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Northwood School District asks Legislature to move budget hearing

A northern Wisconsin school district has asked the state Legislature not to hold a public hearing on its property, state Rep. Robin Vos, R-Burlington, said Monday.

The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee had planned to hold a budget hearing at the Northwood School District in Minong, but has backed out at the district’s request.

District officials, Vos said, contacted lawmakers with concerns that a public hearing might bring disruption and vandalism to the rural school district.

“They have, in the nicest way, said would it not be better for our committee to go somewhere else besides Minong,” said Vos, chairman of the JFC. The district was concerned, Vos added, over how it would pay for potential damage caused to school buildings by protesters.

“Some of the things they were worried about were already beginning, because (online) it’s being discussed as a rally, not as a public hearing,” Vos said. “We just want to reiterate the reason we go around Wisconsin is to hear from citizens, and it is not to rally on one side or the other.

“People are free to do whatever they want to outside the building. We can’t control that, but inside the building, it is not going to be a rally or a disturbance. It’s going to be an opportunity for people to testify, just like they did for our budget repair bill.”

The hearing, Vos said, would be moved to University of Wisconsin-Superior, which he wryly noted was “literally 400 miles from my house.”

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