Thursday, February 21, 1980         Vol. 10             Serving Eau Claire and West Central Wisconsin    No. 217    2 Sections         32 Pages        25 Cents

Students at Rice Lake end high school demonstration


RICE LAKEHigh school students returned to class this morning in Rice Lake, ending a 11/2 - day sit-in organized to show support for four teachers whose contracts will not be renewed by the school district.

According to school officials, most of the students went back to classes about 10:30 a.m. A few left the school.

The students had gathered in the high school auditorium for the first part of the morning and listened to remarks from teachers, student lead­ers and Principal Robert J. Herzog concerning the non-renewals.

According to school officials, the sit-in had been orderly and there had been no incidents. More than 200 posters and signs had been placed in the high school. building calling for support of the teachers and participation in the sit-in, they said.

Herzog said he discussed the situ­ation with students this morning and answered questions. He had expected the students to return to classes today, he said.

Herzog and Superintendent Eugene Baits meet with five or six different student groups Wednesday to explain the district's position and answer questions

Most teachers did report to classrooms Wednesday, and some stu­dents attended classes, but the educa­tional process was shut down for the most part, according to school of­ficials.

Students in the auditorium played some records and cheered in support of the teachers when a television cam­era crew entered the gymnasium. Wednesday afternoon a number of students paraded through the building.

Three and one-half of the teaching positions involve high school faculty members' and a third-grade teacher.

"They are all good, solid teachers," Herzog said, "but because of the sen­iority and certification system, they have been the ones named for non-renewal."

Balts, in commenting on the situation, said district enrollments have been declining. The administration had recommended, and the school board unanimously adopted, non-re­newal for four teachers and changing another position to half-time, Baits said.

"We have been experiencing a con­siderable drop in enrollment the same as other districts," Baits said. "When we have more students we add teach­ers, when we have less, we have to cut some."

Three years ago, he said, the high school had 1,157 students; it now has 141 less.

The sit-in apparently was fueled by action at a school board meeting Mon­day. About 350 parents and students attended the meeting, which was moved from the administration build­ing to the high school to accommodate the crowd.

Bob   West,   executive   director of Northwest United Educators, the un­ion representing the teachers, said many parents and some students ex­pressed


Rice Lake

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preference at Monday’s meeting for an improved teacher-pupil ratio in the school district, which could be accomplished by not reducing staff.

   Sometime Monday night or early Tuesday morning, a shotgun blast shattered the window in the elementary coordinator’s office at the Administration Building on Augusta Street.

   No one was in the building at the time.

   Police Chief Emmett Engestrom said he had no information linking the shooting with the meeting. He said that although few leads are available, the department is continuing the investigation.



Sound Off . . .

Protests Board Action

   I am writing this message to The Chronotype in the hope that you, the people who comprise this community, will read this and take appropriate action.

   Recently, the Rice Lake school board and administration decided to consider ter­minating the teaching careers of four teachers. The reason given was declining enrollment. The teacher I am concerned about is Greg Tinker.

   Mr. Tinker has taught and coached in our community for five years. He is an excep­tional individual, excelling in both the classroom and in the coaching field. He represents the type of an individual that a community should strive to obtain. He is the type of an individual that any parent would be honored to have his son or daughter associate with.

   To allow an educator of Greg Tinker's abili­ty to be forced out of our school system because of "internal politics" is an absolute crime, while at the same time allowing the school administrators to take home large salaries and produce nothing for our children's futures.

   I'd say its about time the people of Rice Lake wake up and start to make the school board and school administration accountable for their actions.

George Miner

Rice Lake