10 percent of electors in the affected school district, in this case Antigo, by Feb. 15.

The boundary appeals board, which is made up of 12 school board members from around the state appointed by the state school superintendent, will hold a public hearing and consult with the school board. That must be done by May 15.

The board could overturn the decision of the local school board only if it finds that the conclusion regarding seven factors are not supported by the facts or were not properly applied.

If the appeals board approves modifications, the issue goes back to the Antigo school for a review and a vote to grant or deny the modified plan. That action must be taken by June 15.

If another petition is not filed following that decision, the boundary review panel can proceed to issue an order granting or denying the district. That must be done by Aug. 21.

The final step, if approval is ultimately granted, would be a referendum election involving voters in Mattoon or perhaps the entire Antigo school district.

According to the DPI requirements, at this stage, fees for boundary commission actions must be paid by the person filing the petition for review of the local board decision.

The appeals comes just over a month after the board voted 8-1 to reject the attempt from Mattoon area residents to create a new school district.

The decision came after the board walked through seven factors, plus possible other mitigating circumstances as laid out by the state DPI that must be considered prior to a decision.

The board dissected individual bullet point included in the administrative review that provided a Cliff Note version of the previous months of meetings, hearings and presentations dating back to last spring, when Mattoon supporters filed a lawsuit to stop the school’s closure.

After considering each factor, the board took an informal show-of-hands vote on whether it had a positive, negative or inconclusive effect on the educational welfare of children in the Antigo and proposed Mattoon districts.

The results of those votes indicated most of the factors would have created a negative effect, with questions related to noncontiguous boundaries and socioeconomic factors considered to be nonapplicable.

The appeal is the latest step in a long saga of the district’s relationship with the Mattoon school.

In July, supporters of the school dropped legal efforts to keep the facility open for the upcoming school year, delivering a petition to district officials seeking the referendum election on creating its own school district instead. The plan was to educate students through sixth grade at first, eventually extending perhaps to grade eight, and share a high school with an adjoining district, probably Antigo.

Mattoon officials and parents had initiated the lawsuit in May, following the school board’s decision to close the school effective at the end of the 2015-16 school year. The complaint, filed in Shawano County, sought an injunction or restraining order against the school closure.

For now, the school building remains closed and the children transferred to other schools—mainly Crestwood—within the Antigo district.

The district has closed several facilities in response to budget shortfalls, changing educational requirements and demographics over the past decade. The roster includes Lily, Aniwa, and River Grove schools.

The appeal comes as the district is wrestling with further consolidations of elementary facilities.
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ANTIGO DAILY
JOURNAL
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Antigo, WI 54409
Phone: 715-623-4191
Fax: 715-623-4193
Mail to: Fred Berner
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JOURNAL
EXPRESS
612 Superior Street,
Antigo, WI 54409
Phone: 715-623-4191
Fax: 715-623-4193
Mail to: Fred Berner
MapOnUs Location: (local)

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